Want to attract top talent? Here’s why the reverse interview should be part of your hiring process

In today’s market, it’s hard to find new and innovative ways to attract leading candidates, but the reverse interview may be a great way to stand out from the crowd.

So, what is the reverse interview?

As the name suggests, reverse interviewing allows candidates to ask the questions.

In a typical reverse interview, the candidate is given information about the organisation in advance, including details on culture, values and skill requirements. Armed with this information, the candidate can develop a set of questions to ask their prospective employer.

When should you use the reverse interview?

The reverse interview can be used at any stage of the recruitment process, but it’s more common in the final interview rounds. This model isn’t going to be suitable for every role. But it can be a great way to stand out when hiring for highly qualified talent or executive positions.

Why should you use the reverse interview?

There are several benefits for both candidates and the employer. But, put simply, you’ll better understand each other, increasing the chances of successful, happy and long-term employment.

Here’s why:

  • A reverse interview allows candidates to make an informed decision.

Even in a traditional interview process, the candidate should also be assessing the employer, but it can be tricky when only given a few minutes to ask questions. The reverse interview changes the dynamic, allowing a candidate to ask detailed questions about your team dynamics, culture and expectations to ensure it’s the best fit for them.

  • A reverse interview offers new insights into the candidate.

While it gives the candidate additional opportunities to learn about your organisation, it can also uncover a wealth of insights about the candidate. The questions they ask will enable you to see what they value and assess whether there is an alignment that will see them thrive in your organisation. It also allows you to see the candidate’s communication, problem-solving and critical thinking skills in action in a different dynamic to the traditional interview.

  • A reverse interview demonstrates the organisation’s transparency.

By giving candidates the reins, you’re not only saying the right things about your culture but also demonstrating them. It shows that this is an open, collaborative and transparent process, which will immeasurably improve the candidate experience and lead to better hiring.

How can you implement the reverse interview?

Implementing a reverse interview requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. Here are a couple of tips to get you started.

#1 Plan in advance

Like a traditional interview, a reverse interview is not something you can ‘wing’. To get the most out of it, the candidate must be prepared in advance and given enough information about the organisation and role to ask meaningful questions. While some improvisation opportunities may display creativity and agility, too many will render the reverse interview ineffective.

#2 Commit to transparency

For the process to be effective, those representing the employer in the reverse interview must be honest and open. Just as we expect candidates to be candid in sharing strengths and weaknesses, you must be prepared to do the same about the opportunities and challenges on offer.

#3 Use a discussion guide

A discussion guide can help structure the reverse interview and ensure both parties stay on track. This guide should include the top-line questions that the candidate wants to ask, as well as questions the interviewer may have.

#4 Follow up with the candidate

Follow up with the candidate after the interview, and if their questions highlighted an area of particular interest, send them more details. In a highly competitive process, taking the initiative to keep candidates engaged is essential.

At the end of the day, interviewing has always been a two-way street, with candidates and prospective employers assessing each other. The reverse interview simply makes that process a little more overt, demonstrating your collaborative and transparent approach and ensuring you stand out while uncovering new insights into your top candidates.