Your next job interview may be mismanaged by the employer. The problem is, it will reflect poorly on YOU!
Bad interviewers typically talk too much. They tell you endless details about the job and the company. They may give you all the reasons why the last person did not work out in the job and the top goals a potential employee must reach in a certain time period to be considered successful.
You end up nodding your head, smiling, complimenting the interviewer on such impressive goals and promising you can meet each one.
Neither side benefits from this monologue. It may discourage you from joining the company. You learned only what they wanted you to hear and they know nothing useful about you. As the candidate, you should talk most of the time during the interview—not the interviewer. You have been asked to an interview for one reason—to discover whether you will be successful in this role and this organization.
Be prepared to assert yourself if your interviewer talks too much. Have a short list of points you need to make that show off your unique abilities and experiences. This is your chance to stand out. Why do you want this job? What makes you want to work for this company? What do you plan to do with your career and how does this role fit those goals? If you are not prepared, a more assertive candidate may end up winning the job you want.
Avoid rudeness or talking too much about yourself, of course. Make your points and stop. Invite questions and real dialogue.
Let your positive attitude and genuine enthusiasm for the job shine through. The truth is that many interviewers decide in the first five minutes whether they will move that candidate forward to the next stage in the hiring process.
If an interviewer asks you improper or discriminatory questions, just assume they do not know any better and help them get past their mistake by answering a different question. Politicians do it all the time! You have nothing to win by making a legal point with a poor interviewer.
Sometimes an interviewer will ask you a strange, off-the-wall question, such as, “If you could choose to be any animal, which would you be and why?” What the interviewer is really looking for is an insight into your personality. Be yourself, think out loud, and try to relate the question back to performance on the job.
Many businesses do not have expert interviewers and simply do the best they can. Assert yourself calmly and professionally to turn a poor interview to your advantage. The interviewer may thank you later after he or she hires you and sees the great work you can do.
Bruce Clarke, J.D., is CEO of CAI, helping more than 1,000 NC employers maximize employee engagement and minimize employer liability. For more information, visit www.capital.org.