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When Your Interviewer is Rude… or Worse!

When you go into an interview, you expect to be treated a certain way. After all, you are a professional, meeting with another professional, both hoping that the end result is successful for both sides.

But you might come up against an interviewer who is hostile, rude, unenthusiastic or inappropriate. What can you do in those situations?

  • The unenthusiastic interviewer. This person couldn’t make it any more obvious that she’s not really interested in you. She does most of the talking, asks canned interview questions, then barely listens to the answers. It’s clear she’s just doing this because she has to.

What can you do? Try to get the conversation back on track by raising the topic of your qualifications. When you get a chance to say something, maybe say, “May I take a minute to lead you through my professional background? I think it ties in very well with what you’ve said about the job.”

  • The hostile interviewer. We covered this topic in depth in our blog post Hostile Interview? How to Handle Them.
  • The rude (due to distraction) interviewer. This interviewer is the type who checks email, answers texts, allows others to interrupt and even leaves the room a couple of times during the interview.

What can you do? Try to stay on track. Be as pleasant as possible while steering the conversation back to the last topic you were discussing. But if the interruptions persist, you can nicely ask, “Is this still a good time for us to meet? I’d be glad to reschedule if it’s more convenient.”

  • The just plain rude interviewer. Sometimes, an interviewer’s manner is offensive. He may be gruff, use inappropriate language, refer to his colleagues and coworkers using abusive terms or make snide comments about your replies.

What can you do? The most important thing to remember is not to respond in kind. Answer politely and to the point, and don’t rise to the bait. Try ignoring the interviewer’s rudeness and focus on the relevant points. If he demands that you respond to something rude, politely say that you won’t, and if he presses you, tell him that the topic is irrelevant and that you won’t discuss it.

  • The inappropriate interviewer. This interviewer asks if you’re married or have kids, whether you plan to get pregnant in the near future, what church you go to, and other questions that are against the law.

What can you do? The interviewer may only be trying to make small talk, to establish a rapport and make you more comfortable. If you feel she’s just probing for reasons to disqualify you, this is isn’t the time to educate her on employment law. Try to politely answer something like, “My personal life won’t affect my professional life, so I don’t feel we need to discuss it here,” or “Yes, I have children, but they won’t interfere with my ability to get the job done.”

If any of these people would be your boss, you’ll want to seriously consider whether you’d want to work for them.

If you think it would be great to interview only with prescreened, professional companies for fulfilling top jobs, call or contact Synerfac. We deal with the bad interviewers—so you don’t have to!