Send Interview Questions in Advance?

From the Ask Tom mailbag-

When interviewing for a specific role, is there any benefit to sending at least some of the core interview questions to the candidates prior to the interview so they can be better prepared to provide the specific work examples we are interviewing for?

What’s the purpose? Every element of the interview protocol must have a purpose. No purpose, don’t do it.

My primary purpose in an interview is to gather truthful data points surrounding the critical role requirements identified in the role description. I connect the dots with data points (step me through the process). I connect to the truth through details and repetitive patterns of response (give me another example).

I hesitate to send interview questions in advance because I am not interested in a story, I am interested in details. Sending the questions, in advance, allows time to create a story with fabricated details. I am not interested in the enhanced resume or exaggerated detail.

I would send the role description. What’s the purpose? The job posting and the role description (two different documents) exist to attract qualified candidates. I need candidates. The job posting creates my candidate pool. The role description self-disqualifies people in the candidate pool.

I want the candidate to look at the role description and say one of two things –

  • I did that.
  • I have no idea how to do that.

I will find out the details in the interview. I will see the patterns in the interview. -Tom

3 thoughts on “Send Interview Questions in Advance?

  1. Kristen Lishman

    I think you’re too quick to dismiss the possible advantages here. For someone like me who gets very very nervous when interviewing, this would help alleviate some of the anxiety. I’ve read where this works for some hiring managers as a basis or foundation to help draw the candidate out, and then they ask a lot of follow up questions based on the initial responses. That seems like a win win to me. I for one am sick of trying to guess which types of the 100+ questions they might ask, preparing answers to those, then only to be asked completely different questions. I was once told it would be a ‘culture fit’ interview, prepared answers to the most common questions of that type, and then the interview ended up being drilling into the specifics of my last two roles in minute detail for an hour. I spaced on some trying to recall a few stats and they did not move me forward.

  2. peter tyerman

    Failure to supply question in advance to a disabled candidate with neurodiversity as an adjustment could lead to a discrimination claim . So not supply them or offering them to disabled candiated clearly has possible risks


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