Job interviews can be a stressful experience on steroids. Yet there are interviewers out there that do not have a clue on how to conduct a successful interview. They don’t know how to ask a question to elicit an answer from the applicant that will increase their assurance that the applicant can do the job.
In addition there are interviewers that have only a vague idea about the skills necessary to do an effective level of performance in the open position. This means, if you are placed in a job interview where it is apparent the interviewer is less than adequate and you know the interviewing procedures better than they do what do you do?
You have to work and control the job interview without letting on that you know more about the process than the interviewer does. And while walking this tight rope you will have to make your case that you are the best qualified candidate for the job.
A bad interviewer will do their best to confuse you. They will not listen carefully to your answers. They will do little follow-up questioning; they will make mistakes on outlining the skills necessary to do the job. Their note taking will be hit or miss and they will filibuster talking about everything but your qualifications and how they might fit the job requirements. Overall, this type of job interview is a recipe for disaster with someone else with fewer qualifications getting the job that you should be a shoo-in to get.
How to effectively deal with both good and bad interviewers is the challenge you have deal with.
With a good interviewer, the answer is simple, be prepared. Know how to answer any and all questions that they may throw at you. Be positive, smile, have a wealth of company research, ask the right questions and have a prepared focused wrap-up of the job interview. You get prepared through mock interviews that you taped and had critiqued by several friends.
In dealing with a poor interviewer you just have to be better. You must know and have strategies to discuss your skills and background as they relate to the position. Value and benefits are what you are selling and you have to present them so there is no doubt in the interviewer’s mind that you are the most qualified candidate for the job.
An interviewer that lacks basic interviewing skills will require you to be a more skillful. You need to lead the conversation without the interviewer understanding you are controlling the interview. Doing this effectively requires some practice.
Never forget why you are participating in the job interview. Your goal is to get a job offer.
Being well prepared will allow you to overcome the actions or lack of action on the part of the poor interviewer. Here are some methods you can use to counteract the poor interview.
Be an active listener. Try not to prejudge the interviewer. Make a proper decision, very early in the interview that you will get little time to answer or ask questions.
When the interviewer makes a slight pause it’s your opportunity. If the last statement by the interviewer was about project management you jump in with a short to the point story about a relevant accomplishment you had managing a project. You might ask at the end of your answer, “Is this the type of skill you’re looking for in the job?”
If the interviewer keeps filibustering, pay attention and at the first opportunity interject another relevant accomplishment. In addition, where appropriate you might ask one or more questions that you had prepared. Questions like: “What is the number one challenge that must be addressed in the position?” or “How does the job fit with other jobs in the department?” or “Who had the job before and how long did they hold the job?” and “What happened to them?”
Even bad interviewers may give you an opportunity to ask some questions at the end of the interview. Be sure to have several general questions about recent company developments, future company goals and strategies as they relate to the job.
Finally, at the end of the interview you’ll be given a chance to sum up your qualifications. Focus on how close your qualifications match the company’s needs and the value and benefits you bring to the position.
In closing indicate you are excited about the opportunity and ask for a timetable on the company making a decision, and who you should follow-up with.
Even though you had to do most of the work in the job interview don’t forget to send a prompt thank-you letter emphasizing your close match for the job’s requirements and finally; ask for the job.