Ten great answers to inane interview questions that really don’t deserve them

Ending an answer with a question is a great way to keep the conversation fresh and away from inane questions such as these

It is often a tough process for employers to find great people, yet at the interview stage they often rely on questions that do little to make great people want to work for them. Here we look at ten questions that are well past their use-by date and how to turn them into an opportunity to impress.

1. What weaknesses do you have?

This is not a therapy session. With a smile, say: “Well, food is my real weakness, but I’m also keen to meet new people, there is so much that interests me, and I love to improve my knowledge. I can learn a lot about this business!”

2. We have lots of talented applicants – why should we hire you?

You can only take the interviewer’s word that the other applicants are talented. Answer this one by asking whether you can summarise the challenges you think you will encounter in the role and how you have dealt with such challenges in the past.

3. In five years, what do you think you will be doing?

Nobody can predict the future, especially in the fast-changing world of work. Answer by saying you hope to be working on interesting projects at a great company.

4. What will you add to our team?

Give a straightforward answer. Tell the interviewer you are keen to meet everyone and learn more about the business, but you can add experience, fresh thinking and a helping hand straightaway.

5. You have been out of work for some time. Why?

Share all the great things you have done since your last job ended and explain how you have been researching your next great career move, hence your application.

6. What is your current salary?

This is none of their business. Tell them what you hope to earn and ask whether the role is likely to pay this.

7. Do you have interviews with other companies?

Again, it is none of their business. Tell them that as a professional you would prefer to respect the confidentiality of your discussions; however, it is great to be meeting brilliant people and making new connections.

8. What would your old boss say about you?

Your old boss should not be seen as a judge of your character or abilities. Answer by stating they would say you worked hard and they enjoyed discussing ways to improve the business with you.

9. How badly do you want the job?

Being asked to beg for a job is no way to assess capability. Answer by saying you are confident you can make a positive difference and are keen to learn more about the company to see whether it is the right place for your skills.

10. Tell me why you want the job

An interview is as much about you deciding whether the job is right for you as it is about the employer deciding whether you are right for the job. Answer by saying you have come along to learn about the role and ask what the interviewer could see you contributing to.

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