Have you ever come across something similar?
'Reversing' is a tactic often used by salespeople (namely Sandler Sales Training) to get information out of the prospect, making the prospect involved in selling to themselves, and help figure out the real things the prospect is interested in.
Would that be a wise strategy?
Responding to a question with a question has a high possibility of coming across as harsh or arrogant. If you are going to try it, I suggest:
- Only reverse appropriate questions
- Soften the statement
Reversing Appropriate Questions
Once a prospect gets emotionally involved in a sales meeting, the reverses go unnoticed. However, you've got to be careful to keep your reverses from sounding harsh or arrogant.
If the interviewer asks, "What was your last job?" obviously you should avoid asking, "What was your last job?" Some questions are going to be inappropriate to reverse.
For many 'standard' questions there is no intention behind them beyond confirming that you say the same thing you wrote on your resume. Trying to reverse these will likely just piss the interviewer off. When you get a more open-ended question like, "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" or the like, that's when a reverse can help you get more information on what the interviewer is hoping to get from asking it.
Soften the Statement
*A softening statement preceding the reverse decreases the pressure on the prospect, keeps the prospect from becoming defensive, and encourages a "straight" response."
Some examples of softening statements include: "Good question...." "I'm glad you asked me that...." "That's a good point...." "That must be an important question to you...."*
If the interviewer asks, "Why should we hire you?" you could say something like:
I'm glad you asked me that. I was worried you wouldn't invite me for an interview because I don't have the 5 years of experience you were looking for. What was it about me that made you overlook that requirement?
That definitely does not come across as arrogant or combative, and it will get you information on what it is the interviewer is actually looking for.
Regardless, if you do use this technique, and the interviewer asks the exact same question again, answer it!
Practice before the interview
While many of the suggested phrasings for the question above are okay, chances are they will come off sounding odd in an actual interview unless you practice them. Just try answering questions with questions as much as possible leading up to the interview. Some examples:
On the street:
Stranger: "Excuse me, do you know where Fake St. is?"
You: "You seem to be in a rush, where are you trying to get to?"
Coworker: "Do you know what time it is?"
You: "Good question -- why do you ask?"
By getting reactions when answering questions with questions, you will be able to better judge when (not) to use it in the interview, and how to gauge whether it is an effective way to speak to the interviewer.