This Interview Question Gets Surprisingly Honest Answers

In any job interview, it can be hard to get past stock responses and gain real insight into a candidate.

That’s why Kim Reed Perell, CEO of digital advertising company Adconion Direct, has an unusual question she likes to pose to prospective hires: “What would your past employer want to change about you?”

She often also asks the variation: “What would your former colleagues like to change about you?”

Unlike the typical questions about your goals, strengths, and weaknesses, this query makes candidates stop and think, Perell tells the New York Times. “People have to really think about that, because they probably don’t want to say what their past employer would want to change about them,” she explains.

Perell says she usually gets surprisingly authentic answers to the question. “In the moment, people answer it pretty honestly,” she admits. It “can lead to really good insights about a person, and what might be challenging about them if you do hire them.”

Plus, she adds, if people are looking for a new job, they’re probably tuned in to what their last employer would want to change about them.

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