Interviews should be a dialogue. Interviews should be a conversation. Interviews should be a chance for each party to get a feel for the other. Fortunately, smart companies have changed interviews from what they were in the past. Interviews are no longer just about the needs of a company to fill a role. They have morphed to allow the person looking to fill that role into becoming an active agent in the process.

The reciprocity in interviewing involves two or more people in a dialogue to determine if the person is a fit for the company AND if the company is a fit for the person. Anything less is a disservice to each.

I am not suggesting that each party has a 50-50 split in who does the talking. There are times when the prospective employee needs to provide detail. After all, the person knows what they know and the company wants to find out what they know. Smart companies hire thinkers.

Because, in theory, the person doing the interviewing already knows a lot about the company. This is not always the case, but it’s a good theory. It’s also a great reason for interviewee to do their own research.

There are also times where the interviewee should expect detailed responses from the prospective employer to their questions.

However, Never Forget! It’s up to the interviewee to be prepared.

Do the Work – Interviewees need to do their own homework so they can ask intelligent questions.

Why? Because the interviewee needs to know if this place is a place where they can work. Not just work … but do their Best Work.

Interviews are NOT supposed to be monologues.

Interviews are conversations for the job seeker AND the job creator.

Modern and Smart Companies look for thinkers … Not automatons

Even in roles where mundane tasks are the norm. There are always ways to improve a process and provide a better customer experience.

Companies Pay for Experience

This is obvious, but most people do not start at the top of the organization. There are exceptions, but that’s usually what they are … exceptions. Everyone else has to pay their dues. Those dues will involve both positive and negative experiences. That’s part of life. Those experiences expose flaws and pitfalls in plans and these are often the most powerful teaching experiences. Everyone has at least a few of these. Some have many more. The good news for potential new hires always have a few too.

Even Newbies have Something to Offer

Newly minted college graduates have skills and experiences too. Everything they have done plays a role in what they know and in what they can bring to the organization. These experiences should not be discounted and when possible should be leveraged to extend the company into new ways of thinking.

While it will not be common for new hires to start at the top there is nothing preventing a new hire from making an impact. Smart companies know this and they setup a nurturing environment to insure new hires can learn, grow and share. Whether they are straight out of school or whether they are transferring in from another department or company. Everyone has their own experiences and can make an impact. The smart companies are making it easy to utilize these experiences and grow their business.

Smart Businesses practice and perfect the art of Reciprocity in Interviewing.

What do you think?

  • Are there any cases where monologue-only interviews work?
  • Should interviews be a reciprocal process?
  • What are your tips to insure interviews are a dialogue?

Jeff  is a veteran in the Enterprise Content Management industry. Over the past 20 years he has worked with customers and partners to design, develop and deploy solutions around the world. Jeff is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances at Winshuttle. He has worked for Microsoft, FileNet (IBM), K2, Captaris, Open Text, Kofax and Kodak. He speaks and blogs about ECM and the Intersection between Social, Mobile and Cloud Computing.