What was your first love? – And other dumb interview questions

ManagementIf you’ve done it enough you know that the job interview can really become a cat-and-mouse game, and that there are a lot of dumb interview questions out there.

You have a good candidate in front of you who has cruised through all the initial, cursory screenings – and now’s time to dig in and solidify your impressions of this person.

How does she adjust? How does she deal with people? Does she really listen? Is she here because she wants the job, or because she needs a paycheck?

You can find tons of advice for managers trying to develop interview techniques and questions that get candidates to open up and really show themselves.

But be forewarned. There is also a lot of great advice out there for the interviewees on how to handle rough-and-tumble, pointed, or just plain dumb questions that interviewers might throw at them.

Forbes.com delved into just this topic with a piece by staff writer Susan Adams titled 10 Stupid Interview Questions and How to Answer Them.

You're Fired!
The article gives job candidates a big head start on how to answer those tricky and sticky interview questions so many of us love to toss out there.

Here are a couple examples.

Q: What do you dread about work?

A. The long, boring weekly staff meeting that will take you away from getting work done. But you’ve learned to grin and bear it and also to accept that this is the price you pay to work for a great organization.

Or how about:

Q: Are you planning to have children?

A: Employers should know better than to ask a question like this because it skates close to a federal law prohibiting job discrimination against pregnant women. But they still ask. Correct answer: “Not at the moment.”

So, the next time you ask what you believe is just the perfect “gotcha” interview question, and the candidate knocks it over the fence with a smile and leaves you flat-footed, you can at least take heart in knowing they did their research, too.

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