I contend that most job interviews are a waste of time – no one learns anything and they’re outright boring. I worked with one recruiter some years ago, Crystal Tinucci, who, I thought, came away with a good picture of who I am and what I could do. These were for senior positions in a hospital, so spending over two hours with me before turning me over to the client for their interview process was time well spent. Most of her questions seemed to begin with “why” – why did I go to that particular college, why did I pick the major I picked, why the career track, and so on. She seemed more interested in my thinking process – why I did something rather than the decision itself.
A new article on BNET, “7 Interview Questions You Must Ask” looks like a good framework for a more interesting and informative interview. Some of the questions are geared to managers and senior people, so these don’t make sense when interviewing candidates for a medical assistant position. I can see an offbeat question, but asking the person whether they think that there is intelligent life in outer space is cruel and unusual punishment. Employers, frankly, are difficult enought to deal with. Questions such as number 4 might send the candidate running for the hills. Companies such as Southwest Airlines are known for being off beat in their interview approach, but an intelligent candidate will know that in advance. A good approach – interview for attitude and smarts, and spend time and train people. Southwest, for instance, looks at how often a person smiles during the interview. More than the questions themselves, the commentary offers some useful advice in how to approach an interview.
Along the lines of hiring for attitude, read an older – but still relevant – article from Fast Company magazine.