I’ve found two things to be generally true about interviewing.
- Interviewers ask really poor questions
- Interviewees have really poor answers to questions
As an interviewee, I’ve rarely felt like the questions interviewers ask reveal anything of importance about me or my skills.
Here are some of the questions I like to ask when I’m the interviwer:
- Who do you look up to professionally?
- Who do you follow?
- How do you stay up-to-date?
- What are you currently learning profesionally?
- What do you do outside of work?
- What are you currently learning outside of work?
What I like most about these questions is that they’re hard to “study” for.
For example, a person either follows some people in their field or they don’t. Even if they can recall a few names they’re not going to be able to talk at length about who they follow and why unless they actually have the habit of learning from other people.
Asking questions about “outside of work” can be seen as controversial, but I think it’s only controversial because so many interviewers are looking for a very specific behavior that they think will ultimately come to benefit the company rather than the employee. If in response to “what do you create outside of work” someone said “I create a healthy atmosphere for my child to grow up in” that would be just as good (if not better) than if someone said “I contribute to open-source projects” or “I work on my side-business”.
These questions are also just starting points. They aren’t meant to be a quiz; they should start a conversation. In fact, the answers might not even be that important. It might be more valuable to just see the quality of how they communicate.