6 Ways to deal with a tough interviewer

December 07 2014, 0 Comments

How to deal with a tough interviewer

So you’ve received great feedback from your CV, passed the telephone screening with flying colours and been rightfully selected for a face-to-face interview.

You’re fully prepared and on time but there’s one thing that could stand to ruin everything...

A stone-faced, difficult and seemingly obnoxious interviewer who seems hell bent on forcing you to make mistakes.

Personally I don’t see any benefit from this interview technique as it simply discourages applicants from joining the firm and creates an unnatural atmosphere.

Whilst I do think there should be an element of pressure in every job interview; I feel this should come from challenging interview questions rather than a negative or overbearing attitude from the interviewer.

So here are 6 tips on dealing with the tough interviewer.


Don’t Bite

As tempting as it may be; do not rise to any of their underhanded comments or sly digs during the interview.

Stay cool and combat them with friendly and constructive answers.

If they say something like, “oh you didn’t bother to get a degree… most of our employees have them”.

Simply reply “well unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to attend university but I’ve gained 3 years valuable industry experience which I feel has given me the ability to perform my job extremely well”.

Keep it professional and turn every negative into a positive.


Know Your Value

You’ve been selected for interview because the company believe you have the relevant skills and knowledge to perform the job; it’s that simple.

A bad interviewer doesn’t change that.

So don’t get flustered or rush your answers when they try to rock you.

Continue to provide audible, fluent, articulate answers and show them you that you know your stuff, regardless of the conditions.


Be Charming

It’s difficult to stay angry at somebody who is being consistently friendly and complimentary to you, so use this to your advantage with a tough interviewer.

Open doors, compliment their business or department and thank them for their time.

You may well find them bringing their guard down.


Show an Interest in Them

The Tough interview technique is often an ego thing; the person in question wants to show you how important they are and how difficult their job is etc.

Ask them questions about your role that will allow them to boast about themselves a bit, e.g. If they are the manager of the team you are applying to get into; ask them, “How many people in your team?”, “How much money does the team bill”.

These questions will not only give you an insight into the role, but also give the tough interviewer a chance to speak about their favourite subject… themselves.

This will help you to connect with them more on a personal level and also leave them feeling positive when they leave your interview.


Be Sure to Send a Follow Up Email

If your interview was really tough, then it’s likely other candidates may have been put off from pursuing the role all together.

Sometimes the tough interviewer is trying to see how you deal under pressure, so a polite follow up email shows that you weren’t scared off by the interview and you’re still keen to land the role, when many others aren’t.


Make Your Own Decisions

I always say that an interview is as much of an opportunity for the interviewer to assess your suitability for the role; as it is an opportunity for you to assess the company’s suitability for your career.

Maybe the tough interviewer is just putting on a bit of an act to see how you cope under pressure; or maybe they actually have an overbearing personality and will be difficult to work with in the long run.

You need to make your own decision based on personal judgement and any research you may be able to do around the individual or company.

Do you have any tips or questions on dealing with tough interviewers? Comment below


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