1. “Describe your greatest strength” is still a great icebreaker that lets candidates start somewhere comfortable. Since most candidates are ready for it, you can watch them at their most polished and prepared.
Rule out those who overuse adjectives (“impressive,” “innovative”) to impress you. The better ones will stick to specifics, such as profits, cost-cutting, etc.
2. “Describe your greatest weakness” lets you analyze candidates under pressure. The worst candidates will bring up faults that are actually virtues: perfectionism, a tendency to work long hours, etc. The best will cop to believable foibles.
— Adapted from 96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire, Paul Falcone, AMACOM.
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