Remove These 10 Interview Questions From Your Repetoire

John Krautzel
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It's time for another round of interviews to find the perfect candidate for a vacant position. You reach for your recruitment folder and pull out that old list of trusty interview questions. But are you really gleaning the right information from your candidates? Check out this list of 10 interview questions you should stop asking.

1. "What's Your Greatest Weakness?"

This common interview question often leads candidates to make up a perceived weakness. Instead, assess the candidate's problem-solving skills by asking him to describe how he handled a recent on-the-job challenge.

2. "Can You Tell Me About Yourself?"

This question gives the impression you didn't research the candidate or read over his resume. Skip this question and ask a question specifically related to something that stood out in his portfolio or resume.

3. "What's Your Most Significant Accomplishment?"

Rather than opening a question up for such a broad response, ask a more direct question that hits on the qualities you want in an employee. For a marketing position, ask the candidate to describe a creative project he worked on with a team.

4. "Why Do You Want to Leave Your Current Employer?"

This common interview question can lead candidates onto an awkward, negative path and doesn't provide you with much useful information anyway. Instead, ask the candidate what he likes best about his current position.

5. "What Religious Holidays Do You Celebrate?"

Asking about a candidate's religious affiliation isn't just a bad idea, it's illegal. If you want to know about the candidate's ability to work certain hours or weekends, ask about the specific times without any mention of religion.

6. "What Is Your Five-Year Plan?"

This question may lead candidates to feel they must discuss their plans for getting married, having children or running their own business. Reword the question by asking how the position relates to the candidate's long-term career goals.

7. "Do You Work Well on a Team?"

It's best to avoid questions that a candidate can answer with "yes" or "no." Ask open-ended questions to draw out more information. Try asking about the candidate's ideal working conditions.

8. "Can You Sell Me This Pen?"

This creative sales question has been asked for years, and prepared candidates have caught on, practicing their sales pitches verbatim. Scratch this tired question from your list. Instead, describe a challenge your sales force is facing, and ask the candidate for suggestions on how to solve the issue.

9. "Are You Passionate About Your Work?"

Some might argue that passion doesn't equal success, so subjective questions are best left unasked. Rather, get a sense of the candidate's enthusiasm by asking why he wants to work for your organization.

10. "What Are Your Salary Requirements?"

Remove this question from your list altogether. It's best to discuss salary and benefit packages during the offer stage rather than at a first-round interview.

Stop asking the same interview questions just because they're popular or you've used them in the past. Some questions are inappropriate, or even illegal, while others are awkward and don't provide good insight into a candidate's abilities anyway. By removing these 10 interview questions from your repertoire, you can make room on the list for more poignant questions.

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