5 Questions You Should Never Ask a Candidate

5 Interview Questions Not to Ask

Not all interview questions are created equal. There are minefields of illegal, potentially discriminatory interview questions to avoid. Beyond that, impractical questions that don’t help determine if someone is a good choice are a waste of time, at best. More critically, asking bad questions can lead to hiring the wrong person for the job.

Make sure you choose the best candidates by steering clear of these 5 truly awful interview questions:

1. Tell me about yourself

The problem with this widely used question is that there’s no telling what type of response you’ll get or if it will even provide you with useful information. Plus, you should have reviewed the candidate’s resume by now and asking this open-ended question could risk making you look unprepared for the interview.

Be direct and ask specific things about the candidate’s professional background that will give you the information you need to make a smart hiring decision.

Ask instead: What skills make you qualified for this position? What professional achievements are you most proud of?

2. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Let’s be honest, it’s likely that even YOU don’t know where you’ll be in five years. While it’s good to find a candidate with ambition, most people can’t see past a few days, let alone five years from now. Just because a candidate doesn’t have their entire life planned out doesn’t mean they won’t be a great employee.

Side note: Hawaii’s hot job market means opportunities are abundant and career paths can change in an instant.

Ask instead: How does this job fit into your career plan? What interests you most about this position?  

3. What is your greatest weakness?

This question rarely elicits an honest answer. After all, no candidate is going to truly tell you what their biggest flaw is when they’re trying to make a good impression. The question almost sets the candidate up to lie on your first encounter, setting a bad precedence for your potential working relationship. And do you really want to listen to those cringe-worthy, canned responses like “I work too hard” or “I’m too loyal to my employer”?

Ask instead: What type of training or guidance would you need from us to be successful in this position?

4. Do you work well under pressure?

“No. I crumble every time things get tough,” said no one ever. Asking questions where it’s clear you’re looking for a specific answer won’t give you any real insights into the person’s candidacy for the position. This includes other yes or no interview questions like: Are you a team player? Do you handle stress well? Are you goal-oriented?

Ask instead: Here at Company XYZ, we often work on tight deadlines. How do you effectively balance your workload? 

5. What can you offer our company that others can’t?

Asking this question (or its look-a-like: why should we hire you?) is unfair to the candidate. How can they possibly compare themselves to people they don’t know? At the end of the day, it’s up to your team to determine which candidates are the best fit for your company.

Ask instead: Now that you know a little bit more about the position and company, how will your skills and experience help us grow?

Asking effective interview questions from the get-go will get your company one step closer to landing the perfect employee.

You don’t have to tackle the hiring process alone! If you have questions or would like to learn more about the services ALTRES Staffing offers, contact us today!