How to Deal With a Bad Interviewer


In the run up to a job interview it can be all too easy to become so rapped up in your own preparations, that you forget the interview is going to be a two way exchange.

Candidates fixate on a variety of things, from how they will tackle tricky questions about their working life so far, to the smallest details of their attire, but, at the end of the day, there will be (at least) two people in the room and, unfortunately, the care and consideration you put into your performance won’t always be mirrored by your counterpart.

Here are a few tips for dealing with bad interviewers:

Under prepared/Distracted

It’s very a disheartening experience when, as an interview progresses it becomes abundantly clear that the person sitting across simply hasn't put in the effort to prepare. I've heard of instances where interviewers were obviously unclear on who the candidate was, or hadn't even read their resume (a sure sign of a company with a majorly disconnected recruitment process!)

Indeed, I've heard of a few occasions where an interviewer has been sifting through a lot of candidates to try and fill the numerous roles, and hasn't even been aware of which job the candidate is even applying for.

As well being under prepared due to a high number of applicants, interviewers can also be distracted by other business, especially when your interview has to be conducted by somebody in a senior position who, very likely has a number of other things to think about.

In either of these situations, you really will be fighting an uphill battle. The best thing you can do here, if you really feel the interviewer is utterly preoccupied with other matters, is to ask if you might be able to rearrange. They key thing is to phrase the request in a way that it clearly demonstrates that you are just attempting to be courteous and bowing to the interviewer’s other commitments. It won’t help your cause much to let on that the situation has annoyed you.

Does All the Talking

There is a school of thought that says it’s a good thing if in your interview you find that your opposite number seems to be doing most of the talking. The logic of people who hold this opinion is that, if the interviewer is talking a lot about the job, rather than asking questions about you, they are trying to sell you the role, not the other way around. Obviously, if you look at it this way, you might take it as a sign that they are keen on you as a candidate.

However, this won’t always be the case. Talking too much is also a classic trait of inexperienced interviewers who simply aren’t used to getting the important information required to make the right call out of the applicants they talk to.

Another, rather more extreme example of when this might occur is if you are going for a role where you’d need to be very assertive. In this case the interviewer may be testing your willingness to reject a passive role and make your mark on the conversation.

In both of these cases it is important that you find a way of getting a word in. Aside from anything else, if you can’t communicate your skills to them, they won’t really have any grounds for hiring you. Don’t sit back complacently and let your chance pass by.

Aggressive Line of Questioning

An interview for any role is, relatively speaking, a fairly high pressure situation. Some interviewers will compound this by using an overtly aggrieve style of questioning. For example, rather than allowing you to give an answer and judging you on it, they might challenge you outright, or openly disagree with you, mid-flow.

Whether they are doing this because they are a poor interviewer with an inappropriate technique, or if they are consciously testing your ability to handle a heated situation (which may, after all, be a requirement of the role) the way you handle them should be the same.

Simply, maintain your cool and try not take criticisms personally. A good technique for maintaining your objectivity is to imagine you are discussing somebody else all together. Another top tip is to take a sip of water before answering a statement that riles you. Whilst counting to ten in the way anger management counselors suggest would be ridiculous, subtly taking that one extra second to respond can make a world of difference to what you say!

How to Deal With a Bad Interviewer How to Deal With a Bad Interviewer Reviewed by Sandipan Chakraborty on November 09, 2011 Rating: 5
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