Be courteous. this is a fundamental rule of interviewing. But what do you do when the interviewers behaviour is offensive? You want to ace the interview and leave with your self respect intact. Here are some strategies for responding tactfully to a discourteous interviewer.
Sometimes we read more into a remark than the interviewer intended because of the stress involved in an interview. Before you react ask yourself: Was that really disrespectful? Some issues are clear-cut, such as age, religion, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. Others, unfortunately, are not. If the interviewers behaviour is evidently disrespectful, then respond with the strategies outlined below. If youre unsure then put it aside and continue with your interview.
You worked hard for this interview. Your priority is to keep the interview focused on what you have to offer the company. Take a deep breath and briefly consider some reasons to make the best of this challenging situation.
You can decide about the company after you finish the interview.
The interviewer doesnt represent the entire company.
The job might not involve working with the interviewer.
This behaviour could be part of a stress interview in which they test your response to high-pressure situations.
Back on track
Sure, its a challenge to stay polite when youre dealing with less-than-polite behaviour. Yet, theres a lot you can do to get your interview back on track.
Be open-minded. The interviewer might recognise the problem with his / her behaviour and try to fix it.
Ignore the disrespectful comment and talk about your skills.
Ask the interviewer a question that would shift the focus to an area of interest to him.
Keep your sense of humour and make a light remark.
Ask for feedback or clarification if the interviewer repeatedly contradicts or interrupts you.
Use I statements and be polite when you give the interviewer your opinion.
Exit on time
Sometimes a graceful exit is the necessary last resort when youve done everything you can to save the interview. Thank the interviewer for her time. Then, politely excuse yourself from the interview without commenting on her behaviour. If you must say something, be courteous.
Learn the ropes
Before you put this encounter behind you, identify what youve learned about this potential co-worker. Then use this experience to improve how you respond to difficult people.
The final step is to practise dealing with negative interview situations with someone wholl give you honest feedback. In this way, youll be ready to act with composure if you ever encounter another disrespectful interviewer.