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How to interview your interviewer

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One of the points often made when talking to people about undergoing job interviews, or conducting them, is that it should be a conversation. This is true, and so an interview should be seen a genuinely two-sided event. Part of the result of this should be that the person being interviewed gains all the information they need to allow them to decide whether it’s the role, and company, for them. To achieve this, it’s sometimes necessary to take the role as interviewer for part of the time. Here’s some things to consider when being interviewed:

Your interviewer as politician

When you see politicos being interviewed on news programmes, it’s fair to say that they won’t deliver outright lies (most of the time!). What they will present is the version of the truth they want you to know. Recruitment interviewers can be the same. If they are keen for you to consider joining their company, it’s often likely that they will paint as rosy a picture as possible of the role, and being part of their team. Your job is to find out a more unvarnished truth. Therefore, without challenging them, do think of the questions you can politely ask to find out what you really need to know.

Your interviewer as a tester

It’s likely that, during any interview, you will be tested as to how you would respond in certain relevant situations, or how you did so in the past. If you are not sure exactly what you interviewer wants to know, what important selection criteria they are testing, don’t be afraid to ask some clarification questions. You might even try, gently, to turn the question back on them to see if they will reveal something about the kind of answers they are keen to hear!

Your interviewer as information-provider

At the end of an interview, you should know everything you need to make your decision, should the post be offered to you. Often, from a position inside an organisation, an interviewer can simply forget to include some key points. Their familiarity with process, procedures, and simple but important information about their organisation, can lead them to forget to cover some areas. Again, plan before the interview, so you can ask any necessary questions to learn what hasn’t been covered.

None of the three situations above means that you should become the prime interviewer in the conversation! Simply that you should prepare, and be prepared to ask, any questions that will help you effectively present yourself or learn everything you need to know.

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