You’re 10 minutes into a job interview. You’ve had a bit of small talk and run over the basics of your resume. Then the interviewer leans back and asks a question that begins the dreaded phrase: “Tell me about a time when…” Who knows what will follow? “When you overcame a professional challenge.” “When you managed workplace conflict.” “When you slew a wild unicorn.”
Behavioral questions like these are among hiring managers’ favorite interview tactics. They’re meant to offer unique insight into a potential employee’s personality and how a person might fit into company culture. But according to Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and author of the book Originals, these ubiquitous questions are unfair to job applicants—and ineffective to boot.
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