September 11, 2019

Bad Dad Jokes: Interview Questions Need Updating

by Chris Winterboer

Bad Interview Questions are a lot like bad dad jokes. They don’t elicit the right response. They kill the conversation. Only one person in the equation thinks it was a good statement to make. 

Last Christmas my kids gave me the book “101 Bad Dad Jokes” and, based on the fact that I used the book, they also gifted me a “Warning – Bad Dad Jokes Ahead” t-shirt for Father’s Day. Eyes roll and heads shake whenever I throw out a real zinger. I think it’s funny and tell them that they brought this on themselves.  

In 15+ years of recruiting I’ve heard a lot of bad interview questions. 

  • Who is your favorite Civil War general?
  • Who are your U.S. senators?
  • How many Yankees’ games have you been to this year?
  • How many bridges did you cross to get to this interview?

Bad dad jokes will never truly get me in trouble, but your company faces significant risk based on questions being asked. Assessing and updating interview protocol ensures:

  1. Hiring managers are properly trained and prepared to interview.
  2. The best image of your company is presented during an interview.
  3. Candidates have a positive experience engaging with your employees.

Old Vs. New Interview Questions

Old Question: What is wrong with your current job? What don’t you like about your employer?

Everyone has something to gripe about with a current employer, boss or colleague. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be seeking an interview for a new role in the first place. It’s a question that has more potential to negatively rather than positively impact your viewpoint on the candidate.

New Question: What would be attractive about a new employer? What new opportunities are most interested in finding?

Now you can hear a candidate’s self-assessment and their long-term vision. Plus, it demonstrates their preparation about the organization, the culture and the job itself.

Old Question: If you were an animal on a carousel, what animal would you be, and why?

Yep, that question really happens. All it does is throw a candidate off-balance. If your office is a place where people get stumped all the time, then congrats, no one will come to work for you. This question proves that.

New Question: If you could prepare anything for dinner tonight, what would it be?

Here comes your light and easy ice breaker to start the interview. Make sure to tell the candidate ahead of time why you’re asking it. You’ll find out something interesting about them, maybe even common ground with your tastes too.

Examples of bad interview questions could be a never-ending list, so I’ll let these two suffice. I hope you’re getting the point, that it’s about conversation and positivity more so than off-the-wall stuff or cold/direct questions.

Check out my follow up blog, How To Modernize Interview Questions, for additional info.


You may also like