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Motivation and weaknesses | Are these the 'scariest' job interview questions?

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Sophie Parrott Job Search, Recruitment, Human Resources...

Ahead of a job interview, candidates will likely consider and prepare for some potential questions that they might be asked by the employer or hiring manager.

Whether it's questions around future goals, or how much research they have done into a company, answering these questions can be a daunting experience for candidates, particularly if it is their first time at an interview.

New research has looked into the interview questions that candidates are researching the most.

The most searched for interview questions

Using Google search data, Clarity Visual Management ranked the top questions that UK jobseekers are struggling to answer. This was based off a Glassdoor survey on common interview questions.

“What questions do you have for me?” was identified as the question that people researched the most, with the question garnering 837,380 Google searches in 2020.

Also ranking highly on the list was “Describe yourself” and “What are your weaknesses?” – suggesting that these are other interview questions some candidates are struggling to answer.

Below is a table of the most searched for interview questions:

Rank Interview Question Number of Google Searches (2020)

1

What questions do you have for me?

837,380

2

Describe yourself

586,240

3

What are your weaknesses?

438,030

4

Why do you want to work for us?

302,350

5

What are your strengths?

216,210

6

Why should we hire you?

134,910

7

What are your salary requirements?

91,290

8

What motivates you?

87,120

9

Where do you see yourself in five years?

70,870

10

What can you offer us someone else can’t?

67,050

 

Commenting on the findings, Damian White, Managing Director at Clarity Visual Management, said it was interesting to see which interview questions job hunters were preparing for the most.

He added: “The findings could be useful for businesses too – employers could think about using some of the less researched questions to really test candidates and keep them on their toes.”

What do employers look for in response?

With the data shedding light on the most searched interview questions last year, it suggests that some candidates are unsure of how they would tackle them in an interview environment.

If asked ‘What questions do you have for me’ in an interview, one recruitment expert said candidates should go “armed with at least two” that demonstrate that they have researched the company or have an active interest in the role.

Instead, Watson said that good things to ask could be around what a good day consists of, or what other people think it’s like to work there. 

Mandy Watson, Managing Director of Ambitions Personnel, told HR Grapevine: 

“Simply asking about holiday entitlement or perks shows you are not interested in what the company does day to day or anything about the duties you’d be expected to perform.”

“It’s a golden opportunity to show an employer that you are inquisitive and often shows off a little of your personality as it opens up the discussion to less formal avenues of conversation,” she added.

Why do employers ask these interview questions?

While the above data points towards the top questions searched for among candidates, Watson said she would “truly be worried if this is the standard that employers are asking”.

She explained: 

“Some of these questions are very dated and employers should really review their options and present something more engaging.

“We are seeing questions sent to candidates that are more specific to the job and that give candidates the chance to answer in a more direct and relevant manner.”

One example of this, according to Watson, is asking job hunters where they want to be in five years.

Watson added: 

“[This question] is putting an unfair pressure on candidates and is essentially a closed question.

“Many will want to progress to management or higher positions, others will simply want the security of a job with your company. Not everyone is ruthlessly ambitious.

“A better way to frame this would be: ‘If you were able to progress in this position, where would you want it to lead?’” she concluded.

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https://www.hrgrapevine.com/content/article/2021-05-20-are-these-the-scariest-job-interview-questions

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