9 Stupid Interview Questions You Should Never Ask

terrifying interviewerThey say there’s no such thing as a stupid question. But “they” are wrong. There are plenty. And when you ask silly things during the hiring process in particular, your hiring decision can be just as stupid as the questions asked.

HR managers and small business owners usually ask the right questions. Questions like Why do you want to work for us? and Why did you leave your last job? But sometimes, interviewers get too creative and ask off-beat, sometimes offending and illegal questions. Here are some of those questions:

“What is your favorite color?”

Unless you’re hiring an art director and are looking for an insightful reasoning to back the answer, don’t ask this. A program developer has every right to love the color orange, even if it doesn’t match his skin tone.

“What do your normally dream about at night?”

This is creepy and way too personal. You might be innocently asking about a candidate’s overall life aspirations, but dream interpretation is not the way to go about it. Instead try, “Tell me about your dream job.”

“Are you expecting?”

Even if the candidate has a noticeable baby-bump, you’re banned from asking about it. A person’s marital and family statuses are off-limits to interviewers. But what if you want a long-term employee? Ask about future goals instead.

“How old are you?”

People over 40 are protected by The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) from employment ageism. Avoid synonymic questions like “When did you graduate high school?” or “When were you born?” You know you’re sneakily asking the same thing. You are, however, allowed to ask if teenage candidates are of legal age to perform specific jobs. 

“Describe your sex life.”

This was asked during a real interview. Out loud. Over 2,000 newly hired employees were asked by talent management consultants Development Dimensions International to divulge the weirdest interview questions asked of them. This made the list and all we can say is, don’t ever ask this.

“What do you dread about work?”

This is trap. There are obvious work-related tasks we’d all like to forever banish- filing, unnecessary meetings, monotonous reporting. You’re trying to get a sense of his or her work ethic, but there’s a better way to do this. Instead of forcing an answer like “Nothing. I absolutely love every work minute,” call previous supervisors for insight. 

“What’s your race?”

This could get you in big trouble. There are some cases where appearance is a “bona fide occupational qualification” (BFOQ), like in TV or movie casting, but if you’re just looking for an accountant or project manager, steer clear of this question. 

“How many sick days did you take last year?”

Prying health information out of a candidate is strictly prohibited and could get you sued. Wanting to avoid malingering employees is justifiable, but you can’t overtly ask this. 

“Is there anyone else you would recommend for this position?”

Or you could just tell them they’re unfit for the position.

These are obviously stupid. And the legality of some is questionable. Remember: by asking imprudent and irrelevant interview questions, you run the risk of insulting potentially perfect hires and facing a lawsuit.

You also jeopardize your bottom line. Rather than focusing on informative questions, you might miss signs of a bad hire- which could be extremely costly. 25% of companies surveyed last year lost over $50,000 dollars due to a bad hire. So save 50K’s and avoid asking stupid questions. They do exist.

The New Naming: Outrageous Job Titles

HiResWhat’s in a name? As Juliet stated in William Shakespeare’s inimitable tragic poem, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” reasoning that a name is irrelevant to function. Over the past few years, the professional world has taken this notion to heart by throwing out job traditional job titles in favor of creative, imaginative, and sometimes, downright ridiculous monikers.

While the tech industry and marketing folk have adopted this new professional naming style, others are not as keen to jump on the bandwagon. Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of revolutionary recycling company TerraCycle, reasons that a specialized “title gives [employees] a feeling of importance; it suggests that the company is acknowledging their expertise and effort.”

But that same title might prove to be an issue later down the line when interviewing, argues recruiting firm Coburg Banks: “with the average CV looked at by a recruiter for no longer than 10 – 20 seconds, candidates calling themselves either a wizard or a ninja will quickly be laughed out of the running for a new position.” Additionally, crazy titles can be perceived by potential clients and colleagues as pretentious or silly. Read the full entry

Video: The Six Laws of Social Sharing for Business

Do you know the six laws of social sharing laws for business?sociallaws_hero_stream

Social media sharing has completely changed digital marketing. In a competitive marketplace, consumers turn to brands they trust. Social media gives companies the power to establish trust value by expressing personality, developing relationships, and demonstrating thought leadership.

Companies that engage in social sharing have the opportunity to nurture consumer relationships and turn those consumers into a brand advocates. The consumer behavior shifts from simply purchasing products, to consistently engaging with the brand on a regular basis, consuming and sharing the brand’s content, and telling their contacts, colleagues, associates and friends about the products and services the company offers.

