“Reverse Interviewing Techniques” Produce Substantial Results

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With the competition for top talent intensifying every year, innovative companies are turning to reverse interviews to sell their companies to prospective employees. While the process is gaining traction as a way to show coveted candidates what the company can do for them, reverse interviewing also gives the hiring team another valuable tool for evaluating prospective employees and company image.

In a reverse interview,  once the company has decided on a final pool of candidates, they provide the finalists the opportunity to meet with current employees in the same role as they would be entering as, with the invitation to interview them. They are  told they are free to ask the employees anything that they wish about the company culture, opportunities, management style, work life balance, support, etc.

The main benefit of reverse interviews, of course, is that it assures the top candidates obtain all the information they need to fairly and accurately evaluate the company and the opportunity.

Another valuable benefit is that this type of  interview gives the potential new hire an opportunity to forge an early  relationship with a current employee, and statistics show that having someone within the company that the new hire can go to with concerns or questions without fear of reprisal  is the single  biggest deterrent in stopping quick turn over  in that critical first 6 months.

Reverse interviewing  can also yield valuable information about the candidate,  as well as the company’s  reputation  if multiple candidates are sharing the same concerns , that the firm can then address  via its marketing, and  branding initiatives.

  • Reverse interviewing can be extremely beneficial in evaluating the candidate. It is amazing how some candidates will drop their ‘interview mask’ when speaking with the potential hiring manager and loosen up while speaking with peers.   Listening to and analyzing the questions  candidates ask can lend relevant  insights into what motivates them. Does he inquire about opportunities for advancement and taking on additional responsibility? If so, he may be executive material. Is he more concerned about workplace policies such as comp time,  dress code, or drug testing? That may be a red flag. Simply asking numerous, pertinent questions may tab a candidate as conscientious and well-prepared.
  • The key to harnessing this information is to give the employees that are meeting with  these candidates a  pre-printed form to complete immediately after the interview, sharing their  insights  and any concerns on the candidate, listing the candidates primary areas of interest and concerns, any  pre-conceived perceptions about the company culture, etc.
  • Reverse interviewing positions the company  well to top talent. By exposing the job seeker to successful, enthusiastic employees, they can easily picture themselves in the same winning scenario. The company essentially is trying to get the applicant to “buy” into the firm and its mission. Doesn’t it make sense to use the organization’s best seller to close the deal?
  • Reverse interviews, if conducted correctly, can significantly help improve the hiring process. General questions about job requirements may indicate that the company has not clearly defined the position and the key skills candidates must possess in order to achieve the employee’s and the firm’s objectives. Savvy reverse interviewers will ask current salespeople about the company’s sales, marketing, and business strategy. How well the firm’s representative articulates these concepts reflects on the organization’s training, integration, and synergy.


Reverse interviewing not only provides a method for attracting the best candidates for the current job opening, it serves as a dynamic guide for improving the entire hiring process. When the process works, the pipeline runs smoothly, and the company eliminates time and resources wasted on ineffective hiring strategies and poorly fitting candidates.

  • It should be emphasized that smart candidates will already be doing this on their own, by reaching out to current and former employees via Linked In, and asking questions. By formally making it a part of the interview process, the company can signal that they are confident enough in the way that they treat their employees that they are offering this opportunity to speak with them directly. In addition, by hand picking the employees that the interviewee will be speaking with, they can have more control over the narrative, since chances are if a candidate has been given ample opportunity to speak with a few current employees as part of the formal interview process ,they are less likely to invest the time in ferreting out contacts on LI.