Interview Responses Lack Credibility

April 23, 2002 ( - While recruiters still ask candidates to list their strengths and weaknesses - they don't appear to be giving much credence to the answers, according to a poll by and

The poll asked human-resource professionals to describe how the question is in sizing up applicants.

  • only 13% if respondents said that it usually brings insightful answers, 
  • while 49% said it’s sometimes useful, and 
  • a whopping 38% said it only tests how well an applicant “can shovel it”

The original reason for asking applicants about their weaknesses was to get past their scripted responses, to see how well they can think on their feet,” said HRnext President John Brady. “But HR people realize now that most applicants have prepared responses to the question. The element of surprise is gone.”

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The poll was conducted in early April and comprises 1,329 votes.