You’ve probably experienced plenty of job interviews in your time, and whilst you may have prepped yourself as much as possible, there is always that one question you hated being asked. In fact, you hated it that much that now that the shoe is on the other foot you probably avoid asking that question yourself when you are recruiting.
Our panel of 10 recruiting experts share their thoughts on what they think is the worst interview question to ask
Any question that begins with, “How would you…?” is subjective and not based in reality. If you ask a candidate a hypothetical question, their answer is necessarily made up, and you risk hiring the person who knows what the answer should be rather than the person with the experience to do the job. Much better is starting with ‘Tell me about a time when…’, then probing deeper to understand how the candidate handled the situation and their role in driving impact. In other words, behavioural interviewing for the win :).
Leela Srinivasan, Chief Marketing Officer at Lever.
Do you have kids? Are you pregnant? Are you in a relationship? What do you think about today’s political climate? If you were on an island and had to escape and you didn’t have tools, food or water, what would you do and how long would it take you?
Amy Volas is Chieftain of Avenue Talent Partners.
“Where do you want to be in 5 years?” It’s irrelevant to the current interview, and an obvious stock question.
C’mon, you’re better than that. Show some creativity!
Lars Schmidt is the Founder of Amplify.
What’s your biggest weakness? People just make things up. It’s important to be self-aware, there are other ways to ask that question. Otherwise, you’ll get canned responses. Instead, you might ask: What skill do you feel like you’re still missing?
Chad MacRae is the Founder of Recruiting Social.
I think everyone’s tired of “your greatest weakness” by now. Most answers are pretty canned and uninformative anyway. There are different ways to ask that question and get more meaningful responses. Perhaps ask about an area of opportunity in a past review and what steps they took to improve and how it all turned out. Much better than hearing “I’m a perfectionist” again and again.
Stacy is the Founder of Tenfold & The Talent Agency.
Interview questions are like a stock investment portfolio – diversification is key. Asking too many of any one type of question most likely will not provide the adequate information required to identify a successful employee. Generic “tell me about yourself” questions, behavioral “tell me about a time when…” questions, Google-type brain-teaser questions – which are the worst? Limiting the interview process to only one type of question instead of incorporating them all – that would be the worst.
John Feldmann is a writer for Insperity Recruiting Services.
Rather than pick specific questions I would say the worst interview questions come from ad hoc interviewing practices. It’s amazing how many companies just wing it. The go through the trouble of lining up 5-6 people or in other words $500-600 of time spent interviewing one person on site. Would you ever spend that kind of money without putting one second of thought into it? I expect to see hiring teams partner with their talent teams to co-design thoughtful processes down to the question showcased by models and an overall interview architecture.
Erin Wilson is Founder and Talent Engineer at Hirepool.io
“Tell me about yourself.” Not only is this an awkwardly, broad question, many people ask this question. You want to ask those curveball questions that generate interesting responses. Especially with our ability to source social media, asking candidates to describe themselves during the interview is an empty question. Ask impactful questions like: what do you do best? Who inspires you and why? What are your expectations? What motivates you to come to work every day? These speak volumes.
Maren Hogan is CEO and Founder of Red Branch Media.
“What is your current or most recent salary?”. Why? In the U.S. women earn, on average, 79% of what their male counterparts earn. One of the few ways to break that cycle is to stop requiring salary history to dictate what a job will pay an applicant. Ask salary expectations if you must. But a job should pay an equitable wage, period.
Craig Fisher is Head of Employer Brand, CA Technologies, and Allegis Global Solutions.
The worst question to ask someone is “What is your biggest weakness?” You’re never going to get an honest answer during an interview. It’s almost setting the interviewee up to lie on your first meeting, setting a precedence that you very well don’t want to set early on. Let the candidate reveal their character early on or by asking other questions and not with silly questions like this one.
Will is the Founder & Principal Consultant at Proactive Talent Strategies.