How to Avoid Asking Bad Interview Questions

Two Methods:As an InterviewerAs an Interviewee

Coming up with good interview questions can be tricky for both the interviewer and the interviewee. No matter which side of the interview you're on, it's important that you do your homework to ensure that you get the most out of your questions and avoid asking the wrong things.

Method 1
As an Interviewer

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    Set hiring goals. Most recruiters are not clear about their hiring goals. Being a part of the selection team, you must know what the hiring goals are or what is the purpose of hiring?
    • Recruiters mostly ask irrelevant questions during an interview just because of lack of information. They are themselves not clear about their job. In other words, they do not really know what they should ask to judge candidate skills.
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    • This is why it's so important to set hiring goals before starting the interview process Create a one page document that mentions the things you are looking for in the candidate or the things you won’t compromise upon while making a hiring decision.
    • For instance, your hiring goal can be to find a marketing manager, aged above 40 having extraordinary communication skills and past experience of serving in a medium or large organization.
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    Familiarize yourself with the relevant job duties. Another common reason recruiters ask bad interview questions that are totally irrelevant to the job is their lack of knowledge regarding the job posts being filled.
    • There is no logic checking leadership skills while hiring a sales worker or checking communication skills while hiring an I.T. expert. You should know the job duties for the relevant post so that you may ask questions accordingly.
    • It is recommended that you read the job description before taking the interview. Create a one page document mentioning the key job responsibilities, then ask questions on the basis of job duties instead of asking random questions
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    Create a checklist of questions to be asked. It is better to create a checklist of all the questions to be asked beforehand in order to avoid asking bad interview questions. If you are new in the recruitment team then this tip is especially for you.
    • Creating a checklist does not mean that you have to strictly follow it. You may also ask any other question that comes in your mind at the time of taking the interview. The purpose of creating checklist is just to remain focused.
    • Read the job description and check hiring goals while making checklist, or get a checklist made from an experienced recruiter. Double check the questions to ask to make sure that all of them are relevant to the job.
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    Remain as unbiased as possible. It is very important for recruiters to put aside their personal preferences and biases when giving interviews.
    • Asking confusing, irrelevant and difficult questions from candidate just because he or she is a certain rare, religion or gender is neither logical nor ethical.
    • Don’t let your personal feelings affect the interview process and educate yourself about possible biases you have to avoid. Set the same standards for everyone irrespective of their age, gender, race, ethnicity etc.
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    Stop when you get tired. Many recruitment teams interview hundreds of people in one day from early morning till evening. This is not a good practice as it may affect the hiring decision.
    • Recruiters are so tired sometimes that they start asking strange questions that are in no way relevant to the job post. You must stop the interview process after you get tired in order to avoid this issue.
    • Take a short break after conducting every few interviews in order to regain your energy and grab a coffee to stay fresh.
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    Analyse each question before you ask it. There are a few questions you must ask yourself about every single question on your list. You will automatically avoid asking bad interview questions after giving answers to following questions:
    • Does this question provide me with useful and relevant information about the candidate?
    • Does this question help me in judging the skills and abilities of the candidate?
    • Is this question worth asking?
    • Is this question relevant to the job?
    • Is this question logical and practical?
    • Is it necessary to ask this question necessary for taking
    • Is this question ethical and professional?
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    Read some examples of good interview questions. Some good interview questions include:
    • Tell me about any work experience relevant to this current job.
    • Why did you leave your last job?
    • Can you work under pressure?
    • Why do you think you are a perfect fit for this job?
    • Give three reasons why we should we hire you?
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    Stay away from bad interview questions. You should never ask questions such as the following:
    • Briefly tell me about your family.
    • What is your current body weight?
    • Do you plan to start a family?
    • Have you ever been arrested?
    • Have you ever taken any drugs?

Method 2
As an Interviewee

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    Understand the importance of asking good questions. As a smart candidate, you should be able to make the best out of the opportunities the interviewer presents and build an insight about the company and whether the job is the right one for you.
    • Therefore, the questions that you ask must be intelligent, well-thought out and pertinent. Your questions should demonstrate your attitude, your interest in the job or company as well as your work ethic.
    • When you ask the wrong questions, you stand the risk of being judged as the wrong fit for the job. When you do not ask any questions, the interviewer may form an opinion that you are not interested in the job.
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    Identify the possible reasons for not asking any question. There may be a valid reason why a candidate does not ask a question when they are given this opportunity by the interviewer. However, you should still try to avoid or overcome these reasons:
    • You're caught off guard by the request for questions.
    • You feel like you already have the information you need.
    • You're afraid to seem like a nuisance.
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    Know the benefits of asking the right questions. The questions that you ask during an interview process can affect you positively. Some of the key benefits that you derive from asking the right questions during an interview are:
    • You can find out whether this is the right company for you or not.
    • When you ask smart questions the interviewers know that you have prepared for the job and are serious about taking it up.
    • It shows off your ability to sell your skills.
    • The right questions not only talk about your abilities but also help you direct the interview towards the areas you are happy about..
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    Avoid asking about possible promotions. This can be an instant put off. Remember promotions are a dynamic situation, and there will need to be a lot of effort on your part to make them happen.
    • It is not the amount of time you spend in a certain job that will determine your career progression, but rather how well you can handle your current responsibilities and show your potential for handling bigger responsibilities will determine your career progression in any organization.
    • Therefore rather than asking when you will be promoted, the question can be rephrased to ask about what qualities you will need to display to achieve this.
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    Don't ask any questions about salary. Another area that is best avoided is the question of salary. This often disappoints the interviewer.
    • This topic is best avoided in the initial rounds of interviews, and you should focus more on convincing the interviewer about your suitability to the role.
    • Along with the salary levels for the role, avoid the temptation to ask about salary raises at this stage, as this can be a touchy topic, especially depending on the financial status of the company.
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    Stay away from questions about flextime and telecommuting. These two areas are also best avoided during an interview as they tell the interviewer about your eagerness to get out of the office before you’ve even stepped in.
    • The interviewer may wonder if you are interested in the job at all. Therefore save it for some appropriate time later on.
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    Don't ask obvious questions about the company. It’s best not to ask about any generic business information that you could easily have found on the internet or on the company’s website. This suggests that you did not bother to find out about the company, which shows lack of interest.
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    Avoid asking any questions that give away poor listening skills. Be attentive during the interview so that you do not miss out on any important facts that are discussed. If you end up asking questions that might have already been discussed, shows disinterest and can prove catastrophic.
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    Follow some tips for asking the right questions. You can keep your questions on the right track by adhering to the following tips:
    • Know that open-ended questions are the best: These begin with ‘how,’ ‘when’ and who’ and give opportunities for meaningful conversation.
    • Avoid confrontational questions: Any question that starts with why may sound like a challenge or confrontation and can put the interviewer in defensive mode. It is a good idea to rephrase the question to "how".
    • Avoid long and confusing questions: When there are too many points to a question, you may lose the essence.
    • Avoid obvious questions: Do not ask for information that is readily available in the public domain, these will not show you in a good light and will highlight your lack of preparation.
    • Avoid manipulative or leading questions: These questions can make the interviewer feel cornered and give a bad impression.


  • The major difference between humans and machines is that humans can commit mistakes but machines can’t. It is normal for us to commit mistakes during the interview process, but wise and successful people are those who learn from their mistakes.

Article Info

Categories: Interview Skills