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Dealing With A Hostile Interviewer
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Dealing With A Hostile Interviewer

Interviews can be nerve-racking occasions, but even more so if you find yourself with a hostile interviewer. One of the problems is you don’t know if the hostility is part of a test to see how you react in a stressful situation or it’s because the interviewer is naturally abrasive and rude, or because they haven’t been taught to interview properly or they’re just having a bad day. Although you shouldn’t go into an interview expecting to have an unpleasant time, it’s sensible to be aware that it does sometimes happen and be prepared to deal with it. Here are 5 tips for dealing with a hostile interviewer

Tip 1: Stay calm

Even if the tone of the interviewer or the questions asked seem unnecessarily hostile make sure that you stay calm and answer politely. Be careful not to give away your feelings by your body language or the tone of your voice. If you do the interviewer could continue to deliberately bait you. Never respond to hostility with hostility.

Tip 2: Don’t take it personally

Although it be a challenge, don’t take any perceived criticisms in the questions or manner of the interviewer. Maintain eye contact and smile. If you’re struggling to tolerate their manner one of my favourite things has always been to imagine someone in a pink bunny suit munching on a carrot. It takes the sting out of what they’re saying!

Tip 3: Listen carefully

It goes without saying you should always listen to what the interviewer is saying, but if you’re feeling annoyed or ‘got at’ this makes it harder. Focus on the questions and giving the best answers you can. If they’re looking doubtful or unbelieving when you ask them a question, ask them immediately if they would like you to clarify part of your answer. This gives you the chance to rephrase something if necessary.

Tip 4: Ask follow-up questions

Interviews should be a two way business conversation not just an interrogation – so if you feel that you’re having questions fired at you – give an answer and then ask a follow-up question. Diverting the interviewers attention can sometimes lessen their hostility.

Tip 5: Exude confidence

However hostile the interview environment it’s important that you exude confidence. After all if the interviewer is being deliberately hostile to test how you work under pressure you don’t want to react badly. Demonstrate your confidence and belief that you are the ideal candidate.

Summary It’s not pleasant to have a job interview that feels hostile but remember to remain calm, keep your feelings to yourself and remain confident about your own ability to do the job. At the end of the interview don’t forget to shake the interviewer or panel and thank them for their time.


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