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What to do when your interviewer doesn’t bring out your best?

about 1 month ago by Wendy Donovan

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As we’ve written previously, preparation is the key to consistently performing in job interviews

You aren't expected to have the answers to every question in a job interview, but one thing is certain: vague answers at an interview effectively guarantee you won’t get the gig. Vague responses are not only easily forgotten, they carry little credibility.  

But what about the nightmare situation where your interviewer is the worst in the world? They don’t even give you the opportunity to shine because they’re ill-prepared, asking unsuitable questions - or just not asking the right ones.  

Worse still, they may sit in front of you and be doing all the talking, providing little opportunity for you to stand out.

So, what should you do in situations such as these? 

Own the interview from the get-go

Firstly, it’s important to take control of your future and be prepared with relevant questions and answers - even if the interviewer doesn't ask them. This way, if you feel the right questions haven’t been asked, you can take ownership of the interview by prompting or guiding the interviewer.  

Even bad interviewers need to breathe every now and then, and this is when you need to seize the moment by asking a question to get control. But you need to make sure you ask the right question.   

Ask the right questions

The right question will be one where the interviewer’s answer will then provide you with the perfect response to build and highlight the benefits you can bring to the table. 

Try variations on these questions: 

"So what is the biggest challenge in your company right now?" 

“So in your opinion, what are the main priorities of the role?” 

"So how would you prioritise the critical deliverables of this job?" 

"So would it be of value if I spoke to you about my experiences with my previous employer?" 

"So I recently completed a project just like that. Would it be valuable to discuss its challenges and how I approached them?" 

“So would you see value in me sharing a similar situation and how I…” 

You might have also noticed that all these questions start with a magic word – the word “so”.  

This tiny word really does work wonders, allowing you to seamlessly interject in any conversation with your interviewer - without causing offense - whilst still being assertive and creating the opportunity for yourself to shine! 

Looking for more help landing your dream role? Try our Insider’s Guide to Job Hunting, or get in touch with us today.