Human Resources



Are you boring candidates to death with routine questions?

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In a competitive talent market, companies are increasingly focusing on candidate experience even before they fill out a job application form, endeavouring to provide a great interview experience.

While oddball questions like “How do you get an elephant in a fridge?” might not fit the context of your company, here’s a list of the 10 most common interview questions, according to Glassdoor, that you might want to stay away from – because most probably, candidates have already prepared answers for them.

1. What are your strengths?
2. What are your weaknesses?
3. Why are you interested in working for [insert company name here]?
4. Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
5. Why do you want to leave your current company?
6. What can you offer us that someone else can not?
7. What is your dream job?
8. How did you hear about this position?
9.Describe yourself.
10. Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.

While many hiring managers have asked these relevant questions, by no means do they motivate applicants to bring their A-game. Here are what top executives ask their job applicants, to distinguish the best from the rest.

Meg Crosby, who worked at Google’s HR department, loves to ask, “What are you reading now?” or “What’s the last book you read?”

“I wouldn’t hire anybody who doesn’t read,” Crosby told Business Insider. Even if they tell her it was a New York Times article, it’s better than saying “nothing.”

Andy Bryant, chairman of Intel, likes to ask job applicants: “Which classes were your best classes?” He explains that the question is able to reflect one’s  intellect, a track record of success, and a desire to be at Intel.

Yasmin Green, head of research and development at Jigsaw, Alphabet’s tech incubator has an unusual question for candidates, “How would you make money from an ice-cream stand in Central Park?”

“I’m curious to see how people deal with ambiguity and whether they can have fun while thinking on their feet,” she said.

Gary Smith, CEO of broadband and telecommunications company Ciena, wants candidates to explain to him, “How can I tell if you’re having a bad day, and how does that manifest itself?”

“If they say they become quiet, then I’ll ask, ‘Tell me what comes next? How do you deal with it? Do you walk away from the issue?’ And I’ll drill down on that, because it leads to a lot of good discussions around what motivates them, and what they enjoy about their work and what they don’t like about it,” he said.

Lori Dickerson Fouché’s, president annuities at Prudential Financial, question for applicants is, “What kind of cultures do you like to work in? Where do you excel? How do you excel? If you find yourself in situations where they’re not going the way you want them to, what do you do?”

She said the goal is to find resilience and perseverance in the candidate’s responses to these questions. “How people conduct themselves when they face challenges is really important,” she explained.

Image: Shutterstock

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