I Dare You – The Reverse Interview Revisited

In the barrage of daily questions I get – I think there is more centered about the reverse interview as a means of finding opportunity than any other subject. So, today I thought I would revisit those posts on the reverse interview.


The reverse interview was first explained in a post about a guaranteed way to find a job.

Then a few videos followed which gave more details. First was The Reverse Interview Explained followed by the UAB Media Relations video Turn the Interview Around.

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Who Tries It

Now, this is interesting. When I tell 20 engineering students all looking for work how to do this, just guess how many will really do it?

And remember, I tell them it is a GUARANTEED way to get a job!

Just one. Just one out of twenty – or 5%.

And these are people who are paying me dearly for education. Can I assume only 5% listen and take action on anything else I teach?

And I can only guess when I speak or write, the numbers might be about the same.

So let me make it more interesting!

I dare you to try it! Yes – I dare you!

If you are looking for work, stretch out and talk to people who are where you would love to be in years! Forget about a job – just go talk.

If you already have a job, do the interview with people who are really where you want to be one day! Stretch yourself! See what you learn.

If you are in business for yourself, 0r want to be, do the interview with business people way ahead of you in your same field. See if you learn how to mimic their success. See if 15 minutes with them is not a VALUABLE education.

And I will sweeten the pot! Anyone who does and sends me your story or posts it on comments – you will get a free copy of my book Resumes Are Worthless: How to Find the Work You Love and Succeed.

Again – I dare you! 

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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20 thoughts on “I Dare You – The Reverse Interview Revisited

  1. You guarantee this, but will it work for people who are so introverted that they cannot ask the right questions? I am taking you up on your dare…

  2. Dale, I had a most interesting reverse interview just today…once you start doing this, you can’t stop. You will start doing it with everyone you talk to. This was actually kind of an accidental reverse interview, but good practice. I was calling Susan Green at Birmingham Bake and Cook to book a team building event at her store. She does some cooking demos and recently had a chef friend of mine that I worked with at Southern Living in her store for an event. Anyway, we will not be able to do the teambuilding event, but the conversation lapsed into a reverse interview about entrepreneurship. I was amazed at how open she was.

    Susan moved here from New York (on purpose) a couple of years ago. She has been in the food service industry for 40 years, but never a retail business. The company she was with opened restaurants and she did menu development, etc. When she moved here she couldn’t find a job. Because Susan comes from a family (4th generation) of entrepreneurs, she took the money from the sale of her New York apt. to open her business. She said if she had had to take out a loan she would not have done it because of the risk and she is a single Mom.

    While her business is successful the one thing she misses is having an objective sounding board. Her example was that a few months back she was talking to a customer about increasing sales. The customer called her back a few days later and said hey, I have and idea, why don’t you sell frozen casseroles. In her head, Susan knows that would mean a different license for her kitchen, a larger freezer, etc. She says that when you are in business for yourself it’s hard to find people to give you feedback. She talks with other women small business owners, which she says are fantastic, but it’s more commiserating than guidance.

    I told Susan I would come visit her at her store soon. And, I will buy something. She didn’t know me from Adam’s housecat, but gave me some great information.

  3. Fun isn’t it. I find it a blast that we love hearing other people’s stories instead of just talking about ourselves all the time.

  4. In all honesty, I did my first reverse interview as an assignment for a certain pushy professor. To my shock, the guy I interviewed asked me after about 10 minutes of conversation if I ever want to move into the financial services industry to give him a call. He would be happy to hire me himself or connect me to someone needing someone intelligent. I was a bit shocked how successful people that I would not expect to give me the time of day were practically offering me a job after 10 minute intelligent conversation.

  5. Dale,
    The reverse Interview I did was with the Chief Partner of DOOZER Software, Ron Perkins. We met couple of times after the first initial meeting and he really liked to work with me on new ventures.

    Last time we met, he offered a business proposition that I am working on currently. Though marketing is a little frustrating, he and me are working together to get the first customer of the new venture. I am hopeful that this work out.
    I realy agree with that the reverse interview worked so far for me.
    Thank you

  6. This is a great proposal. When searching for a major/career in college, I used this technique without noticing it was a reverse interview, and It worked out in my favor. Now after knowing the actually process, I will give it a try for one of my dream positions and see how it goes. Thanks for the advice.

  7. Dr. Callahan talked to my class about this idea in 2009, but I didn’t realize it for a long time until revisited this link in an email from Dr. Callahan two months ago. I actually did some reverse interviews but didn’t realize it during the past three years. I only did three successful reverse interviews till Feb. I am looking for academic jobs in Electrical/Computer Engineering, so I wrote emails to some female faculities in the ECE department nearby saying “I’m a graduate student at UAB and would like to know how they get what they are etc”. Some responded me back with “why?” or “your email doesn’t look familar to me”, some never responded. Honestly it was very uncomfortable at the very beginning, but I had successfully interviewed two professors, and as Dr. Callhan pointed it out, they were happy and I collected lots of information. But after several irresponded emails, I didn’t continue. I also interviewed people from industry in the hardware engineering field. Since I could not find people from Birmingham, and it was not easy to find contac informations from industry. I tried LinkedIn messages to several people but didn’t get responses. I successfully reverse interviewed an engineer in California after he interviewed me recently. He liked the questions I asked and said “very good questions,” “You are the first one to ask me this question”. I failed the technical interview, but I connected with him through LinkedIn. Maybe I didn’t try many, but so far my conclusion is that this method is to work on likability. People will like you if you do so, but it may not be enough if you are not competitive enough especially for technical work. I recalled the book “how to sell yourself”, if candidates have similar competibility, then work on likability to stand out. Also from my experience, this works best for Americans, but may not the case for internationals. Most international people didn’t respond my email request. But I will keep trying not just for job hunting, but it’s a great way to make connections and get information. Thanks very much, Dr. Callahan. Congratulations to your mentor award! You well deserve it!

  8. Thanks you so much Fan!

    As far as the interviews – I think I would be contacting department chairs and deans instead of just any faculty. If they do not respond, contact them again. They are likely seeing you as one of the MANY who email them looking for positions so they are not taking your questions seriously Also, many faculty are terrible at answering email. But, persistence is key. I know some people who will NEVER repsond to such a request until they are contacted 3 times.

  9. Thanks you so much Fan!

    As far as the interviews – I think I would be contacting department chairs and deans instead of just any faculty. If they do not respond, contact them again. They are likely seeing you as one of the MANY who email them looking for positions so they are not taking your questions seriously Also, many faculty are terrible at answering email. But, persistence is key. I know some people who will NEVER repsond to such a request until they are contacted 3 times.

  10. Thanks very much for your reply, Dr. Callahan. Just a little confused, according to your words, my next step is to be a faculty. After I become a faculty, the next goal may be department chair, then next dean… but I understand your point here. I will keep trying. Thanks again for your advice.

  11. Totally understand – but right now a faculty cannot hire you – only a chair or dean can. So you talk to the person with the power to make a decision.

  12. The reverse interview is magical. Dr. Callahan explains it in a very simple to understand way and gives you the tools to get useful information. I have used the reverse interview on a daily basis since August and it truly has allowed me to get valuable information and build strong networks. It has also brought unexpected opportunities after having the conversations. Dr. Callahan challenges you to take control of your Company of One, and to add value to your daily operations. The only way you can add value is to know what others truly value. You find out by asking, 3 questions! Here’s a perfect time for the reverse interview? Do you want a promotion or raise, then you will need to find out what your employer finds valuable it may not be your job description. It will save you valuable time and give you a clarity. Knowledge will definitely change your world.