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Recently, a coworker and I who were hired at the same time were reminiscing about our interviews. During this, my coworker mentioned that during his interview*, he asked to see the resumes of the people interviewing him (one being our now boss and the other a senior developer).

I was shocked. I felt like such an action can put the interviewer on the defensive, and may be taken as a sort of challenge to their authority. On the other hand, I can understand why a person looking for a job would want to know the qualifications of the people they will be working with/under (though I believe that it isn't unlikely that knowing their past experience is relevant beyond the information they'd likely already share during the interview).

I mentioned these concerns to him, and he brushed them off, citing the fact that he's been offered a job at every place he's interviewed at and has used this tactic at all of them**.

My question: is it appropriate to ask for an interviewer's resume during (or before/after) an interview?

* While he mentioned asking during an interview, I'd like to also consider the idea of asking a time prior to or following the interview. This would bypass any issue with the interviewer not having an updated resume on hand.

** It is likely important to note that both my coworker and I are in our early twenties and co-oping with our company while being college students, so we don't have the most extensive experience. Still, the jobs we have applied to and held for the last ~2 years have been "traditional" 9-5 office jobs as equals to our other developers.

Edit: as mentioned by Kate Gregory, this question is asked with the assumption that the interviewer will be directly working in the same department as you where their background is relevant (such as a project lead or senior), and specifically about asking for resumes.

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    I am guessing there is a way you could do this and not be seen as douchey... I just cant figure out what it is. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jun 2 '17 at 17:58
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    Let's distinguish between "asking about the background of" and "asking to see the resume of" and further between "of my interviewer (who could be from HR)" and "of my boss" or "of my colleagues." – Kate Gregory Jun 2 '17 at 18:16
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    What would be your goal in asking such a question? Do you want to know if your interviewer is qualified to be your superior? Do you want to know the experience or skills required to be working in a more senior position? Do you want to convey that, while they are evaluating you, you are also evaluating them? For the reasons I can think of, I can also imagine far better ways of getting that information than asking for a resume. – abase Jun 2 '17 at 18:38
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    Are you sure your coworker is telling the truth? Given that you weren't actually present in the interview room, I would advise against taking him seriously unless the interviewers also confirm that this happened. I find it highly suspicious that he has used this "tactic" multiple times and got hired as well. – Masked Man Jun 3 '17 at 2:33
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    I don't think I've ever had an up-to-date copy of my resume handy when interviewing a job candidate. – Patricia Shanahan Jun 3 '17 at 10:48
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is it appropriate to ask for an interviewer's resume during (or before/after) an interview?

Generally, no.

Specifically, it is appropriate only if you have an appropriate reason to back up the request.

While you could do this and justify it to the interviewer, as I have said in my comment to the question, I can't think of an appropriate reason that doesn't have a more appropriate approach that could be taken instead.

Strategically, asking this question does not serve any purpose in illustrating that you are the best candidate for the job and, as a result, is a wasted question to ask at any time during the hiring process.

By asking for the resume instead of using a different strategy, the best case scenario is that you see their resume and don't damage your chances of getting the job. Other approaches offer more benefits, such as building rapport, illustrating your interest in the team and position, and forging a contact that could last through your career.

Questions that work better: depending on the situation (we assume, for the purposes of these examples, that your interviewer is your future supervisor possessing a job specific skill set).

  • Will I be working mostly with people who share my skill set or is that team more diverse?
  • What is your own background and what sort of fields do other people on the team/in similar positions come from?
  • What skills or capabilities would I have to acquire or develop in order to advance here?
  • What areas of competence or experience would you expect me to focus on in my first 6 months, first year?
  • In this position, are there opportunities for personal development? Can you provide guidance or support if I pursue relevant training or education?
  • Based on this interview and based on your assessment of my resume, are there areas of concern for you that I could address?

These questions show an interest in how you fit into, and can contribute to, the position. They show an interest in your future at the company. They allow your interviewer to show how interested and capable they are in providing you mentorship and opportunities for advancement.


Additional things from your story to consider:

my coworker mentioned that during his interview, he asked to see the resumes of the people interviewing him

You need to consider the possibility that your coworker is not telling the truth. You were not there.

my coworker and I are in our early twenties and co-oping with our company while being college students

he's been offered a job at every place he's interviewed at and has used this tactic at all of them

we don't have the most extensive experience

If your coworker is telling the truth, it's not as if this is a time-tested strategy. It's very possible that if he has used this strategy, interviewers have given him the benefit of the doubt due to his youth and inexperience and because the long term cost of taking a risk is lower: co-op students are not permanent. Do not expect interviewers to take this same risk with a recent grad, applying for an entry level position with the possibility that the organization might be saddled with them for decades.

