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‘Never overlook these 7 classic job interview questions,’ says CEO and hiring expert of 22 years

By | Gary Burnison |

You can’t possibly know all the questions you’ll be asked in a job interview. They could be zingers out of the blue (“If you were an animal, what would you be?”) or total brainteasers (“Can you estimate the number of panes of glass in the city of Seattle?”).

But no matter how much the hiring process has evolved, it’s the simplest interview questions that will always remain the same. And yet, I see very few people prepare for them these days.

As the CEO of the world’s largest recruiting firm, I’ve been hiring candidates for more than 22 years — and my advice is to never overlook these seven classic interview questions:

1. “Tell me about yourself.”

Too many people respond by regurgitating their resume. That’s not what your interviewer wants to hear.

The best — and most memorable — answer I have ever received to this question was: “I’ve climbed the highest mountains on every continent, including Everest.”

This candidate showed who she really was beyond a piece of paper: an adventurous, curious, goal-oriented and disciplined person.

Talk for about 30 seconds, then let the interviewer respond. The goal is to make it conversational.

When I asked the climber about the first thought that ran through her head upon reaching the summit, she didn’t go off about how she’d done something most of us can’t even contemplate.

Instead, she laughed and said, “How the heck am I going to get down?” This showed her ability to engage others with humor and humility

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