What would you do if you were asked questions that you felt were inappropriate in a job interview? This article is about some ways to deal with that situation.
Who is the Interview For?
One of the real problems with job interviews is that candidates tend to walk in with a begging bowl mentality that makes them subservient to the interviewer. This can make it very easy to be taken advantage of. While I wouldn’t expect people to face extreme negative feedback like the video below I have heard some really reprehensible questions asked of candidates in interview situations.
Categories of Dumb Interview Questions
In the UK most forms of discrimination are illegal. Unfortunately, discrimination is alive and well in the country and I suspect in many other countries too.
If you are asked a question that you think may be discriminatory the first thing to do is to check out the intent behind the question. For example, you might be asked about your age as a way of determining something about your relative level of experience. In which case it should be easy for the interviewer to explain or reframe the question to get the point they were looking for.
If you are not satisfied with their explanation of why they are asking the question just refuse to answer and let your interviewer know why. At this point the interviewer will be very defensive and the likely hood of you getting the job are probably quite small. The reality is though would you want to work for an organisation that are willing to put you in that position even before you start?
Start as You Mean to Go On
The sad thing is I’ve spoken with quite a few people that have left companies and they knew right from the interview that it was not going to work for them. They ended up accepting the job because it was offered to them and they felt obliged to take it.
So the first thing to be able to react better to this sort of thing is to have the self-esteem to stand your ground and the confidence to know that there are other jobs out there. The reality is that when you frame your experience and aim it at the kind of work you want to do there are usually lots of jobs for you. My NLP CV Writing and Interview Skills System is based
My NLP CV Writing and Interview Skills System is based around creating that winning attitude first and then framing your experience so you can target jobs in a way that interviewers will be begging you to come for interview. Once you are there it is far easier to negotiate from a position of strength.
Some of the people that have been through my system tell me that after setting the interviewer straight on the issue they have walked out of the interview and addressed it by writing to the CEO of the company.
Ego Driven Questions
An interview should be a two-way process designed for you to give the company the opportunity to explore the benefits of employing you and for you to decide if the company can provide you with a rewarding and fulfilling environment to work in.
Some interviewers mistake the interview context as an opportunity to act up and try to act clever. They ask questions designed to trip you up or they just play silly games. Any difficult, awkward or plain stupid question just needs to be redirected to something more intelligent.
I like doing this by including a soft verbal bitch slap for the interviewer for being stupid. If you don’t feel like being that adversarial then you can easily soften the approach. The general approach is:
- Acknowledge the question
- Redirect it to something more sensible
- Answer the new question with your prepared material
Worked Example – Negative Question
Let’s look at how this might work in a couple of different examples. Typical dumb interview questions focus on negative or the past that don’t give you the opportunity to open up the real issue, which is how you can provide benefit to the new company or role. A typical question might be something like; “Why do you want to leave your current position?”
Using our general formula the answer might look something like:
“The issue is not about leaving my current position. The issue is about why I want to come and work for you. I want to do that because based on my research I think I can provide you with a great return of investment for example…” and then you can launch into one of your prepared examples.
Worked Example – Pure Ego Question
Here is another rubbish ego driven question that does deserve the interviewer being gently bitch slapped. The question is something like, “What is one interview question you would hate to be asked?” After you answer they obviously follow up by asking you that question. You can tone this down if you want to be easy with the interviewer but my preferred response would go something like:
“The worst question you could ask me in interview is any question that is ego driven and designed to play games rather than to explore the benefits I can provide for your organisation.
The issue is not about playing games but being able to demonstrate the things I can do in the role that you are offering.
For example I can…” and again you can launch in to one of your prepared examples.
As you can see both examples follow the general formula we discussed earlier. In my NLP CV Writing and Interview Skills System we discuss how to develop answering difficult questions so you can respond to almost everything (extreme negative feedback excluded) with a prepared example that links you directly
In my NLP CV Writing and Interview Skills System we discuss how to develop answering difficult questions so you can respond to almost everything (extreme negative feedback excluded) with a prepared example that links you directly with the role and the company values as well a leaves the interviewer with an image in their head of you being the ideal candidate for the role.
The system is full written up in the Persuasion Skills Black Book of Job Hunting Techniques.