Recruiters reveal worst ways to answer these interview questions

In some ways, a job interview is like a date: both individuals use subtle techniques to work out if they’re a good match.

And there are plenty of ways to determine whether the potential candidate, or date, is going to be the one – or, the individual that sadly gets rejected.

To gauge which answers to common job interview questions turn recruiters off the most, Fast Company spoke to a number of hiring managers and recruiters with many years of experience mastering the art of making a good hire.

They have been collated below…

“Tell me about yourself”

A classic conversation starter – but that’s all it should be, hiring managers say. However, some candidates let this question “take up the entire interview” says Chandler Bolt, Founder and CEO of online training company Self-Publishing School.

Michelle Mavi, Director of Content Development, Internal Recruiting, and Training for the Atrium Staffing, agrees: “As it’s a very broad and open question, candidates are prone to ramble, talking about their professional selves in very generic and general terms, and basically rehashing their resume.”

As it’s an extremely broad question, hiring managers also advise to finding something interesting on a candidate’s CV and in turn, tailoring a more specific question to prevent jobseekers from waffling.

“Why do you want this job?”

The worst ways candidates answer this is by admitting they’re desperate for work, or they admit to not knowing much about the job.

Annie Boneta, Head of Talent at AutoGravity, recalls an awkward answer one candidate gave: “After I graduated, I decided to backpack around Europe for a couple of months. I was into month five when my parents called me up and told me I needed to get a job, so that is why I decided to call you.”

“Why do you want to work for this company?”

Many candidates fail to prepare for this question, and admit to being clueless, or try to get the recruiter to bring on the hard sell.

Sung Hae Kim, VP of People Operations at Wizeline, said candidates sometimes try to “flip the question” by saying something along the lines of “I don’t know, you tell me why I should work for this company”.

What’s worse, is when they start making unreasonable demands. Tom Gimbel, Founder and CEO of staffing firm LaSalle Network, said that a candidate once said: “I’m not sure I’m interested because I can’t bring my dog to work” – they say honesty is the best policy, right?

Other offenses include candidates mentioning money, perks, and media prestige as their main motivation. 

Find out more:Technology & Telecoms 

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