How do you conduct the first interview for new staff?

BZZZZZ. Wrong. Trick question. You don’t conduct the interview, the candidate does.

The Mercuras Group ‘Reverse Interview’ process is something we developed to secure the top performers. If you’ve already engaged good people and lined them up for an interview, and you’re genuinely excited to meet with them, then you need to impress them. They have options. You want them to want to work with your company. You want to stand out in the host of start-ups fighting over the best people.

A mile-high snapshot of the process is to ask them what they want to discuss in the meeting, and set the expectations for something different at the first opportunity.

  1. It is no longer an interview. It is from now on ‘a meeting’. This changes the whole dynamic to something more equitable, and is about changing the whole experience to an exchange of ideas rather than a call-and-response exercise.

  2. Ask them what they’re hoping to get from the meeting. Simple, open-ended. Get them to shoot through any superficial (but requisite) questions by email; current headcount, locations, tech stack questions, etc so you can have answers ready to go when they come in and you can focus on what’s really important; the ambitions and goals of each side at the table.

  3. Ask them specifically about areas they’d like to discuss or walk through; the current org chart, product roadmaps, and whatever else is relevant.

  4. Outline your explicit process; the number of meetings, formats for each, decision-making criteria, and the like. Offer to answer any questions they may have around each. This is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate genuinely transparency – use it.

Through their questions, engagement-level, communications, they’ve already told you more before they walk through the door than in a typical first interview. You’ve demonstrated your company is different, and thinks things through, rather than another cookie-cutter start-up like every other organisation they’re meeting. And it’s more human.

If you start down this path, it will put you very much on the right trajectory to become an interviewing powerhouse. Such a simple shift will have a profound impact on your success and the ‘stickiness’ of employees. It sets a clear tone, and communicates that you prefer the open exchange of ideas over bureaucratic bullshit and unnecessary hurdles.

Come prepared with well thought-out questions and keep it organic. It’s a discussion, not an interrogation.



If you’d like help to create a unique way to hire for your company, or just want to ask a quesiton: