The Art of the Question

A Pulitzer-winning reporter is writing an in-depth piece – about you. What are the three questions you really hope she doesn’t ask you?

Interview-Questions-412x600I 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:

  1. What is you greatest strength?
  2. What is your greatest weakness?
  3. 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:

  1. What I enjoy doing most is…
  2. What I’d like to continue to learn more about or work to improve…
  3. 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.

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