Worst questions to ask when interviewing

You’ve only got a limited time to judge someone before offering them a potentially full-time position at your company. When meeting an interviewee, don’t waste time with these awful questions.

When you’re interviewing someone there’s a lot of information you need to find out, from their technical expertise to whether they have the right personality for the role.

But with these questions, you’re not going to find out anything of use.

5 People sat Beside Each Other with Different Facial Expressions

The random question
Does it really matter who their favourite Doctor Who is, or which celebrities they’d invite to a dinner party? Yes, the interviewee might provide an interesting answer, but does it really show whether they can do the job?

Try instead
There’s no reason why interviews can’t be fun but any questions should at least be related to your industry. For a random question, ask them one thing at their desk they couldn’t do without for an insight into their day-to-day working habits.

Questions about their past career
They sent their CV and you have LinkedIn – so why are you wasting your time asking about their history. It says to them, you’ve not bothered reading their CV.

Try instead
What you really want to know is whether their past career can help them in their new role. Ask what the most important thing they have learnt from their past roles is.

Describe yourself in 3 words
Ambitious, friendly, hardworking, trustworthy. These are the sort of answers you’ll get if you ask this question. No one is really going to say lazy, forgetful or angry.

Try instead
For an insight into their personality ask what they do outside of work. Are they sporty, arty or do they sit around and watch TV all day.

Too personal
While asking about hobbies is fine, be careful not to go too personal. The interview might come around to these topics organically but if you start asking whether they’re planning a family, happy where they live, how much their house is worth etc, you’re getting into dangerous territory.

Try instead
Let them lead the conversation if it turns to their personal life. They will set the boundaries of what they’re comfortable talking about.

A Woman Getting Interviewed Looking at her Phone and her Hand is Against her Head

How much do you earn?
Salary is a sticky subject in interviews – no one wants to interview for a job that doesn’t pay well, and likewise, you don’t want to find the perfect person only for them to have outrageous salary demands. Hopefully, the job advert should have been fairly clear on what the salary range is.

Try instead
If you’re worried they’re not going to be happy with the salary you’re providing, make it clear the level of the role in comparison to their past positions.

What’s your biggest weakness?
Again, like the 3 words question, no one is going to say ‘I make constant mistakes’ or ‘I very rarely turn up on time’. They’ll provide an answer that makes themselves sound good without really exploring what kind of worker they are.

Try instead
Set a task for them. This will give you an insight into how they work and you could spot potential weaknesses first-hand.


Posted by Julie Tucker

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