If you aren’t sure if social sharing for business really works, consider this: traditional advertising is only trusted by 14% of people, 74% of people rely on social media to make purchasing decisions and they are 71% more likely to purchase based on social media referrals. And if that still doesn’t convince you, how about this statistic from Zuberance: Just a 12% increase in brand advocacy can double your revenue growth rate while boosting market share.

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Content Marketing as a Platform [Data Report]

Content marketing data reportStudies show that 75 to 90 percent of the buying journey is completed before a B2B buyer ever speaks with a sales rep and more than half of those buyers are seeking and engaging with content before they make a purchase decision. In our latest data report, Content Marketing: Through the Eyes of the Business Buyer, we take a deep dive into these latest trends in the B2B buying process and couple it with data collected from our own audience insights. The result is an in-depth look at how companies and marketers are approaching content today whether that is display, social media, case studies, mobile apps or gamification. Read the full entry

Customer Relationships Rule at the Business.com Sales and Performance Marketing Summit

JoeBusiness.com just wrapped up its second annual Sales and Performance Marketing Summit, where sales and performance marketing teams have the opportunity to learn from each other and bring in outside industry experts to share valuable insights.

The BDC sales summit also gives the sales team the opportunity to get off the phones for a day, connect with leadership and management, and swap success stories and areas of opportunity, which contributes to the overall success of the team.

After a year of major changes and growth at Business.com, this year’s focus was on improving processes and educating the teams on how the new site will provide more support to our current and future customers.

We had a chance to sit down with Joe Biancamano, Sales Director at Business.com, to ask him about his experience at this year’s Sales and Performance Marketing Summit. Joe shared his thoughts on major changes in the digital marketing space and how Business.com is leveraging those changes to better serve customers.

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Agile Software Lessons From a Major Site Rebuild

Agile burndown chartFor those that have been paying attention, last Monday was a day of big changes for Business.com as it marked the release of our new data platform and contextual content delivery system that is unique in B2B digital media. On the surface, we have moved from a directory site to one which delivers high quality, functional content, resources, and tools to help executives throughout their buyer journey. Under the hood, the metamorphosis was even greater. On the data side of the equation, we built a proprietary big data platform which collects millions of customer interactions and intentions. This data drives everything from decisions on our content strategy to an automated progressive user experience on the website.

Oh and yeah, we also built a robust custom CMS which makes it easy for non-technical staff to create beautiful and unique looking pages of all content types. Read the full entry

Finally, Business Content Targeted to You

Business.com New PlatformFor over a year now, we have been hard at work building the new and improved Business.com. To do this we’ve been laser-focused on how best to deliver you the richest and most actionable content so you can quickly acquire the knowledge, products and services you need to run and grow your businesses. This required us to build our own data collection platform and a robust contextual delivery system while also innovating with responsive design to provide a uniquely functional experience to you, regardless of the device(s) you use to access the site. To see the video release, click here. Read the full entry

Business.com Recognized as San Diego’s Best Places to Work

Business.com Wins Best Places to WorkYou know those companies that seem like the ideal workplace? They offer great perks. They’ve established a solid company culture. They’re unified by a polished mission statement and their employees constantly brag about a fantastic working environment.

Well, we’re both proud and humbled to announce we’ve been recognized as one of these workplaces. Business.com has once again been declared by its employees and the San Diego Business Journal as a “Best Place to Work”, for the third year in a row, based on the company’s culture, management and benefits. Read the full entry

Congratulations to the Winner of the I Love My Small Business Sweepstakes!

I Love My Small Business SweepstakesIn an attempt to show our bona fide appreciation of SMB leaders and executives, we gladly awarded a lucky small business owner $500 to Staples Office Supplies. During our I Love My Small Business Sweepstakes, hundreds of small businesses entered to win through our Facebook and Twitter channels and only one was chosen at random to receive the grand prize. Congratulations to Rick Vagnoni, owner of Deck Care Plus. Read the full entry

Small Businesses are Thriving and Buying: 7 SMB Purchasing Trends for 2014

Business.com Small Business Pulse: 7 SMB Purchasing Trends for 2014We have good news to report! Small businesses are still purchasing. According to Rocket Lawyer’s recent survey, 55% of small to medium-sized businesses saw growth last year, and in 2014, 81% of SMBs expect to surpass last year’s results (Tweet This!) Read the full entry