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Liz writes how the 50 year old key interview questions used time and time again are outdated in today’s employment market – and Engage couldn’t agree more!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.




Successful People Think Differently to Solve Problems

What makes an entrepreneur’s brain work differently in order to make a success of something others have not?

The clichéd image of entrepreneurs coming up with an idea, laboring feverishly to perfect it, and delivering their creation to the market fully-formed is not what usually happens.

The much more typical path is that they come up with an idea. They take a small step toward implementation to see if anyone is interested, and if it looks like some people are, they take another step forward.

If they don’t get the reaction they want, they regroup and then take another step in a different direction.

In other words, they:


Learn (from that action) and

Build (off that learning) and

Repeat, i.e. they act again.

That cycle continues repeats until the entrepreneur succeeds, knows she is not going to, or decides there is another, more appealing opportunity to pursue. As we said, the approach serial entrepreneurs use when faced with the unknown (starting a business) will work for you when you face the unknown of any kind.

Paul B. Brown discusses how succesful people actually think in a different way to solve problems, and how if others learnt to think in a different way to solve problems, it could herald more success in their professional lives.

Read the full article in Forbes.com

Behind Every Great Company is a Great Leader.

An amazing piece by Amy Rees Anderson in Forbes this week, who discusses how good leaders are invaluable in business and how there is a huge difference between being a ‘boss’ and a ‘leader.’

It may sound obvious to some, but it is a very true fact that in order for a company to become a great company, it needs great, inspirational leaders behind it. Great leadership has a positive effect throughout the whole company, filtering through all areas of corporate culture and behaviour. 

Great leaders make their employees feel important, and an intrinsic part of the corporation as a whole.   Promotional decisons are based on picking people of integrity whose talents and experience best fit the positions. Employees are encouraged to compete with their own best to get ahead and they understand that helping their coworkers to succeed is the best way to get ahead themselves. The result of good leadership is high morale, good employee retention, and sustainable long-term success.

Read Amy’s article in full here

Executive Stress and How to Deal With It

Stress affects us all, and sometimes it’s hard to know the best way to deal with it whilst trying to carry on with your day, and not letting your own stress adversely effect those around you, hence making your professional life all the more tense.

Many of our clients at Engage Executive Jobs tell us they moved to Dorset to help escape the pressure cooker that can sometimes come with living in a big city.  But, living and working in an area surrounded by beautiful countryside with miles and miles of golden sand doesn’t make our executive recruitment partners, immune to feelings of stress. 

Sharon McDowell-Larson writes about how to deal with executive stress in  Forbes.com and we think everyone, executive or not, should take some of these tips on board.  Read the full article in Forbes here