Big Meany: How to Deal with a Rude Interviewer

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Posted by Michelle Grottenthaler on June 16, 2011
Big Meany: How to Deal with a Rude Interviewer
You may think you're perfectly prepared for your big job interview. You know the company inside out. You're equipped with well-informed questions. You've got resumes at the ready like a gunslinger in a showdown. What you couldn't prepare for is the lousy mood your interviewer is in. Maybe he spilled SpaghettiOs on his khakis or just got chewed out by his supervisor. Or maybe he's just a nasty person. You cannot allow an unpleasant interviewer to affect your performance, even if he's flat out rude. Here are some tips to maintain your composure.

Small Talk
PhD Larina Kase, author of The Confident Leader, recommends starting off with some small talk to help build rapport. Ask how the interviewer's day is going. It's possible she may just be having a bad day, says Kase, so be empathetic and don't get frustrated. Employers are more likely to hire a candidate they feel a personal connection with.

Shake it Off
Still seeing scowls? The worst thing to do is focus on what your interviewer's thinking. He could have a prickly attitude with everyone, so don't let his mood unsettle you. "You want to be the person that's got poise and can still do a great job with the interview," says Kase. And don't forget about body language: Most people respond to rudeness by slouching or crossing their arms, so sit up and stay confident.

Leave a Message
Many interviewers are more concerned with results than personality, says Kase. Before the interview, think about how you'll bring value to the organization. Rehearse your message and practice selling yourself. If you feel confident talking about yourself, you'll be fine when you don't receive positive encouragement from a cranky interviewer.

Re-evaluate
Find out whether the person conducting the interview is someone you'll work with on a daily basis. If his attitude is just plain terrible, you may want to reconsider working for him.

This article is from the spring 2010 issue of Jungle Campus.

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