The One Question I Never Ask During Interviews

The first time I had the opportunity to interview someone to join my team, I did my research online to come up with the right questions and flow for the interview.
I like to start with a phone screen, typically about 30 minutes long, which I find to be an efficient way to narrow down the interview field to 2-3 top individuals to meet with in person.

A commonly suggested starting point during my early research was to ask the candidate to “walk me through your resume”. So I did and learned over time that this question is one I will never ask again.


Candidates expect this question and I usually receive a highly rehearsed answer. When you only have 30 minutes for the interview, and without any additional guidance to the candidate, this answer can take up to half of the time allotted.
And in the end, what have I learned beyond what I could already see on the resume?

Instead, here’s what I recommend. Take a few minutes to talk about the most critical skills you need and ask them to select a job on their resume that would allow them to talk about relevant experiences and skills.

While I am interested in what they say, I’m far more interested in how they answer the question. What they select and how the candidate talks through the specific experience gives a much better idea of their ability to think in the moment and communicate effectively.

Focusing the interview on decisions and accomplishments that are relevant to your job will help the candidate feel like they had a chance to get their story across and give you better information you can use to make your ultimate selection.

And quite likely be a much more interesting discussion for you both!

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