Q: I did a job interview last week. Two of the interview panel were fine, but one of them was downright rude. If he wasn’t looking out the window, he was tapping his biro on the desk. I’m pretty sure I caught him suppressing a yawn at some stage. I nearly asked him if he didn’t mind concentrating, but I resisted the temptation. I got the Dear John letter two days later. I regret now not giving him a piece of my mind. (Mary, email).
A: I can well understand your frustration. An organisation invites people to come in and ‘make a pitch’ for a job – and then allows one of its interviewers to behave as rudely as you say.
Was it a ruse to see how you would react? Were they hoping for a reaction, and did you lose the job on the basis you stayed mum? Somehow I doubt it: by and large, companies don’t indulge in interview tactics of that nature.
And, anyway, even if it was a ruse, do you really want to work for a company that would go about their business in that way?
Overall, though, I think it better that you didn’t react. Ultimately, you should have approached that interview with a ‘game plan’ in mind: things you wanted to tell them. These may have included previous roles you held and how they prepared you or rendered you suitable for this next role, or subjects you covered in college that would be particularly appropriate in light of the published job spec.
You should be very careful not to deviate from your ‘game plan’ unless absolutely necessary.
Of course, the reality is that most people go to interviews with little or no ‘game plan.’ They have some vague idea of what they’d like to tell the interviewers, but, all too often, they have not thought it through sufficiently and allow themselves to be led here, there and everywhere by the interviewer’s questions.
This is all very well if the interviewer’s questions are good, and prompt good answers in you. But what if the interviewer is only ‘winging it’? It is a myth that every interview panel is totally prepared. In many cases, particularly in smaller companies, they are assembled at short notice and without any in-depth preparation in what questions they should ask to winkle out the information they seek.
So, while you might have satisfied an understandable urge to have a go at the rude interviewer, I think you took the better course of action. You might have done a very good interview: just because you didn’t get the job doesn’t mean you were a disaster in the interview. There may simply have been a better candidate in the race, or, of course, maybe the yawning interviewer had a nephew lined up and the whole thing was just a show trial.
To learn from the experience, you should take out a piece of paper, and write out the seven or eight pieces of information you wanted to tell them (experience, attributes, and the like.) Then give yourself a mark based on how well you transmitted that information. If you score too many 4’s and 5’s, you know you have a bit of work to do before the next interview.
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