There’s nothing like interviewing with someone who isn’t good at it to remind you that the interview is a lot like a window you can open.

As you sit across the desk from an interviewer who asks few questions or hasn’t read your resume, you may find yourself doing what you can to speak to your skills, experience and potential contributions. With a weak interviewer, you have an opportunity to open the window to a new dialogue – by asking meaningful questions that elevate the meeting above stilted basic questions and short answers.

Working a little bit harder to sell yourself can be annoying, but you’re doing what you must to make your points.

While weak interviewers are a challenge, badly behaved interviewers are something else altogether. The best you can hope for from a badly behaved interviewer is a window into his or her dysfunctional company culture or management style. For example, if the interviewer is distracted during your meeting (checking email, taking phone calls, letting colleagues interrupt), you can assume that this is behavior you will see during a working relationship. An interviewer may ask questions that are totally unrelated to the position you are applying for, which could indicate a lack of focus or even an understanding of the job itself.

If the interviewer asks illegal questions, seems angry that you’re even there and criticizes your resume without asking questions — perhaps in hopes of seeing how you defend your qualifications — it is likely that you are seeing the combative attack you would have to navigate day to day.

You can’t turn a bad interviewer into a good one by steering the conversation your way. Are you sure you would want to? Look carefully through the window opened by a bad interviewer and make sure you don’t see a bad company on the other side.

Sherri Sacks is a Career Coach for the JCS Career Center. The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment services to help job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment or change their career. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resumes, interview preparation, and connections to employers who are hiring. For more information, call 410-466-9200 or visit jcsbaltimore.org.

Top photo: Suits for your job interview (Photo by Robert Sheie, Flickr)

 

 

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