How to Turn Around a Bad Interview

Posted by Pat Tovo

Bad InterviewWe’ve all been there. You’re pouring over new cleared job postings when you come across a position that seems just perfect. Good company. Good location. Terrific job description. Your heart starts to beat a bit faster as you crank out a cover letter, tailor your resume to the position and submit your application.

Good news! You get called for an interview. Then everything seems to go downhill from there. You don’t want to admit it, but you can tell in your gut that something is off about the job, the company, or the interviewer. Here are a few things that should raise concern.

Jobs Specifics Are M.I.A.

Experienced hiring managers will typically have an updated job description available for a cleared job seeker. They should be able to tell you during the interview what the past employee’s duties were and if there have been any changes to the role. At the same time they should be able to communicate what strengths they are seeking to effectively manage these responsibilities. Not getting specifics should be a red flag.

Hiring Manager Can’t Make the Sale

An interview is the time for the candidate to “sell” the reasons they are perfect for the job. It’s also the time for the recruiter or hiring manager to pitch why you would want to work for them. They should be able to talk to you about culture, company growth plans, employee advancement, etc. If you feel company pride or enthusiasm is lacking, this may not be an ideal supervisor.

Interview Questions Are Inappropriate

It’s the 21st century and anyone charged with the responsibility of interviewing prospective employees should be versed on what are appropriate and inappropriate questions. It’s not legal for a business to make hiring decisions based on human rights factors which include race, sexual orientation, religion or disabilities. Questions geared to these subjects show bias and you need to decide if you would be comfortable working for a person whose inquiries indicate potential discrimination.

Colleague Incompatibility

Culture is a vital component for making a good match. Ideally you can work for a company that values their employees and provides an environment of team work. The trickle-down effect should result in happy, productive, supportive colleagues. During the course of the interview process ask to speak with co-workers. You want to see if you get a sense that everyone plays well together. Is there an atmosphere of cohesion and enthusiasm for the work?  Do you feel that you can learn from potential colleagues and they would respect your contribution to the team? If you don’t feel encouraged by what you’ve seen, re-evaluate.

The Hiring Manager Is Less Than Forthcoming

Take advantage of the interview time to ask a variety of well thought-out questions. Research the organization and make a list of what is important for you to know about the job, the department and the company. If the interviewer is making an end run around giving insightful answers, dig deeper. It’s appropriate to be briefed on work environment, goals for the position, growth plans for the company, advancement opportunities, continuing education, etc. If you feel like you’re getting a run-around it’s time for a gut check.

If one or more of these concerns surfaces during the interview, you will need to decide how to proceed with the process.

What You Should Do

Finish the interview – even if you feel this job might be a lost cause, stay the course. You never know if the situation might turn around at any moment and new components you discuss could make the opportunity more appealing. And remember, practice makes perfect. Use this opportunity to polish your interviewing skills.

Future opportunities — this may not be the right job for you but something else may come up within the company. Leaving a good impression with the interviewer could lead to a recommendation for a different position. If it’s the company you don’t like, keep in mind the hiring manager will probably move on at some time and take your credentials with him to the next organization.

Make connections – gather up the business cards of everyone you meet during the interview process. Stay in touch with these folks and keep them posted on your job search. Cleared jobs will pop up at other organizations and smart connections could lead to other opportunities being sent your way.

Close out the process professionally – whether you decide to pass on the job or pursue it, communicate your decision clearly to the hiring manager. Always, always, always take every opportunity to present yourself in a professional manner.

Review the experience — soon after the interview take into account how you handled the process. Make mental notes of where you could have answered questions more effectively, how you could have been better prepared, or what you wished you had asked. While this experience might not have resulted in the best outcome, it will make you better prepared for when the perfect cleared job does come along.

Pat Tovo guides job seekers in conducting successful employment searches through targeted prospecting, effective resume writing, and polished interviewing skills. She enjoys facilitating workshops and working one-on-one in career counseling. 


This entry was posted on Thursday, January 26, 2017 7:23 am

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