I took over leadership of the human resources department recently, as a result the practice of interviewing is front and center in my daily work. In the course of my career I’ve interviewed well over 300 people, minimum; and I’ve been interviewed more times than I’d like to count. There are good questions and not-so-good questions that make an interview productive.
I’d imagine that a reporter writing about me might have a clue about what they really want to know to capture and tell my story. I hope the reporter has done his or her homework to find out something of me before we meet. There is, after all, enough I hope there would be questions in hand based on that research. What I would not want to be asked, based on my interviewing experience, are the following questions:
- What is you greatest strength?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Early in my career I had some relatively pat answers for these three questions. Now if I’m asked I’m able to turn the questions around by giving answers like this:
- What I enjoy doing most is…
- What I’d like to continue to learn more about or work to improve…
- I’m not sure about five years from now, I’m focused on what I’m here to do today…Knowing how to ask questions is a gift.
Asking questions, the right questions in an interview, is a challenge. Today I’d like to thank all the interviewers and interviewees who helped me to learn, and refine, questioning skills.