What is your greatest weakness?
Why would you ever in 2019 want to ask a candidate what their weaknesses are? This is a punitive and antiquated question. I feel like this question needs to go hide in the closet and never come out again.
The answer you are most likely going to get from people so they don’t have to speak badly about themselves, is “If anything, I am a perfectionist”. Is that really a weakness? Candidates spin this so it looks like they’ve answered your question. I don’t see how wanting to do things extremely well in our work is a bad thing. If we were to really just lay it out there, a good answer to this question could be; “Sometimes I just hate dealing with stupid people and want them to leave me alone so I can get my job done”. Is that a weakness? I know we all have thought this same sentiment at one time or another.
Where do you see yourself in Five Years?
Wow. As an HR professional that has been in this business for a long time, I know that either people stay in their positions for ten or more years, or they leave within two or three. With the surge of millennial’s in the workplace, asking them what they think they might be doing five years from now is daunting to them. I once read an article that said instead of trying to retain millennial’s, we should invite them to come and work for us and if they decide to leave, invite them to come back when they have tested out other organizations. Guess what you’ll get back? A more experienced employee with ideas that might help you move your business two or three steps further based off the knowledge that they have gained elsewhere. On top of that, you will have shown this employee that you cared enough to let them fly free and come back to the nest when they were ready.
Tell me about yourself…
Yikes. I have been guilty of asking this question in the past. This is a very difficult question to ask candidates and even more difficult for them to answer. Most people don’t want to talk about themselves. It is awkward and at times you may be getting answers to questions that fall on the line of being illegal. Does this question affect the candidate’s ability to do the job? Will the answers they give you contribute to their ability to do the job? Most likely, not. So don’t ask this. Let’s stick to questions that are job related. Especially if these are initial screening questions. As HR professionals we want to verify that they have the necessary skills and abilities to do the job, not if they were to be any tree in the world, they’d be an Oak.