As a hiring manager, do the standard “common interview questions” that we’ve come to expect actually help you to find the right person for a role?
The often cliché questions that you might come across often don’t tell you as much about the interviewee as you might expect. It might be common practice, but does asking “What is your biggest weakness?” really give you any insight into a candidate’s suitability for the job?
We don’t think so, and here’s why.
Don’t forget that an interview is an opportunity for candidates to learn more about your company and what you’re all about.
By asking cliché questions, you show a lack of innovation. You’re unlikely to attract fresh new thinkers by asking the same old questions, so aim to resonate with your interviewees and lead by example.
As well as being a little hackneyed, it’s also the case that candidates are often anticipating certain questions and have prepared a carefully crafted answer for them.
An interview gives you an opportunity to see how a candidate interprets requests and information, how well they think on their feet, and their ability to communicate ideas clearly. Having someone parrot back a rehearsed perfect response won’t help you to assess these skills, and can be a bit of a waste of time for everyone involved.
Each interviewee is unique, with their own thoughts, skills and experiences. Asking each person the exact same set of questions takes the emphasis away from the individual, and reduces them to a series of tick boxes.
You may also miss the opportunity to find out interesting information about a candidate that could show them to be perfect for the role by sticking to the ‘traditional’ questions.
Job interviews can be extremely formal and often adhere to certain customs and social practices, but this atmosphere isn’t conducive to natural conversation.
While candidates will most likely be on their best behaviour during the interview, the strict format of standard interview questions makes it less likely that you will learn much about their true nature.
When this person may end up interacting with you or your employees on a daily basis, it makes sense to speak to them in a more open and natural way, allowing their personality to come out more. This will help you to decide whether a candidate would be a good fit within the existing team.
Before you start interviewing people, you should figure out what exactly you want to find out about them, and use those goals to shape your interview questions.
The standard offerings may sound like useful or interesting things to ask, but think about what information you will gain about a person by asking it, and whether that is actually of any use to you. Don’t just ask questions because you think they sound good; make sure every question has a purpose and helps you to select the right candidate.
Philip specialises in: Senior, Director and C-Level roles in Digital Marketing
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