Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dianne Gubin with Advice on Dealing with Hostile Interviewers

Tip of the Week
by Dianne Gubin

Advice on Dealing with Hostile Interviewers

Have you ever been on a job interview and felt the situation spin out of your control, maybe to the point where you even felt the interview turned hostile?

Hiring managers are more cautious now about hiring and ensuring a match for the team. In addition, they want to know that your skills, background, and interests will make THEIR projects successful.

With this mindset, hiring managers interview looking for reasons to disqualify candidates.

Hiring managers may not know what questions to ask you, as interviewing may be a skill that is used infrequently. Or large corporations, nervous regarding discrimination issues, may ask every candidate the same question and rank the answers for comparison between candidates.

Typical interview questions regarding your background, particularly transitions regarding reasons for leaving companies, are salary history, past projects, manageability, and more. It’s your responsibility to make sure that your interview highlights your strengths.

It’s easy to get frustrated during an interview. You are doing your best and the hiring manager is looking for reasons to disqualify you.

It’s your responsibility to make sure that your background is conveyed as succinctly as possible to everyone involved in the interview process. Look at an interview as a sales call. When the interviewer asks a question that makes you feel uncomfortable, answer the question to the best of your ability and then add information that brings the conversation back to your skills and background fitting the position.
For example, you quit a job where you didn’t get along with your boss. Instead of describing the situation at length, gloss over your history in one sentence or less. You can say, “I left because there really was no room for growth and this is very important to me at this time.”

When new people are brought into the room during your interview, don’t assume that they are familiar with your background or have even seen your résumé. Bring new arrivals into the conversation. You can say, “I know I said this before… I’m currently working at XYZ Company as a project manager working on enterprise wide systems. I’m PMP certified. My project is ending soon and I’m looking for a new opportunity in the healthcare industry.”

Take charge of the interview. Answer questions, ask questions, and, if appropriate, bring samples of your work.

An interview may seem hostile as not everyone knows how to be a gracious host to a guest in an office. Or the interview may follow a tangent for which you’re not prepared. Studying lists of common interview questions and have prepared answers are helpful.

Just know that even if you don’t get the job because the interview turned to what you perceive as hostile, this probably isn’t an environment in which you want to work.

Just chalk up the interview to one more sales call that brings you one step closer to your next position.

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