Contrary to popular belief, some of the most revealing interview questions have little to do with your “strengths” and “weaknesses.”
According to Hannah Paramore, president of Paramore, a Nashville-based interactive advertising agency, information about when you started your first job and why you left your last one is far more telling.
The New York Times’ Adam Bryant recently interviewed Paramore about leadership, management, and hiring. He asked her, “If you could interview somebody for only five minutes, what would you ask?”
First she’d ask: “How old were you when you had your first paying job?”
“I’m looking for how deeply instilled their work ethic and independence are versus entitlement,” she tells Business Insider. “If they worked part time in high school and college because they needed to, especially in jobs that were just hard work that shows a huge level of personal responsibility. I love people who have to patch success together from a number of different angles.
Her second question would be: “Why did you leave your last job?”
“Sometimes people leave because they have gone as far as they can,” she says. “Sometimes it’s because they finally know what they want to do. Sometimes it’s a result of a conflict or problem. All those answers are fine. I just want to know if they will tell me the truth.”
And it’s not that hard to tell, she says. “Lies are always surface-level answers.”
Paramore told us her primary goal in an interview is to figure out the candidate’s motivation. “Turns out, these two questions help us get to that,” she concludes.
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