Five Ways the Interviewer Provokes You Into Losing Your Cool

Five Ways the Interviewer Provokes You Into Losing Your Cool
By []Sreeranjini Venugopal

These are just some observations that I hope will make you smile, at the very least. Attending job interviews is no laughing matter, especially when you are jobless while you are it. But, having landed the dream job for the moment, one can afford to recall frustrating or downright weird situations and own reactions which were probably weirder.

A lot has been researched and written about "affect heuristic" and other biases that creep unbidden into the brains of even the most fair-minded interviewers. The interviewer's presumptions and prejudices are often obvious to you. While the clever interviewees can work them to their favour, the ordinary, already nerve-stricken interviewees could very well lose their cool.

Some scenarios too common in the ugly game of hiring -

Size matters

You are not interviewing for any team management position, especially not for any "Chief " positions. And yet, the question is not about your team size, or reportees or anything else relevant to you. It is just -

"So how many employees were there?"

(You answer, cringing in anticipation of the response, since this company is more than ten times its size, numberwise)

"Oh? There was a time when we had only that many." (Smiles in pity and disappointment; he will continue the interview for the form of it but heart is definitely broken)

There is not much hope now regardless of how much expertise you have.

How is the total number of employees in any organization a benchmark for the talent of a specific individual if team management is not the profile being interviewed for?

The jingoist

Praising one's company sky high is not so bad unless it is to intimidate the candidate into feeling worthless. Incessantly putting down your past employer is bad. As a typical female, I feel that the sting is in the tone, which I cannot reproduce here. Comments such as these -

"Yes, yes, we were in that phase a few years ago... "

"Oh we no longer do things here quite that way, you understand?" (smiles)

You grin and bear because after all it is a more successful company. No point arguing unless invited to.

Smart work - Hard work - whatever

"Tell me about your day-to-day activities, your deliverables"

A very fair question and you, animatedly and proudly, explain what you know to be very thorough, standards compliant processes that were followed at the previous company. You are on familiar turf.

At the end of it, he replies, "Oh, we don't bother with all that here. Nobody writes or reads documents, sheer waste of productive time (smiles). Maybe a rough workflow sketch, that's all" (shrugs modestly, oh poor fool you!)

Now I am very sure that had you airily commented that you and your team were super smart, telepathically so, and therefore got work done with minimum hassles, he would have gravely expounded the need for standards- compliance.

You just cannot win.

Here are two gems from salary negotiations, after you have wasted hours on the tests and interviews at different rungs of the organization.

The all-encompassing learning opportunity

"The learning opportunity that you will get here, you will not get anywhere else"

(Translation: "We are not ready to pay you as you deserve. So, although you have been in this domain for the last 10 years I need to convince you that YOU are going to benefit rather than we.")

So generous!

Hand-holding forever and more..

"We will start you at xxx amount since you will need some hand-holding and training. After 5-6 months we will see." (That last part of the speech is very vague and trails off)

After a decade in the industry, rather than a hike, if one accepts just 50%-60& of previous salary at every jump, then in another ten years one would be doing free service! Handholding required would be 100%!

The above are not deliberate ruses to judge the reaction and response, just putting down people for no reason except that they can simply because of their position. Ideally, you are so reduced to shambles that you accept anything they offer with tears of gratitude. The interviewer gets a pat on the back for the clever hiring tactics.

Let us see them as who they really are and realize that any organization that keeps them must surely not be worth the trouble.

Let us move on...

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Article Source: [] Five Ways the Interviewer Provokes You Into Losing Your Cool