10 Recruiters Share the Worst Interview Questions

John Krautzel
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When you're trying to determine the best candidate to hire, you rely on insightful, thoughtful interview questions to draw out vital information and help you piece together the applicant's relevant skills and experience as well as the person's ability to fit into the company culture. Some questions, however, are cliché, useless or even illegal. Check out the 10 worst interview questions, and make sure they're not on the list for your next rounds of interviews.

1. "How Would You Handle This Situation?"

By asking a hypothetical questions, you can't get a true sense of how the candidate might really react under certain circumstances. Instead, ask the applicant to describe a time when he worked well under pressure or exceeded a supervisor's expectations.

2. "What's Your Greatest Weakness?"

This cliché question typically begets a cliché response. Skip this common question, and instead ask the candidate to describe an area where he excels.

3. "Do You Have Children?"

It's illegal to ask a candidate about his marital status or children, so avoid this question or anything similar.

4. "Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?"

This general question could lead you into shaky territory about marriage, children or personal plans. Instead, ask the applicant how the vacant position matches his future career goals.

5. "What Are Your Salary Requirements?"

Never discuss salary requirements during a first round of interview questions. Save this topic until you're ready to make an offer.

6. "What Can You Tell Us About Yourself?"

Such an open-ended question could elicit any variety of useless information that doesn't help you make a decision about a candidate's value. Ask the applicant about something interesting or impressive on his resume.

7. "What Religious Holidays Do You Observe?"

While you can ask a candidate if he's able to work on weekends, it's illegal to ask any interview questions related to his religious affiliation.

8. "What Is Your Biggest Accomplishment?"

Asking an applicant to discuss his greatest accomplishment doesn't let you hone in on the skills you're hoping to find in an employee. If you're hiring for a supervisory role, ask the candidate to describe a time when he managed a difficult employee.

9. "Are You a Team Player?"

Avoid any basic "yes" or "no" interview questions. Instead, ask the candidate to discuss a time when he worked well with members of a group.

10. "Could You Sell Me This Widget?"

Asking an applicant to try to sell you a pen, a paper clip or another basic object is cliché. Scratch this question from your list altogether.

When it comes time to choose interview questions, think about the information you're actually getting from the candidate. Does the applicant's response to the question provide any valuable insight into his ability to work for your organization? If not, it may make the list of the 10 worst interview questions.

Photo courtesy of Pansa at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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