“Out of the stuff on your resume, what are you the proudest of, the most excited about?
When I’m interviewing a candidate for one of my clients, I’ll usually start with this question to help understand the resume. See, recruiters seem to actively encourage folks to keyword stuff their resume: to dump in everything and the kitchen sink, every task they’ve ever performed. Recruiters see the resume as a place to play Keyword Bingo.
Asking the candidate what they’re the proudest of is kinda like saying, “If you could set the font sizes in this resume, which phrases would be in bold, and which would you shrink down to tiny italics?”
It lets them pick their favorite topic, start geeking out, and open up to you.
If you’re the one asking the questions, there’s an important rule: you’re not allowed to correct them. All you can do is ask encouraging followup questions. Even if they say something completely outlandish, like “Cauliflowers are the root cause of forwarded CXPACKET,” you have to nod and say things like, “Do you remember how you first learned about that?” Forgive small missteps – interviewing is so stressful – but just start building a mental picture of their seniority level, what they love to do, and what might just be a keyword on their resume stuffed in by a recruiter.
What’s your favorite interview question?
Share yours in the comments. Don’t share the exact answer – I wouldn’t want people Googling this and getting all the answers – but feel free to type in the kinds of things you look for in a candidate’s answer (and maybe things you DON’T want to hear, too.)
Here’s the recording of Monday April 20th’s livestream: