There is an old saying that a job interview is a two-way street. Both employer and employee can get a picture of each other and finally decide.
As an IT professional, it is now often the case that you no longer write to the company, but the company/headhunter approaches the employee. Nevertheless, my experience so far is that the interviews often follow the same pattern. Questions are asked about the employee's qualifications and motivation. Of course, the employee can also ask the company his or her own questions later on, but it seems to me that the focus is still on the company going into the interview with a fixed "mask" and checking the employee to see whether he or she fits into this mask.
Therefore, in the past interviews (17 interviews in total), I have tried to consciously conduct a two-way interview. One of the methods I chose was to take questions that are usually asked of a prospective employee and apply them to the company. A few examples:
- What are the biggest strengths/weaknesses of their company?
- What do you think are currently the biggest challenges in their industry?
- How do they specifically address these challenges?
- Why do you want to work with me?
- Why should I work for your company in particular?
Or also in the technical area e.g.:
- Your infrastructure is based on Azure Serverless Functions. Do you have an exit strategy from Microsoft Azure and if so, what does it look like?
Pretty much all of the recruiters seemed very caught off guard by these questions in the interviews. Answers were very superficial, if there was an answer at all. Often, the conversation didn't have a positive atmosphere afterwards and my impression was that the recruiters became even a bit irritated by my questions.
To some extent, I can understand that the questions can be perceived as mirrored and the hr person/employer can become skeptical. However, on a factual level, these are all very common questions in the professional environment, which are definitely relevant/interesting for me as an employee. Furthermore, one can expect that someone who is supposed to represent a company to poetential employees has appropriate answers ready for these questions.
Apart from the quality of the content, however, I am most irritated by the fact that many recruiters/companies generally show very little willingness to respond to such questions at all, but conversely expect applicants to do so in common practice.
I have also talked to a friend working in HR for a medium sized company. She replied that on the other end there is probably someone who does not have time during his normal schedule to answer to a questionnaire presented by an applicant, or maybe there is even "only" some intern present who just cant give any answers to this. My thoughts on this where - then the company is just lazy, if I put time and effort into an application process, then the company should to, especially if the company contacted me and not the other way around. But since she speaks from experience, I guess I have to factor this in as part of reality.
My question to you is - how do you manage to conduct an interview and application process at eye level under these circumstances?