Recharge Your Interview Questions

We all have interview questions.....we just wish we had better ones. Dharmesh Shah, co-founder of HubSpot was recently asked by contributing writer, Jeff Haden, what he considers to be the worst interview questions. Shah says interviewers typically ask the same old tried-but-in-no-way-true interview questions that provide little insight into whether a candidate's work style and personality complements their team, much less whether the candidate will thrive in their organization's unique environment. Here are the examples he gave and a way to recharge the questions:

1. " What is your biggest weakness?"

Every candidate knows how to answer this question - pick a hypothetical weakness and magically transform that flaw into a strength in disguise!

Recharged question: " Tell me about a time a co-worker or customer got angry with you.  What happened? "

Conflict is inevitable when a company works hard to get things done.  Be aware and steer clear of the candidate who tends to push the blame  and the responsibility for rectifying the situation onto someone else.

2. " Where do you see yourself in three years?"

This question gives you no information about the potential candidate - except for how well they sell themselves.

Recharged question: " What business would you love to start?"

This question gives you insight into the candidates hopes and dreams, their passions and interest, the work they like to do, the people they like to work with - that is, if you turn this question into a conversaton by asking simple questions like "why?" and "how?"

3. "Tell me a little about yourself?"

As a hiring manager, you should already know a little about the candidate based on their resume, LinkedIn and other social media sites.

Recharged Question: "Tell me about a project you recently worked on and a road block you overcame." 

Your goal is to determine if a candidate will be outstanding in the job - so you must evaluate their skills and attitude required for that job.

4. " Out of all the other candidates, why should we hire you?"

Remember, it is hard to compare yourself to people you do not know!  So, a candidate is left to describe how incredible they are - their passion, commitment and beg you for the job!

Recharged Question: " What do you feel I need to know that we have haven't discussed?" or " If you could get a do-over on one of my questions, how would you answer it now?"

Hiring managers should not see this question as the end to the interview - get them out the door and tell them you will be in touch. No!  This should be the question that allows the candidate an opportunity to begin a broader conversation.

If you ask all the right questions, you should never come to the end of an interview and ask " why should we hire you?"

February 24, 2015
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