Again, don't do this at any time during the hiring process. There are better questions to ask that can help you get hired.

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I'd say that "please tell me about yourself and your background" is a totally valid question and in no way offensive. It's very engaging. I'll say that while I haven't generally been quite that blunt, I've done the following to get that information:

  • googled or linked in the names of the people on the interview agenda, looking for both career background info and also mutual connections
  • asked enough probing questions to basically build myself a resume - "how long have you worked here", "what's your title?", "what did you do before this?" - and then more and more questions until I have a good sense of who they are... which means I could probably write about 40-50% of their resume.

That tends to come off as being engaged, not nosy.

I'd agree that "can I have a copy of YOUR resume" seems a bit off-putting and weird. A resume is specifically a representation of a person's capabilities to do a job. As a candidate, you're not evaluating the person's capabilities for the job they have successfully attained already - you are evaluating their likeliness to be a good coworker/boss/team member - which is a facet of their job, and not one that comes through very clearly on a resume.

If I were the interviewer, I'd probably be amused by being asked, and say "no, but what you want to know about my career? I'm glad to answer". If the candidate responded with a lot of unjustified posturing about why they needed my resume, I'd probably have some negative feedback for the review process. If the response was thoughtful and pointed out what kind of evaluation or concerns the candidate was trying to figure out - I'd probably be really pleased that the candidate was really thinking about what matters to them about the job - and the job goal of being inspired by one's coworkers is a totally great reason to be asking for this info. As long as that came across, it would be a win in my book.

Not sure what my response would be if I was asked in advance. Probably most likely outcome would be to just say "no" and if it's a deal breaker for the candidate, oh well. The effort to have my staff build resumes to deal with the non-standard request would exceed the value of bringing the candidate on site for the interview.

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Having done interviews, I'm going to say 'no', not appropriate. Or at least, you won't get one from me. My resume is not up-to-date and won't be until I go on my next job hunt myself. I'm not going to go through the effort of updating it just for you. If my career history is somehow germain to your decision to join our company, I am more than happy to talk about it during the interview.

I fail to see the upside to this. Best case is I decline and think you are a little strange for asking, but the rest of the interview goes well enough that I make you an offer anyway. More likely, you come off as an arrogant jerk I don't want to work with.

As a prospective employer, I want to see your resume so I can determine if it is worthwhile to ask you for an interview. That's it. Once we have an interview, that's where I decide if I want to make you an offer. Your job as a prospective employee is to determine if my company is worth working for. Hopefully you did your initial homework before even submitting the application, which is the role the resume serves. Once you are at the interview, you can ask whatever you want. But you are best served by keeping your questions to ones that will help you determine if it's a company you want to work for. I don't see how your interviewers' resumes would be relevant to that.

  • +1 for "My resume is not up-to-date and won't be until I go on my next job hunt myself." I think this will be true of most interviewers. – mhwombat Jun 2 '17 at 22:28
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Sure, and I would hand you this resume right away:

Nolo Problemo

Senior Software Engineer, 1983 to Present

Highly qualified in judging people, especially prospective co-workers. I'm the guy who will offer his opinion after you have left the interview room as to whether we want to hire this arrogant knucklehead.


Most interviewers are going to tell you their role, and an open-ended question such as, "So where do you fit into the organization?" is fine, but requesting a resume? And then let your interviewer sit there and fidget while you read it? You're not showing them that you're easy to do business with.

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I think it's fine.

In face, it could well be more than fine - it shows confidence, and could easily be spun into "i want to learn from the people here, and I'd like to know what I your CV looks like so I have an idea of the potential I have to learn " or "I love team dynamics and working in high performance teams, I'd love to see your CV to get an idea of what to expect from this team".

Most IT grunts will probably cough a few times confusedly, but the managers (and the managers are the ones who make the hiring decisions) will like this - management is much more interested in cross-training and team dynamics.

Unless it is a rubbish company, and then the managers will not be interested - and neither would you want to work there, so win-win, really.

It really depends on how you phrase it, but looking at a job as a way to grow into another job is a great way to present yourself, and you'll have an easier time finding roles that help you grow if you're upfront about it.

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    As you say, managers make the hiring decisions. But therein is the flaw in your logic. Good managers respect and value the judgement of their team members whom they have asked to join the interview. You do want to work for a good manager, don't you? – Kent A. Jun 3 '17 at 12:28

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