Although all of these statements below will hopefully not be true, depending on the employer and the interviewer, go into the interview expecting that they will apply. Don’t be discouraged by that! Expect these situations to arise and, knowing they might happen, you can be prepared.
Bad Assumptions About Job InterviewsAs important as a job interview opportunity is for you, often for the person on the other side of the table interviewing job candidates are interruptions in their day, keeping them from getting their “real” jobs done.
1. The interviewer knows how to interview.Unfortunately, most often, the people doing the interviewing are not professional interviewers. Interviewing usually comes under the heading of “additional duties as required” – something done only when unavoidable.
How to diagnose: If they spend more time talking about themselves, their job, or the company rather than asking you questions relevant to the job, they don’t know how to conduct an interview.
How to respond: If you let them jabber on uninterrupted, it will be a low stress interview for you, but it probably won’t be a successful one. Without talking with you, they won’t have a sense of your qualifications and your ability to do the job (although they may think you are very agreeable).
You may need to try to take over the conversation or at least break into the monologue. Ask some of the questions you had prepared in advance (right?). When they talk about some aspect of the job, gently interrupt to point out situations where you have encountered the same thing and successfully accomplished your goal – “I know just what you mean! We had a similar situation in my last job, and this is what we did…”
Or, launch a few short (!) monologues of your own on topics like why you want to work there and why you are qualified for the job. Be sure to mention your major accomplishments and other achievements in your work that are directly relevant to the new job.
2. The interviewer is focused on you and the interview they are conducting.Since this is an “additional duty” for most interviewers, their minds may well be on their real jobs – a crisis, a deadline, whatever work activities they normally do. So, job candidates are sometimes an unwelcome distraction as well as a difficult thing to do well, particularly if # 1 above also applies.
How to diagnose: If they seem agitated, checking their watch frequently, distracted, not focused on what you are saying or the questions they are asking.
How to respond: This is a tough one. Try to be laser-focused and provide clear, succinct answers to their questions, maintaining eye contact as much as possible.
Assumption #3, more advice, and the complete article