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3 Overused Interview Questions That You Shouldn’t Ask

Source | | Jordan Burton

It never ceases to amaze me how wide the gap is between the enormous importance organizations place on hiring great talent…and their actual skill in conducting high-quality interviews. Most companies are, frankly, terrible at interviewing. And, while poor execution comes in many forms, one key culprit is simply asking predictable, bad, or otherwise uninsightful questions.

For example, let’s picture two candidates for a critical role in your organization. The first one (let’s call him Adam) has been struggling greatly in his past three roles, taking on responsibilities that were too much of a stretch, lacking the energy and commitment to get the job done, and spending a lot of time in desperate job searches as a result. He reached out to you twice in the past few months, and his earnest pleading (and well-crafted cover letter) encouraged you to give him a shot.

The second candidate (let’s call her Sue) has been, and still is, on fire—widely exceeding expectations in her current role and working overtime to help drive her team to new heights. She took an interest in your company at the urging of a close friend, who encouraged her to take time out of her busy schedule to give you a look.

You bring them both onsite, and your interviewer asks them the following three interview questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Why are you interested in our company/this role?
  3. What would you do in your first [X days/months] on the job?

Here’s how asking these questions will likely play out:

Adam (the weaker one) loves these questions. He’s had plenty of practice on #1, because he’s interviewed with 15 companies in the past two years alone.

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