File this under “Hey you kids get the hell off my lawn.”
Maybe I’m just too old for today’s HR world because I remember when you asked an interview question, it had to be relevant. Not anymore. Today’s questions are down-right stupid and borderline illegal.
So you may or may not know, I write resumes and every so often a client will call me to discuss tough interview questions. Lately, it has moved from tough interview questions to stupid ones.
I would never ask someone if they had kids and if they did, do they have a babysitter, but this is happening! And I am not talking entry-level fast food positions either. There are some silly recruiters and hiring managers who will ask just about anything . And there are some who will do anything; say did you read the one about the Subway manager asking two 17 year girls for sex as a condition of employment? I wouldn’t lie, here’s the EEOC article. What is it with Subway and underage activity anyway?
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Today talent management is all the rage and part of that is the darn candidate experience. That’s the entire treatment process for candidates, from the very first contact to the first few weeks of employment. So that means the phone screening and interview process as well. If definitely means the job offer and onboarding too.
Statistics show that turnover (especially with newer employees) is tied to a failed aspect of the candidate experience. As someone who works with job seekers all the time, I can tell you first hand that many job seekers are asked off-putting questions, or at the very least questions that are irrelevant and this can sour the candidate real fast. Even if you end up offering them the job and they accept it, they will only have second thoughts and only be waiting for something else.
If you Google “stupid interview questions” you will get millions of results and the interesting thing is, some hiring managers love asking odd-ball questions. They believe it gives them character clues and little “tells” (as in poker tells) about your personality. Things like, “If you could be any animal, what would you be?” totally dumb because most people say lion or elephant or tiger…no one says pig, although everyone loves bacon!
Or “What person, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with?” well if you pick a religious leader or civil right icon, they may be able to use that against you and since we can all Google the answers to these dumb questions, we know it’s safe to choose a family member –“My sweet great granny”. How about “Where do you see yourself in 5 -10 years?” Da fuh? Why? The average job tenure is less than 4 years so why do you care? Odds are you won’t even be around by then!
Whew! I had to get that off my chest.
Hey ladies and guys, it’s simple; breakdown the position and the requirements. Define your organizational culture. Do some analysis, what are the traits, skills and behavior of those who have performed well in the role? Create questions around what you need and not all this irrelevant crap that tells you nothing about a person’s work ethic, potential and ability to succeed. And stop discriminating against people who may have been laid off or unemployed for a few months – you may find that they are the more appreciative of a new opportunity than those who feel more entitled.