Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

9 Questions to Prepare for a Reverse Job Interview

handshakeMost law firms cling to the traditional interview model where one side asks the questions and the other gives the answers.

But a growing number of firms are experimenting with reverse interviews, where each side questions the other – or where a group of candidates engage in a discussion while the prospective employer looks on.

The idea is that a dialogue is more illuminating than an interrogation. The questions a candidate comes up with can be more revealing than they answers they’ve rehearsed.

And it’s thought that seeing candidates interacting with their peers and competitors can disclose important character traits.

“We all know how the typical job interview goes,” says this source. “The interviewee is asked a series of questions such as, ‘What are your skills? How long have you been in the field? What are you looking for compensation-wise?’ But if the employee is supposed to love their job, shouldn’t the interview experience be reversed or reciprocal?”

If you’re headed for a job interview, it’s best to anticipate a possible role reversal. Create a list of questions for the interviewer or even other candidates. Practice your delivery. That way, should the opportunity arise, you will come across as prepared and thorough.

Preparing for the Reverse Interview

Here are 9 questions for your list (all can be adapted to suit your personality and the interview scenario):

  1. “Tell me about your company culture.” You can be specific (“What is the firm’s five-year strategic plan?) or general (“What are the firm’s core values?”).
  2. “What is the most important task I will be expected to accomplish in the first 30 days, 60 days or six months?” Career Trend suggests: “Ask what two traits the company feels are most important for the new employee to have. If ‘team player’ is one of the traits, you know you’ll be working closely with other people without much independent decision making. ‘Self-motivated’ might mean you will spend much of your time alone in your office.”
  3. “How will my performance be evaluated?” It’s better to know up front than later.
  4. “Do you generally work collaboratively in teams or independently?” This will give you a sense of the work environment.
  5. “What do you love most about your job?” This goes straight to how the interviewer feels about what they do – and it might help you decide if the job is right for you.
  6. “What leadership traits do you think are most important?” Mentoring? Inspiring others? Getting the most production from staff?
  7. “What hours do you prefer to work during the day?” This opens the door to topics like work habits, tele-commuting and flex time.
  8. “Do you prefer Macs or PCs (or something similar)?” You want to know if your tech skills are suitable.
  9. “Do you have an office dress code, or a policy on things like playing music while working?” This humanizes you. And the answer might help you decide if this is a job that’s right for you.

Have you participated in a reverse job interview, either as employer or applicant? Tell us about your experience.



About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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