Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tips on Handling a Poor Interviewer

There are many books, classes and educational materials available to the interviewee to learn proper interviewing methods. However, the person conducting the interview may not be as educated on the interview process as you, the interviewee. Keep in mind, not everyone who conducts those interviews has been educated in how to conduct an interview effectively.

A bad interviewer may be unprepared, uninterested, or unfocused. They may dominate the interview by talking too much or they may ask illegal or inappropriate questions. No matter how well-trained your interviewer may be, to make it further in the process, you must get past them first. Follow these tips to make the most of what can possibly be a bad situation.

  • If you meet an unprepared interviewer, one who has not read your resume or does not have any questions prepared, be ready to gently take charge of the interview. Offer them a copy of your resume and request permission to take them through the highlights of your career.
  • For the interviewer that dominates the conversation and talks more than they ask questions or listen, show them that you are an attentive listener. Take the opportunity to ask questions or make points about how your experience fits right into the company situation they have been describing whenever you get the opportunity to speak.
  • Some interviewers don't know how to get an interview started and waste time talking about the weather or sports. If you feel like the interview is winding down and you have not yet been able to make your key selling points, once again you may need to subtly take charge of the interview. Say something like, "I see we are running out of time. There are a few points I'd like to share about why I think I am a great fit for this position. Would you mind if I shared those with you now?"
  • If you encounter the busy or distracted interviewer, checking emails, glancing at the clock, or taking phone calls, you may want to ask if they would prefer to reschedule the interview to a time that works better for their workload. This will politely point out their bad behavior as well as show that you respect their busy schedule.
  • When an interviewer asks illegal or inappropriate questions, you must make a decision about whether or not you choose to answer the question. I once heard an ongoing interview where the interviewer's questions all resolved around the candidate's religious beliefs - very illegal. The interviewer, and their questions, can give you a glimpse into the company's culture and work environment. Be confident in your ability to turn down the job opportunity if you discover it may not be the best place for you in the long run.

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