Stereotypical job interview questions will receive stereotypical answers.
While this seems common sense, many hiring pros continue asking the same, limiting questions. Unfortunately, when they receive the same ‘bad’ answers, qualified candidates are sent packing. That’s likely because candidates aren’t offered the opportunity to provide positive insight into their experiences and responses.
It’s time hiring managers step outside of their comfort zone, listen to candidates beyond their ‘bad’ interview responses, and find hidden gems in their talent pools.
Here are five ‘bad’ interview answers all hiring managers need to reconsider:
1. “I have no weaknesses”
The principal reason hiring pros should stop disqualifying candidates for giving ‘bad’ answers to stereotypical interview process questions is that the pros shouldn’t be asking these questions in the first place.
As they are traditionally delivered, these questions are useless because their answers don’t allow candidates the space to provide answers that are relevant to or indicative of their ability to generate results in the open position.
The questions “What is your biggest weakness?” or “What is your biggest flaw?” should be reframed altogether as “What is your biggest failure or mistake?” Everyone messes up. Everyone.
As a hiring manager, I want to know if a candidate will fess up to a mistake, and more importantly, what they did to clean it up. What did they learn from what they did wrong? What would they do differently next time?
Strong answers to this question indicate that the person will be ready to assume responsibility and right any wrongs that may occur, which is an invaluable skill in a team environment.
Elatia Abate, Co-founder & Chief Futurist at Sharpen Enterprises
2. “I haven’t tasted failure my entire life”
Although it’s hard to believe, there are people who haven’t even failed a class test, let alone failed in life. They have decent grades, an impeccable academic record, and extra-curricular achievements to wear as a badge of honor on their resumes.
So the next time a candidate says failure hasn’t hit me yet, try to dive into the question rather than rejecting them. Ask them to elaborate on their achievements more, and then decide whether it’s actually true or only a fad.
3. “I don’t have a passion”
People devoid of passion are seen as growth inhibitors, and those who declare their calling are considered misfits or opportunists.
Most recruiters reject candidates who openly say they don’t have a passion — or worse, they don’t intend to find one. In my experience, people with no calling in life can still perform at par when offered a lucrative corporate role.
They have a core desire to do the best at everything that comes their way, and more often than not, people with no calling become the best employees who drive the organization.
4. “I couldn’t handle the work pressure / I didn’t fit into the work environment”
During the talent acquisition process, it’s obvious for a recruiter to think that a candidate is faking or framing excuses to grab the job. If you are rejecting people who say that work pressure or fit was a problem, it’s time to reconsider the decision.
Chances are high that their previous workplace became toxic and severely affected their mental health, leaving no room to breathe. Asking what went wrong and conducting a detailed background check will reveal the true story.
5. “I want to make a lot of money”
There are candidates who claim money to be their euphoria, which is considered unprofessional.
But think, doesn’t everyone in the corporate world want to make a decent living? There are just some people who are willing to openly voice their desire to earn money in their interview answers.
If someone wants to make money by legitimate means, they deserve a chance to excel — and I welcome such people at our organization.