Here’s another installment of When Interviews Go Bad….
The Adversarial Interview
You gotta love these! I haven’t personally experienced these in a while, but there’s no reason to think they’ve disappeared. In this one, after an initial polite period, things go right to hell. Even though you may be an exact fit for the qualifications, you must be called to atone for your perceived sins. No matter what you’ve done, it was wrong. Did your last company use yellow legal pads? We use white legal pads here, and you don’t have any white legal pad experience. It says here you left this job on a Thursday and didn’t report to your next job until the next Monday – explain what you did during that gap!
I actually think there was a school of thought on these that you need to put a candidate in a stressful situation and see how they react. And that might be a valid way of screening submarine commanders and air traffic controllers. But the only stress you are going to be fighting in a company like this is going to be resisting the urge to strangle people who treat you poorly.
The fun part of these is that you’ve got nothing to lose, so you might as well have some fun. Whatever you do, do not take any crap from someone like this. Don’t let them get under your skin. If you can keep a cool head, you can ask them embarrassing questions about their career or their company. What is your turnover here? Wow, that’s high (even if he gives you a low number). No turnover at all? Wow, you must really be set in your ways, or your people are unqualified to work elsewhere in the industry.
Fling the poo right back at this monkey. You might even find that they’ll respect you more for not being meek. Not that you’d actually want to work for a company that uses this interviewing technique. But you’ll at least stand your ground.