Handling a Bad Interviewer

You feel that your job search may be coming to a conclusion. You have worked hard on preparing your job application and have been rewarded with an interview.

Ready to meet the challenge ahead, you attend the interview only to find, to your horror, that you are faced with a bad interviewer!

Does this mean all your preparation will have been in vain?

In many instances, your degree of preparation and a determination to provide full answers, no matter what the standards offered by the interviewer, will see you through.

However, there are times when you will need to engage some focused people skills in order to avoid a disastrous interview experience or, at the very least, an interview that will not help you to secure a job.

The Intimidating Interviewer

Hopefully, you will not be faced with an intimidating interviewer very often. Usually, this is a deliberate ploy to see how candidates will act under pressure, when being interviewed for a high stress job.

The interviewer believes that this approach will reveal the ‘real’ person behind the polished, rehearsed candidate in front of them.

Knowing that this is a ploy may not help you to deal with it, unless you have prepared yourself beforehand, in which case you can handle it with grace and confidence.

How to handle it

Do not get flustered. Have your answers thoroughly prepared beforehand and do not deviate.

Take deep breaths, repeat questions to gain extra time, then answer politely.

Remain open, honest and direct. Remember not to take this personally, as it’s not meant that way.

The Talkative Interviewer

Some interviewers lack focus and will talk to much. They provide too much description when you have already understood the question in the first five seconds. They are using up valuable interview time by talking when they should be listening as well.

This is a sign of their own insecurity – they are feeling nervous due to inexperience – and sometimes it is simply their personality.

It is frustrating for you having spent many hours preparing your material and they are learning nothing about you while they are talking. In the worst case scenario, the interview is dragging on, getting longer and longer.

How to handle it

Do not show any impatience or interrupt. Instead, show every sign of listening carefully, even if you are bored rigid.

Lean forward and look ready to speak, so that you can interject when there is a pause.

You must immediately focus on your prepared answers as to how you will help the employer.

Always bring the conversation back to your skills and qualifications.

The Quiet Interviewer

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the interviewer who fails to say enough. You answer their questions as fully as possible, but get very little feedback.

It is hard to find a connection with them, as they are so unforthcoming. When you ask questions about the job, you glean very little information from their answers.

How to handle it

You cannot force this person to become more talkative. Ask as many questions as you can and try not to become visibly frustrated.

Your only option is to do your own research and ask other people about the company.

During the interview, you might ask if you can be given a tour of the company. It is their job to inform you as much as you inform them during the interview.

If you cannot find out the details you need, you are not in a position to make a decision about accepting the job.

Next Time …

We’ll look at the stumbling interviewer, the shallow interviewer and the rude interviewer, plus give you some tips on how to handle these types of interviewer.

Please let us know your experiences of handling bad interviewers by leaving your comments below.

If you need help with interviews please see our interview services.

Kindest regards,

Paul Bradley.

Managing Director.
Bradley CVs Ltd.

7 responses to “Handling a Bad Interviewer”

  1. I once stumbled upon a ‘tired’ interviewer in a networking session I was really looking forward to. Apparently this person was utterly jet-lagged and had earlier agreed to meet me to review my professional calibre and see if he could refer me to some openings.

    The meeting was a disaster: the guy was not only rude (refused to sit down or open a conversation), he left me feeling as if I was forcing entry into his company!

    I did not quite know how to handle it.

  2. I’ve told the ‘Aggressive Interviewer’ that I wasn’t the right person for the job – I work well under pressure at work, but an interview isn’t the same situation. I have no interest in working for someone who thinks this is a good test of my skills; it’s not. I work better with a team who supports me, not an antagonist who is out to ‘test’ me.

  3. Intimidating interview!

    I agree 100% with Karen. Wow! I just got back from a horrible interview, the women conducting the interview was a complete battle axe. I was totally distracted and caught off guard by her demonic facial expressions and eye twitching! I couldn’t remember her questions and so on, I just wanted to crawl under the table 🙁

    Talk about a waste of time and disappointment.