Rude Interviewer? 5 Ways to Keep it Smooth

  Dated: Dec 11,2013

One of the important and unwritten rules of an interview is that you are polite and courteous to the interviewing panel. However, there will be times when one or more people on the interviewing panel act in an offensive and rude manner. If you encounter any of these types, here is how you could tactfully fend them off without compromising the interview:

  1. Stay Objective – Ignore as much as possible a witty retort that will “put him in his place”. If you make such a comment, you will win the battle but lose the war. Ignore the offensive attitude or tone and focus on the object of the question. Keep in mind that the interviewer is not the person you will work with; he is just the person who decides who fills the job vacancy.

  2. Rephrase the Question – Sometimes, the interviewer might not really be aware that what he said sounded offensive or awkward. Rephrase it saying, “I understand that you wanted to know about…Is that right?” Sometimes, just hearing it played back can make a great difference in perspective both to you and the interviewer.

  3. Pay Attention to the Facts - Ignore the rudeness and focus on the facts. He might be asking you whether you have kids because the job entails long over time hours or continuous travel, etc. Try finding out tactfully why they are asking things that sound rude and sometimes even illegal. Ask them to describe the responsibilities that come with the job so you could allay their doubts about your ability to cope.

  4. Reply With Humor – Use this weapon/ tool ONLY if you are really good at it. If you aren’t and your “joke” falls short, it will backfire badly as you would be seen as a frivolous person. Use humor when you know you are good; also always use it on you. Never crack any type of joke – however mild – on the interviewer. It shows disrespect and it will definitely put him off.

  5. State Your Point Firmly Yet Politely – Sometimes, the interviewer will ask a question or two that is meant to inflame you – just to test your ability to deal with stress and conflict. Of course, sometimes they are just plain rude. Either way you will come out better if you state your point firmly with reasons to back it.

  6. Know that You Leave with Your Self-respect Intact – If you find it demeaning, choose to leave the interview after stating as politely as you can that you are no longer interested in completing the interview. Do not “give him a piece of your mind,” as you never know on what panel you might see him again. You could just say that you are disappointed that you cannot complete the interview because you are uncomfortable.
See the following articles for more information: