Job interviews are starting to look a lot alike. The same questions are being asked over and over again and they are getting the same responses.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

There is nothing wrong with these questions, as long as candidates are willing to give honest answers and recruiters are willing to listen. Otherwise, it can become pretty hard to distinguish the right candidate from the bluffer.

When you see advice on career sites, you come across things like "How to explain a gap in your professional experience ", and "How to say you were fired in a positive light".

Candidates are baffled. And they keep coming up with ways of saying that the dullest job is exciting and that they wish to get experience in a particular field, when they would rather do something else. Every candidate is a teamplayer and a leader and can demonstrate this with well thought-of examples. They do not hold any grudges against past employers or bosses. In fact, they all learned valuable life lessons from each working experience. They can all express how they have saved the day in dealing with a crisis. Many have even excelled at an exotic sport.

Our advice to recruiters? Ask what you really want to know, as long as it's not illegal. Would you pack boxes for the next 5 years? In obtaining an honest answer, you might avoid a mismatch and even find that the candidate who is not right for this role is perfect for another.

Our advice to candidates? Forget about interview advice. Be yourself. Who you are and what you think will come to the surface sooner or later. And (unless you're desperate), if you are not the right person for the job, it's no use kidding yourself!

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