Could flipping your job interview style get better results?

Man on a trampoline

Interviews are a two-way street, so why does an employer ask most of the questions? Could flipping your company’s interview style provide better results?

Have you ever asked yourself whether your mining company’s interview process is actually identifying the best applicant?

In any job interview there are two things happening simultaneously: the company is assessing the applicant and the applicant is assessing the company.

The standard approach to job interviews is for the employer to ask the majority of the questions, whether they be related to behaviour, competency or opinion. But if we think of an interview as a two-way process, why do most companies wait until the end of the interview to ask the applicant if they have any questions?

Is it time to take a different approach to job interviews?

Should equal time be given to both parties in a job interview?

Imagine that instead of providing the applicant with the information at the beginning of the interview, the applicant was the first to ask questions. The employer may well find they learn more about an individual by seeing how well-prepared the applicant is, and how original they are with the questions they ask, instead of by providing all the information and leading the process.

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From an employer’s perspective there is a lot to learn from giving the floor to the applicant first. It will help you answer the following questions:

  • Have they prepared?
  • Have they researched the company and reviewed any information provided?
  • What is important to them?
  • Are they looking at this role long term?
  • How well-suited do they believe they are to the role?
  • How creative are they in their thinking?
  • What do they understand about the role and the requirements of the position?
  • What motivates them?
  • What is important to them?
  • How well do they communicate?
  • How willing are they to accept challenges?
  • How receptive are they to change?

Admittedly, a lot of the above questions are covered in a standard interview, but not all applicants will ask the same questions or prepare in a similar manner.

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How and when could this work?

Applicants can research questions to ask and techniques to answer questions. They can research the company and the role and use LinkedIn to identify previous holders of the position and previous employees to question. Applicants can also research questions to ask in an interview; however, often it is as much about what isn’t asked as what is.

Approaching interviews differently would not work in all situations. But if you are looking for an approach to separate applicants in a second-round interview, or if you are looking to assess applicants with a new approach, perhaps giving them the floor first in an interview may be an option.

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Dan Hatch
Mining People International