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Out with Outdated Interview Questions

Yesterday I wrote about the interview questions you should put in the rubbish bin. Ok, but what should we ask instead? Remember, ask questions that reveal the person's compatibility with the job. Anything else outside of that is irrelevant and biased.

Let's see:

  • Where do you see yourself in five years? Instead - The company has several development programs and career paths (explain what those are). Given this support, where do you think your career would likely head?

  • Why did you leave or want to leave your current job? Instead - It is not relevant to the job, don't ask. You are just asking for your biases to start judging or for your empathy to give the job to someone who may not even be qualified.

  • You have a varied CV. Why haven't you managed to stick with something? Instead - Throughout the changes in your career, what did you learn about your strengths and skills? What type of jobs are the most suitable for you?

  • Why the career break? Instead - It is not relevant to the job, don't ask. Do you really want to hear heart-wrenching stories or straight-up lies? The reasons behind career breaks are almost always very personal. Don't go there, it has nothing to do with you or the role.

  • Tell me a little bit about yourself. Instead - What skills have you picked up quicker than others? What did you love the most about your previous work? Which activities are you looking forward to this week? From these questions, you can develop a pretty good understanding of the person's strengths, skills, and personality.

  • What was the biggest mistake you ever made? Instead - What did you learn from the biggest mistake you made at work?

  • Why should I hire you? Instead - Just don't ask this because this indicates that you cannot ask questions that reveal the candidate's skills or you cannot make a decision based on the information you have collected.

  • Why do you want to work here? Instead - I would never ask this question simply because you will never receive a genuine answer. Would you be happy to hear, "It is 5 min from my house, which makes it convenient"? No, you want to hear, "The company's values really resonated with me". BS. Skip this question.

  • What would your previous manager say about you? Instead - You will only hear good things, so what is the point of this question? Go back to the strengths and personality questions and forget about this. If you want a reference, ask the manager directly.

  • Are you interviewing with other companies? Instead - The recruitment process will take ...... in case you are interviewing with other companies. Please consider this and let us know if time pressures you to decide. It will also help us.

  • Why do you want to move here, and do you have friends or family living here? Instead - Don't ask this at all. Not your business, and it is irrelevant to the job.

Most interview questions are framed around biases. Don't allow them to lose sight of the skills and strengths of your candidate. Stick to questions that are relevant to the job and don't get lost in your and the company's biases like this CEO who basically said that mothers could not be good full-time workers:

When you are asking questions like "Do you have family or friends here?", "Why the career break?" or "Why changing jobs so often?" you are not focusing on the person's suitability for the role. You are trying to find things that will confirm your bias.

I will not even go to the "Do you have kids?" "How old are you?" or "Are you planning to have a family any time soon?". Yes, I have seen and received this. Just stop it.

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