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Reblogged:Lucas vs. 'Standard Questions'

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At Inc, business writer Suzanne Lucas makes a plea to job interviewers:
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Just because everyone else knows about it doesn't make it useful... (Image by Austin Chan, via Unsplash, license.)
"What's your greatest weakness?"

"Where do you see yourself in five years?"

"Why did you leave your last job?"

These are all standard, generic interview questions. I've asked them. I've had people ask me. You've asked them. And everyone lies in their answers because if they told the truth, the hiring managers and recruiters would reject them.

What a ridiculous game.
I completely agree, and while I wish the rest of the column had made the point more explicitly, I think many readers will likely connect the dots for themselves that The purpose of a job interview is for each person in the conversation to be able to learn how good a fit the applicant and the job are for each other. Lucas does list a few questions better suited to that purpose for everyone involved, and even suggests ways to interviewers to let applicants know, in her words, what they might be "getting into."

That said, Lucas never explores why so many people ask such vapid questions as the ones she opens with. There can be more or less innocent reasons, such as inexperience on the part of the interviewer, or someone being scheduled to do an interview at the last second. But as the age and the seniority of an interviewer increase, the odds of the cause being second-handedness greatly increase. Coming from one's potential manager, that's a possible red flag one would not want to ignore.

Fortunately, I doubt many second-handers are going to bother going against the flow, so perhaps this column will, in addition to helping good bosses interview better, will also cause the bad ones stand out more.

-- CAV

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