I work at a web services company, and am being asked to interview a candidate who, if hired, would be my peer. I've never conducted any interview before, let alone someone who would be my peer, and have no idea where to begin, and whether I should proceed any differently given that I am interviewing a potential peer rather than a subordinate.

The only time I've been interviewed by peers -- at a former job -- it was a very informal and unorthodox interview (my then-future coworkers very much went against the company grain in pretty much every aspect, and even admitted to me after I was hired that they didn't conduct the interview as they were expected to, and all they cared about was that I was competent and would get along with them).

Should I conduct this any differently from a normal (non-peer) interview, and are there any particular questions I could ask that might not be relevant/useful otherwise? Thanks!

  • 1
    I haven't found interviewing a potential superior to be very different from interviewing a peer or subordinate. You need to understand their job well enough to ask good questions (or well enough to do a mostly non-directive interview, which is a somewhat uncommon skill) and to evaluate their answers . You're trying to determine how good a fit they are for the company and the position, whether they're good at working in your context, team skills, leadership skills, their future direction and how happy they'll be in the job... same ol' same ol'.
    – keshlam
    Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 23:02
  • Until they're hired you are in some sense their superior. And after they're hired most would still consider yourself senior to them and in some sense superior until one of you is promoted.
    – Brandin
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 7:01

2 Answers 2


You can start by asking the hiring manager what questions he or she is trying to answer by including you in the interview process. It might be technical prowess. It might be style and approach, to evaluate fit with the team. It might be primarily to sell the person on the company. It shouldn't be your job to guess. A good process is for all the interviewers to meet briefly before the candidate arrives and get clear on who is looking to illuminate what.

You should also get a refresh on HR rules for what not to ask.

  • +1 - This is definitely the question you need to ask: an interview where you're seeing if they're a good fit for the team will be very different to one where you try to ascertain technical ability.
    – Jon Story
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 13:38

Yes, I would say it is a lot more easier. Given the role and the challenges you face in it on a day to day basic. You would know better on what to skills,concepts and tools the new candidate should know or be able to adapt to perform well in the position. You could do the following.

  1. Pick a situation you found difficult to solve and ask the candidate how you would look at the problem
  2. Ask concepts would be essential for the candidate to know to perform the job better
  3. Ask questions on tools which fluency would be required
  4. List skills with are essential for the position and test the candidates expertise in it. For example client facing roles would require you to present ideas. You might want to test the presentation or selling skills of the candidate
  5. You could test the adaptability of the candidate if he does not know something with a homework problem, to see how quick he could turn around with a solution.
  • Ask questions on things he said in his resume he is proficient in. You will find about many people out there can't answer basic technical questions on things they said they know and use at work.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 21:19
  • Oh and a favorite question of mine is what do you find annoying about [insert programming language, required tool or wahtever here]. People who say they know SSIS for instance who can't answer this wquestion have not used it extensively enough to have things that bother them. People who really know a tool or language also know it's flaws.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 21:21

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