What questions do you ask during an interview?

A couple days ago, I was prepping my husband for an upcoming job interview. I was throwing out typical interview questions — strengths versus weaknesses, describe a challenge and how you overcame it, what makes you an ideal candidate for this position, etc.

Then we got to “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I told him I hate the question, so I don’t have any pointers on how to answer it. We talked about how to offer up ambitions of moving up in the company, earning promotions and remaining loyal to the company. We had an entire discussion about how ridiculous that question is, considering that five-year plan you just shared blows up in smoke the second you’re not offered the job. Plus, you don’t know the structure of the company until you’re fully entrenched in its culture. Are promotions usually given annually, meaning your five-year plan should have you moving up faster maybe than you explained? Or are people seldom promoted, but rather given more tasks as time passes, so expecting a promotion within five years would be considered over confident?

It was funny, then, when I found an article by Bob Corlett in The Business Journals, about why employers shouldn’t ask the five-year question. Bob brings up the same concerns my husband and I considered, and offered an alternative: What kinds of business problems do you enjoy solving?

Think about why you’re asking a question during an interview, and don’t just ask it because “that’s the way it’s always been done.” Think about what you’re really looking for a candidate and what you can ask them — or require them to do (such as a job-related task) — that would help you learn more about the attributes you’re looking for. It might help you hire a group of employees better fit for your dealership.

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