5 questions Hiring Managers should never ask

It's perfectly understandable that you as a hiring manager want to use a job interview to find out as much as possible about the applicant. Interviews give you an opportunity to find out whether or not candidates have the skills and personal qualities that the job demands. Also, you have the opportunity to value whether or not an applicant would ‘fit in’ with the company.

Candidates also have the right to ask questions of their own in order to determine (as best as they can) whether the job they are going for is likely to meet up with their own expectations.

As a hiring manager, you tend to (more or less) stick to a fairly uniform pattern, and sometimes you might be in the situation to ask some tricky questions.  However, you need to be very careful about asking certain questions because they might violate Discrimination Laws.

You should avoid ‘grey’ areas and questions within a job interview that may seem harmless, because they can often be discriminatory and illegal.

Here are 5 questions hiring managers should never ask:

1. What's your greatest weakness?

If you want to be a great hiring manager, you must avoid asking insulting interview questions like "What's your greatest weakness?" That kind of question often kills the good energy between you and the applicant sitting in front of you.

This question doesn't really mean what it seems.  As hiring manager, you really don't care about your candidate's personal failures and just want to reduce their risk of hiring wrong person. You just want  to know should you worry but questions about candidates weakness will not help you get the answer you really need.

Instead, you should have relaxed and interesting conversation with candidates and thus to find out some things about them ... without real need to ask more tricky questions.

2. Why should we hire you?

If you want to hire great talents, try to avoid asking tricky and " you're here to impress me" type of questions on the interview.

Do not ever forget that hiring interview is a bilateral process, candidates task is to convince you that they are the best person for the job, and your job is to prove that your company in the best for them. That is the only way for you to not let all the best talents go and get a job at your competition.

3. Where do you see yourself in five years?

As every great and professional hiring manager does, you should try to avoid asking questions like: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

It's a fact that today’s job market is very competitive, so you need to stop looking for any red flag to use as an excuse not to hire someone. If candidates already told you they’re interested in the job and why, stop asking from them to prove you that this is the one and only job of their dreams.

You don't have time to spend on someone who is already planning to leave for something better as soon as he/she gets the chase. No one wants that but asking your candidates about five-year goal will not help you avoid that candidate you hired quits after a month or two. People often lie about their planes in order to get the job. So, asking about their future goal will not help you to avoid to look really bad to your bosses if they leave your company soon after you hired them.

Hiring managers don’t have much time to for recruiting, hiring, and training new people. It's a time-consuming and difficult process and you should try to spend your time it in more creative and less interrogative way. Chat with your candidates like you do it with your friends and you will find out some information about their future plans without directly asking.

4. What kind of animal/soup would you be?

As serious and responsible hiring manager , you should avoid asking irritable questions such as: "If you were a can of soup/animal, what kind of soup/animal would you be?". An hiring interview should be a grown-up conversation, not a kindergarten playtime exercise. Since you are not psychoanalyst or psychiatrist, getting answers on this demeaning question will not help hire the best people for the position you need to fill.

If you succeed to avoid that kind of questions, you will also avoid hiring desperate people, who will hate you for treating them like dirt and eventually hate themselves for taking the job.

On the contrary, your mission has to be to build a great team and not to have "Your job is to impress me" attitude and treat every candidate with respect.

5. What’s your unique selling proposition?

Asking a candidate for his/her unique selling proposition can be very demeaning question on hiring interview. It can be equivalent of saying “If you want the job, get down on the floor and lick my boots.” People who just want to get the job don’t need unique selling propositions.

As you are hiring manager, it’s your responsibility to determine whether the candidate can do the job. It’s not candidate's responsibility to grovel and beg in order to get the job.

"What’s your unique selling proposition? " is equally demeaning question as “How badly do you want the job?”. These kind of questions are sad and sick because they often spring darkest fear  from an interviewer’s — the fear that he/ she is insignificant and must work extra-hard to make people take him or her seriously.

It’s time for the interviewing process to evolve past  and become a lively, human thing. The most organic and conversational hiring manager are often the best interviews. So, just treat your candidates like a living, breathing person and you’ll be amazed what you learn!


If you want to hire great people, you should stop expecting candidates to impress you. It's a fact, you need to sell them your company as well as they have to sell themselves to you.

Recruiting with a human voice is what you have to do. So treat candidates like gold, no matter if you are going to hire them or not.

A good hiring manager makes sure that interview looks more like it's a conversation you'd have at a coffee shop when you're meeting someone for the first time. So, you don't need to quiz them about every single thing from their resume. Instead, ask them what they care about and really listening to their answers.

Smart people respond to down-to-earth conversation, so don’t act like an interrogation. Instead, just relax and just talk to the candidates and learn everything you need to know about  them by chatting with them about themselves and about you and the job they want to get.

You should ask questions on the interview in a way that you don't interrupt the flow of conversation. All questions should be relevant to the position you need to fill and not to revel candidate’s personal information.

Some types of question can be interpreted as discriminatory and you should avoid them.