You'd be surprised how many people spend so little time creating interview questions. They think it's okay just to wing it. But when you're responsible for finding the best candidate for a role, you can't risk being lazy. You need to create relevant questions that will help you determine who is the best person for the job. Avoid these worst interview questions at all costs!
Many interviewers like to be smart with their questions and think of painful brainteasers but in all honesty, it's a waste of time. It doesn't add any value to the interview process and these questions won't help you create a shortlist of valuable and potential candidates.
Here are the worst interview questions you should never use:
Why should I hire you?
These sort of questions should only appear in shows like BBC's The Apprentice. You may be thinking it's a good way to find an exceptional candidate but you rarely ever get a good response to this question.
Only a small fraction of people are genuinely good at selling themselves in an interview, most people don't like to show off their achievements and skills.
A better question than 'Why should I hire you?' is something more relevant like, 'What skills can you bring to this role?' or 'Why do you think you're the best fit for this position?' These alternative questions will give you more information.
What's your greatest weakness?
It's understandable why interviewers like this old question, it gives you the chance to get an insight into the candidate and see what they think they need to improve on.
But the better question you need to ask is: what are your greatest strengths? When hiring a new candidate, you want to know what strengths and specialisms they have, and what they can bring to your company. There are many nervous candidates who shoot themselves in the foot by being too honest in their weaknesses.
Tell me about yourself.
It's a simple and popular question but it's not always beneficial. Some candidates panic and tell you information that isn't relevant to the role they're applying for. You need to give your interviewee better direction with questions like:
- What do you do in your free time?
- What hobbies do you have?
- What is your biggest work-related achievement?
If you could create a time machine and go back in time, what would you tell your 8-year-old self to do differently?
Some interviewers love to be creative. Too much creativity just causes confusion and doesn't benefit the hiring process. Save these sort of questions for the Christmas party.
If you were deserted on an island in the middle of nowhere, what 3 items would you need to survive?
Everyone has faced a question like this.
Why is this a terrible interview question? Because it's seriously not relevant, unless you're looking to hire a candidate who will be living on a deserted island for six months as part of a social experiment, there's no need to make the candidate struggle to think of a good answer.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
You can see where the interviewer is going with this. They want the candidate to choose an animal that has the personality and traits that are compatible for the job.
The main issue with this question is that there's no real right answer. In most cases, this type of question will just make people panic and pick a random animal that isn't relatable to their actual personality in anyway. Also, people have different perceptions about animals so it can be confusing and unhelpful. For example:
Candidate: "I suppose I'm like a shark because I'm fearless and face problems head-on."
Interviewer: Great, this guy's a maneater.
Want to reduce the time it takes to hire? Check out these tips and tricks in our free guide
An interview is designed to help you create a shortlist of potential candidates, so the questions you need to ask have to be beneficial to helping you create a list of candidates who are suitable for the job. Don't waste time with the worst interview questions. Reduce the time it takes to hire with our free guide. Download your copy.