I’m a Candidate Get me out of here!
SummaryAs we all know, interviews come in three forms: The good, the bad, and sometimes… The downright ugly! This is an article about the latter; ugly interviews, from ‘unconventional’ interviewers, who wouldn’t know the words ‘Professional, Un-biased and Independent’ even if they came up and bit them!
As we all know, interviews come in three forms: The good, the bad, and sometimes… The downright ugly! This is an article about the latter; ugly interviews, from ‘unconventional’ interviewers, who wouldn’t know the words ‘Professional, Un-biased and Independent’ even if they came up and bit them! Take this article, as a guide to how to handle unprofessional interviews in a professional manner. First things first though, how do you know that your interview is an ‘Ugly’ interview and not just a ‘Bad’ one?
How to spot an Ugly Interview…
Unprofessional interviews stem from the ‘Old Boy’ network of the 1970’s when you were hired on who you knew, and an interview was more of a formality than a real attempt to find our whether you would be suited to the company. Employers would ask you a few simple questions, and then recruit you based on their ‘Gut Feeling’ about whether you were right for the role or not. Unfortunately, unstructured interviews are still popular in some areas of the workplace.
Unstructured interviews are the sign of an unprofessional organisation, because the interviewer asks several ‘off the cuff’ questions and asks each candidate different questions depending on how they ‘feel’ about them. This can result in some candidates being given a ‘tougher’ interview than others.
You will be able to spot an unstructured interview if you attend an organisation and your interviewer is (usually) on their own, has no notepad with prepared questions to ask, doesn’t use a scoring sheet, and seems to ask you many ‘random’ questions. The interview will usually feel very informal, and the interviewer will usually use ‘gut feeling’ to decide which candidates to recruit rather than hard facts.
What is the interviewer looking for?
The interviewer in this situation will be looking for someone who thinks like them. They use a lot of subjective, un-measurable feelings, and will often have a set image of whom they want to recruit and disregard anyone who doesn’t fit this image.
The Interviewer will use terms such as ‘like’ and dislike’ when considering candidates. If they are presented with a ‘weaker’ person who they favour, they will give them an easier interview which helps confirm they have made the right decision. If someone is technically strong and suitable for the role, yet does not fit with their ‘image’, they will (consciously or subconsciously) give them a harder interview, asking tricky, awkward questions, or questions which the candidate cannot be reasonably expected to answer.
It is hard to say what interviewers are looking for in this situation, but it is very likely that they will let you know very quickly whether they are interested in recruiting you, so be ready to pick up the signals!
Do you have any tips for helping me with this type of interview?
If you find yourself in this situation – don’t panic! You have as much chance as the next person. In order to succeed at these types of interviews, follow the interviewers lead, and try and ‘fit in’ with them as much as you can. For example:
· Appear relaxed and do not get flustered when asked a ‘random’ question. They will be looking for someone who is spontaneous like them.
· Don’t waffle, get straight to the point of each answer
· Be patient and professional at all times even if you are getting frustrated at their ‘silly’ questions
· Ask them what ‘type’ of person they are looking for early in the interview and then tailor your answers accordingly.
· Have a sense of humour!
Word of Caution:
Some employers will adopt a ‘casual’ approach to assess your professionalism. They may encourage you to let your guard down and act in an unprofessional manner. They may also make several unprofessional comments about either the company itself or the world at large to see if you agree with them.
BE CAREFUL. Never let your guard down. If faced with a situation like this smile politely and professionally side step the subject if need be. This can be a genuinely unpleasant interviewer, but it can also be a very shrewd and professional interviewer who asks these questions to weed out applicants with controversial views. Don’t be lead down the garden path!
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