Thursday, 11 December 2014

Questions and No Cookies

"That what wrong with the media today. All they have is questions, questions, questions - they never have cookies!" - Cookie Monster, "Sesame Street: MacNeil Report"

There are four questions asked during every job interview that everyone hates to answer.

"Will you tell me about yourself?"
"What's your biggest weakness?"
"Why should we hire you?"
"Where do you see yourself in five years?"

I'm of the opinion that these questions are useless.  With the amount of information that people put in their resumes and online profiles, it only takes a bit of effort for a recruiter to find out whether or not a person might be a good fit for the company.

Some will say that there's only so much that can be determined from reading profiles.  Asking these questions causes an applicant to think and frame their answers in such a way to present themselves in a good light and shows that they have something intelligent to say.

That might be true.  But it's also wrong.

What it does is put the job-seeker on the defensive and sours the whole process.  Since the applicant has no idea what the interviewer is really looking for by asking these sorts of questions, the onus on her/him to do extensive preparations ahead of time.  There are many methods to pick and choose from; "Spin the Table" (turn the questions around to find out more about the company) and "Pain Speech" (put oneself in the hiring manager's position and talk about their job) are but two.

Why does there have to be so much involved with this?  What has happened to good old-fashioned communication?  Stop being lazy and beating around the bush with irrelevant questions, convoluted response strategies, and form letters.  Sit down and talk straight.  I'm willing to bet that will get much better results for all parties.

1 comment:

  1. As a manager, when hiring people I was less concerned about the actual topic of the questions I asked then I was about the ability of the person answering to express themselves.
    I asked questions that required more than a yes/no answer, because I wanted to see if they made eye contact when they spoke to me, if the smiled, if they used "Um" or "You know" or "Whatever" as fillers when they spoke. If they spoke in complete sentences, enunciated, and used good grammar. When I asked someone to tell me about themselves, It wasn't to hear about them, but to see how they communicated, when speaking about a subject they knew well. Would they look at their feet, or stare at the table in front of me? Would they ask qualifying questions, such as "What would you like to know" or "Where would you like me to start" or would they just jump in?

    Did they use inflection, or speak in monotone?

    Maybe that is the purpose of those questions?

    Or maybe today's hiring managers are just lazy...