5 Interview Questions to STOP asking!


We love this article by Liz Ryan in Forbes Magazine


Liz writes how the 50 year old key interview questions used time and time again are outdated in today’s employment market – and Engage couldn’t agree more!  It’s time to stop asking the same old interview questions and start re-thinking the questions that need to be asked in order to really hone in on what makes a candidate really tick and even more importantly, the key questions which will help us identify if they will fit in with the culture and ethos of the company they are being considered for.

Read the 5 interview questions Liz says should be ditched and why, below.

What’s Your Greatest Weakness?

This idiotic question is defended by people who love the idea that an interviewer should be able to get inside the applicant’s mind and understand his or her greatest failings. That’s insulting. It’s none of your business what a person believes his or her weaknesses are.

Are you planning to share your own personal weaknesses, too? If not, why do you presume to ask the question? I don’t believe that people have weaknesses, anyway. The idea of weaknesses comes down to us from our Puritan forebears.

You don’t have any weaknesses — you came down to the planet perfectly equipped to do your work here!

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

What’s so special about a five-year planning horizon? In this day and age, who knows where we’re going to be in five months? It’s arrogant to ask a job-seeker where s/he’s going to be in five years, considering that you’re not offering an employment contract for even five minutes. Get rid of this lame Mad-Men-era question and talk about the actual job you’re trying to fill.

With all the Talented Candidates, Why Should We Hire You?

You work for the company. You know what the job requires. You’re going to meet the other job candidates — your candidates are not going to meet one another. Asking this question is a way of asking the job applicants to grovel and beg for the job. “You should hire me because I’m smart and hard-working!” That’s insulting. Ask people their questions about the job opening, instead. Their questions will tell you a lot more about them than their answers to your unoriginal questions will.

What Would Your Past Managers Say About You?

Why would you care what somebody’s ex-bosses would say about them? Once again, this question asks a job-seeker to praise him- or herself. You can ask smarter questions that will make it easy for you to see whether the job-seeker in front of you understands what the company is trying to do and how this job fits into the bigger picture.

If You Were an Animal/A Can of Soup/Etc., Which One Would You Be?

You may have a fun and frolicsome work environment and I hope you do. Still, job interviewing is serious business. Some of the people interviewing for the job don’t have an income right now. Some of them are worried about how to feed their children, and you’re asking them to imagine themselves as a can of soup for your amusement?

Read Liz Ryan’s full article in Forbes Magazine here


At Engage Executive Jobs, we use a number of techniques in order to really get to know our candidates, including intensive 1-2-1 interviews and Motivational Maps.  Call Sally on 01202 67 44 88 to discuss how we can help you.  Whether you are looking for your next role or looking to recruit your next executive or senior level employee, Engage can help.




Are you ready for promotion in 2015? Prove it!

Career ladder

We love this article by Zena Everett in Recruiter online highlighting 5 ways to show why you are ready for promotion in 2015.

We agree with Zena in that if you really want to make the grade and prove you are ready for promotion you really need to show your employers why they should be looking to promote you above your peers.

Read Zena’s article below and if you feel you are ready take that step – or leap – up the career ladder but feel in order to do so you need to look at opportunities with other companies, give Sally at Engage a call to discuss how we can help turn your senior and executive career aspirations into reality in 2015.

Zena’s five actions you can take to demonstrate you are ready to move up the ladder:

• Make your ambitions clear. Put your hand up. Career confidence is knowing what you want and asking for it.

Find out how the promotion process works and get as much information as possible about how to progress. Demonstrate initiative and desire to grow. Proactively ask for feedback (taking any developmental feedback that is negative with good grace – it’s meant to be helpful).

Be clear on what you need to do differently in the next role and understand what you have to do now to bridge the gap. Well-constructed, 360-degree surveys are invaluable for giving insight.

Seek out training/coaching where you need it – on financial management or strategic planning skills, for example. Work hard to improve with each project/task you get and show that you take your career development seriously.

It’s not enough to be good at your job. You have to be visibly good at your job, too, and put yourself forward. Look ahead: find some role models further up the organisation or externally and build formal or informal mentoring relationships with them.

• Look, think and behave like you are already in the next role. Show that you are already performing like a leader and that you can fit in with the leadership team. Are you thinking strategically about the greater good of the business, its customers and other stakeholders, or are you just concerned about your own performance?

Good leaders or managers naturally coach weaker employees and are often sought out as mentors, so share your own knowledge generously, training new hires and building cross-functional relationships. Take responsibility when you can, and don’t wait for opportunities to come to you by chance.

Where possible, offer solutions rather than simply state problems and don’t align yourself with moaners who do nothing to change the status quo. Get feedback on the first impression you make – your confidence and body language.

• Show that you can influence and motivate other people. Crucial to strong leadership is having the great communication skills to be able to really engage with others. This means two-way communication: your reports tell you exactly what’s going on and you in turn are clear on what you want them to do.

To energise people you need to listen to them, praise them, reward them, delegate to them, appreciate them and pull them up where appropriate. These are skills that can be learned but sadly we often learn from bad managers, not good ones. Notice the effect of your words and actions and see if you can improve their impact.

Are those late-night emails really necessary or are you just creating stress and giving the impression that you don’t manage your time effectively? A more career-enhancing approach would be to move away from your screen and start talking. Show that you genuinely care about developing the people beneath you, by getting involved in recruiting and managing talent and succession planning.

• Demonstrate resilience. Resilience means bouncing back when things go wrong and learning to adapt to rapidly changing, unpredictable situations. Managers are expected to manage change successfully and still deliver. Traits such as being positive, flexible and focused strengthen resilience.

Demonstrate that you already manage your emotional reactions to recover quickly when there are failures, whoever is at fault. Showing you can work under greater pressure makes you a safe pair of hands in any business context. Also, be sensitive to other people’s reactions to stressful circumstances, adapting your management style to suit the individual.

• Show respect for people of diverse backgrounds. Leaders need to trust that their managers will take responsibility for enabling a diverse and inclusive work environment. Managing diversity means acknowledging people’s differences and recognising these differences as valuable; this is now called cultural competence.

Show that you can talk about cultural differences and be equally effective relating to colleagues from backgrounds and experiences that differ from yours as you are with those who are culturally similar to you. You might usefully spend some time thinking about your own culture, identity, subconscious biases and stereotypes and about how all these impact on the work environment you want to create around you. Show a willingness to challenge work practices that could present barriers to different groups. Do you need to be more emotionally mature and change the way you engage with people?

See more at: Recruiter.com