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Bad Interviewers and How To Deal With Them - Part 1

Yvonne Roach

Posted on September 06 2016


You’re all prepared, suit on, hair combed and smile in place.

Sitting in reception, you are running through your examples, ready to share the skills and experience which will match you to this new dream job.  Nervous … yes of course … but helped by your Robert Owen undershirt giving you that added layer of confidence (what a great choice).

45 minutes later you walk out in a haze.  All that preparation and you didn’t get to demonstrate why or how you can do this job.  You know a letter saying ‘no thanks’ is on it’s way.

What happened?

Most likely you just experienced a bad interviewer.

After 25 years in Human Resources with a specialist focus in recruitment* I can tell you that many interviewers do a terrible job. We’ll discuss how to deal with this.  I’ll share a new ‘nightmare’ interview situation over the following weeks and give you tips on how to deal with them.

Let's get started.

Man in suit and tie sitting across the table as if in an interview

Post 1: The interviewer talks and talks and talks some more …

This scenario is annoyingly common. Why does it happen?

Some managers forget to listen. Climbing the corporate ladder often involves telling others what to do, and being right. Managers can approach the interview as if it’s an opportunity to impress you, and not the other way around.

This happened to me, it sucks. After speaking for 40 minutes the interviewer politely shook my hand  and then rejected me.  A big fat ‘no’. Here’s what I should have done:

  1. Listen (at first)
  2. After 10-15 minutes start to ask questions; something like “So what experience are you looking for in this role?”. 
  3. Listen (again)
  4. At an appropriate time ask “would it be useful for me to outline my skills in those areas?” 
  5. You then outline your skills.

Remember to be succinct, the interviewer is now having to listen!  Keep asking questions like “is that what you were looking for?”  or “what else would be useful to know?”.  Give brief examples of when you’ve achieved what they are looking for.

Next week - how to deal with a ‘chat’ with no questions of substance

*My credentials

25 years in Human Resources for large (global) corporate organisations including Pepsi, BP, BBC, Clarks shoes, Eurostar and Lendlease (development).  I specialised in recruitment for 5 years of my career working my way to become ‘Head of Recruitment’.  Following this ownership for recruitment always found it’s way back into my remit.   I know about it and I passionately care about people having a fair playing field.
Throughout my career I have interviewed and sat alongside hundreds, if not thousands, of interviewers. 

Further help to prepare

There’s much written about preparation -  I won’t repeat - here’s some well put together material:

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