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An interviewer’s most critical purpose is to dive deep into a candidate’s mind and assess whether they are the right person for the job. Much like a physician, the interviewer must examine, question, and test to arrive at a final diagnosis – suitable or unsuitable for hire.

To achieve this, the interviewer has several tools at their disposal. The two most important ones are the reverse interview and the candidate homework.

Reverse Interview

The very nature of a job interview is that it isn’t long. In a matter of minutes, half an hour at most, you need to get the full picture, glimpse the candidate from different angles for the most accurate assessment.

Because of the short period of time you have to accomplish this, you need to use it well. The techniques and tools you utilize need to be 100% effective because otherwise, you may not get what you’re seeking.

The reverse interview method is based on the concept that an interview consists of four crucial pieces of information:

  • Does the candidate communicate well?
  • Why are they interested in the job opening?
  • Have they done any research on the organization?
  • Resume clarifications.

It would take an interviewer roughly 20 minutes to screen a candidate based on these four interview segments.

However, the reverse interview proposes a flipped structure: the candidate has 10 to 15 minutes to ask the interviewer any questions about the company or their role. Then, the interviewer takes 5 to 10 minutes to ask the candidate a few questions.

With this technique, you can use the first minutes of the interview and the types of questions the candidate asks to assess their personality and how well they prepared for the interview. For maximum effect, notify the candidate in advance of the reverse interview structure to not ambush them at the very start.

Candidate Homework

Assigning a task to the candidate before the interview is an excellent way to get a glimpse into what it is like working with them. Ask the candidate to prepare a short presentation or an analysis relevant to the work they will be doing, or have them review a strategy, research a topic, or write a memo.

When talking to them about the pre-interview assignment, recreate a meeting with you as though they are already part of the team. That way, you will get a sense of what they’re like in a work environment, and they will also get a taste of being a team member.

Assigning homework like this doesn’t have to take too much preparation, and it will be an excellent technique to get more out of the candidate than simple answers to questions.


If you haven’t already employed them, the reverse interview and candidate homework techniques are two valuable tools you can use during the interview process. Both are designed to break through the standard interview drudgery and offer you new and exciting ways of getting to know your potential hires.

Discover the best tools to use to assess your candidates, as well as how to consistently connect with your leadership team and predictably turn them into highly engaged employees.

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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734