Sounds weird, doesn’t it? We’ve grown up expecting the job interview to be the ultimate harrowing experience of being put on the spot and hoping to succeed, with your entire livelihood depending on it. No pressure.
While most interviews end with your future boss or HR director asking you if there’s anything you’d like to know about the job, the reverse-role job interview focuses entirely on this.
The concept is based on the idea that the questions you ask can be just as revealing as the answers you give. It may seem on the surface that reversing a job interview would be a lot less stressful, but that’s not the case. Reverse-role interviews take the interview process to a whole new level when it comes to wondering what your future employer is thinking about you.
So of course, it all comes down to asking the right questions. It’s obvious what the wrong questions are:
“Where’s the bathroom?”or “How rigid is your harassment policy?”
Stuff like that. But what are the right kinds of questions to ask in a reverse-role job interview?
Brainstorm ahead of time what is involved at the job you’re applying for, and ask detailed questions about what is expected of you. Focus on achievement and goals. By asking questions of this variety, you can put yourself forward as goal-oriented.
Ask your future boss about their career history, specifically, how they got to where they are. Don’t get too personal, but keep in mind that most people like having the opportunity to talk about themselves, and this will help to warm up the conversation.
It goes without saying that a reverse-role interview requires preparation—perhaps even more than the usual interview. Research the company you’re applying to and find some information your interviewer might not expect you to know. Did the company blog about an achievement last year? Ask them more about that achievement.
Reverse job interviews are all about reverse engineering the interview process. So when you’re brainstorming the best questions to ask, keep that in mind. What do employers normally ask you? What answers do they expect? The conversion looks a little something like this:
Usual question: What are your strengths in the workplace?
Preferred answer: My versatility. I’m a team player, but as a self-starter am also capable of taking the lead when necessary.
Reverse question: What traits do the most goal-oriented staff in the office have?
By wording your questions properly, you show your new boss what you’re interested in and find out for yourself what you can do to thrive at that workplace.
You’re not always going to know what kind of interview you’re walking into. Some interviewers might be kind and warn you it’s a reverse, and others may not. The reverse job interview doubles the necessity of pre-interview prep.
As always, research the company, get a good night’s sleep, and prepare as much as possible before every interview.