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HR DEPT.: Interview Questions That Turn off Candidates


According to a LinkedIn survey of 20,000+ job seekers, a negative interview experience would cause 83% to decline an offer. This doesn’t mean that interviewers have to play softball; interviews are supposed to be somewhat stressful, to learn how individuals would likely respond to pressure. And candidates know that. But they also know that some questions are, to them, dumb, and dumb questions generate the question, “Do I really want to work here?” (Realize, too, that many candidates will have rehearsed answers to common questions.) The three top bad questions:
  1. What Can You Tell Me about Yourself? While this seems harmless enough, some candidates will interpret it to mean, "I haven't given you the courtesy of reading your cover letter and resume."
  2. What Are Your Biggest Strengths? What Are Your Biggest Weaknesses? These are the two most commonly asked job-interview questions. Ask either and you'll be saying, "We're too dull to develop a clever way of getting you to discuss the information we're looking for."
  3. Weird Questions Like "How Many Ping-pong Balls Will Fit inside a Toyota Prius?" While some new-wave companies find it somehow beneficial to use such questions to make candidates squirm, few geoprofessional firms are likely to derive value from them. Weird questions can scare away candidates you want. Learn the alternatives to such questions — and the other two, as well.

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