Don’t Be a Turkey When Interviewing Candidates!

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Don’t Be a Thanksgiving Turkey Christmas Turkey When Interview Candidates_HireRight

This year, we suspect a lot of recent hires may give thanks that they were able to yammer (pun intended) on about job interview questions that were older – and staler – than last year’s apple pie. To avoid looking like a turkey, here are a few questions that savvy recruiters and hiring managers may want to drop from your company’s interview cornucopia:

“Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?”

It’s 2017! Every candidate has heard this half-baked moldy oldie before, and probably already has a stock answer memorized. Besides, today’s younger and more mobile candidates may not see themselves with you for more than a couple of years. Instead, focus on questions that reveal what the candidate can deliver immediately.

“What’s your greatest weakness?”

It’s unlikely you’ll find a candidate who doesn’t expect this question, and what you’ll get may be the equivalent of canned stuffing. It’s doubtful you’ll hear anything truly negative, such as “I spend too much time at work on Twitter” or “I’m disruptive and enjoy spreading gossip.” So consider bagging it and asking instead what significant obstacles they’ve faced in their career and how they overcame them.

“What are your strengths?”

Similar to the above question about weakness, it’s gravy (and maybe even apple pie à la mode) to a well-rehearsed candidate. If the resume didn’t illustrate strengths, how did they make it this far in the hiring process? Perhaps ask what specific strengths can be immediately applied to the job at hand.

“Why should we hire you?”

“I’m a hard worker.” “I’m a good fit for the position.” “I’ve got what it takes.” “Gobble gobble gobble!”

You may hear some original answers, but what are you going to learn that you would not have already got from more direct questions?  Instead, ask what they know about your specific company. Find out if they’ve done their homework, if they are perhaps more ambitious than other candidates, and are sincerely interested in this job and this company as opposed to just any job.

“Tell me about yourself”

This frequently-asked question invites a response that may wind up consuming more time than that Thanksgiving when Grandpa detailed his latest prostate exam. If you needed a plumber or a lawyer, would you ask them this question? If you do want to ask it, consider beforehand what answer(s) would impress you. Since it’s such a commonly-used question with myriad canned responses readily available, know in advance what a good answer would be for your unique opening.

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Lewis Lustman

Lewis Lustman is a content marketer who enjoys developing materials that engage, inform, challenge, and hopefully entertain my audience. Lewis is a formal journalist for Los Angeles Magazine and the Los Angeles Times, and has worked for a number of leading advertising, marketing, technology, and PR firms over the years. Interested in a topic that he hasn't yet tackled? Drop him a line in the comments section!

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