“The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones.” – Gabirol

Challenging rude behavior in an interview can be a tricky situation.  Everyone has the right to stand up for their right to be treated fairly and politely.  We’ll go over some ways to handle rude interviewer behavior.

Vanna, if you please . . .

1.  Politely wait for the interruption to finish.  Ultimately, eye-rolling and hot air puffing isn’t going to accomplish anything. 

2.  Sincerely accept the apology that the hiring manager SHOULD be offering and move on.  It’s very easy to make a joke of the situation, but make sure you are finding the humor of the situation instead of being passive-aggressive.   

3.  Keep your wits about you.  I know it’s hard to regroup, especially when you’re on a great riff about why they should hire you, but put a mental bookmark in your answer so you can pick up where you left off.  Also, do not let any anger seep through into your answers.  Is it okay to be treated this way?  No.  However, as stated in point one, getting upset isn’t going to solve the situation.    

4.  Say something.  If repeated interruptions keep happening or a hiring manager is flat-out ignoring you to finish another task, politely speak up.  Keep it professional, though.  A simple, “If there is a more convenient time to meet, we can reschedule for a later date.” will work.  Usually, this type of statement will, essentially, embarrass the interviewer into straightening up and flying right.  If they don’t, take it as a good sign they are a bad company to work for. 

5.  End the interview.  Caution:  This is only in cases of extreme interviewer behavior!  If you have been left for a significant amount of time (I would say 20-30 minutes or more) or the conversations involving the interruptions is significantly inappropriate (Think swearing or hostile talk) then it’s time to put an end to the foolishness.  Don’t just get up and leave.  Don’t give them the satisfaction of saying, “He/she just left?  How rude!”  Let them know, “This appears to be a very busy day for you.  I appreciate your time, but this position no longer seems to be a fit for me.”  If the hiring manager isn’t available to talk to then let the receptionist know. 

It’s a hiring manager’s job market out there, which can lead to the belief it’s alright to treat people this way because there will be some foolish sap who will allow it.  You don’t want to burn any bridges and, sometimes, an interview does have a full plate.  However, your time is valuable, as well, so there is no point in continuing to waste it at the hands of an inept hiring manager.

Positive Thought of the Day:

“Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude.” – Maurice Baring

“Always strive to excel, but only on weekends.” – Richard Rorty

It’s Saturday.  Get off the computer.  Stop looking at the want ads.  Go out and go fly a kite.  Do they even make actual kites anymore or are they just apps on intelligent phones??  Point is:  Take the weekend off.  Relax your mind.  Monday will show up no matter how much you do or don’t do in the next 48 hours.

Positive Thought of the Day:

“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.” – Bertrand Russell

“People count up the faults of those who keep them waiting.” – French Proverb

Interviews are essentially meetings between a hiring manager and an applicant.  If you were leading a meeting within your company, you wouldn’t consistently interrupt the itinerary to take personal calls or answer e-mails, would you? 

Just because you are in a position to hire someone does not mean you are in the position to make people wait while you are continually interrupted.  An applicant’s time is still important and engaging in this type of behavior is not only rude, it reflects poorly on your organizational style and the company culture. 

Today we will go over how to prevent interruptions if you are conducting interviews.  Next time we will cover how to handle this type of situation if you are an applicant. 

So, Vanna, if you please . . .

 1. Nip interruptions in the bud.  Turn your cell phone on silent, your office phone down to a lower volume or to Do Not Disturb, and, if space allows, conduct the interview away from your computer so you won’t be tempted to peek at your computer. 

 2.  If you are in a position where you receive a high volume of communication from your team, i.e. a lot of phone calls or continuous drop-ins from co-workers, then send out communication letting people know you will be indisposed from such-and-such time and you will be able to respond to their concerns before or after your interview(s).

3.  Sometimes some people can’t take a hint.  Quite often people assume their problem so important that it’s okay for them to pop their head in your door for your $0.02.  Politely, but firmly let them know you will contact them as soon as the interview is over.  No need to embarrass the person, but don’t let them launch into a filibuster about their issue.  A quick, “I’m in the middle of an interview right now, but I will touch base with you by ______.”  You don’t want to freak out the interviewee into thinking it’s going to be a marathon interview or that it will take 2.8 seconds to realize you’re not going to hire him/her.  However, giving a timeframe will, hopefully, avoid incessant follow-up. 

4.  If you are in the middle of a time-sensitive project or a position immediate attention really is warranted, reach out to a co-worker who would be able to make a decision on your behalf.  Make sure you pick someone whose judgment you trust and is in the position to make any necessary decisions. 

5.  Know your schedule.  If there is a long-standing meeting every Monday morning or payroll runs the last week of every month, avoid scheduling interviews during or around that time.

6.  Sometimes interruptions are unavoidable.  Kids are sick at home.  You’re short-staffed, which is why you’re hiring.  If you honestly and truly cannot avoid interruptions during an interview, give the applicant a heads up at the beginning of the interview.  You don’t need to give a blow-by-blow account of your kid’s tonsillitis or don’t use this as an opportunity to complain about how busy you are.  A simple, “I certainly don’t want to interrupt your flow of thought during the interview, but if my phone rings, I may have to take the call. I will keep it brief so we can get back on track.” 

As an interviewer, you are an ambassador of where you work.  Make sure you are putting your best foot forward.  People want to work for your company.  Don’t dissuade that desire by exhibiting rude behavior. 

Positive Thought of the Day:

“Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them.” – Bill Kelly

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.”- Sally Koch

So, I had intended on continuing the long thread of ill-behaving managers and what happens?  I have a hiring manager show me such a thoughtful generosity that I had to give credit where credit is due.  

Yesterday I had an interview for a newly created position within a local company.  The interview seemed to flow well, and I learned quite a bit about the position, the department, and company as a whole.  While I always mentally backtrack to rehash what I could have said better once the profuse sweating stopped and the nerves are gone, I felt the interview went relatively well. 

I had received a voicemail from the aforementioned company today and thought, “Could this be an offer?  Why else would they be calling?”  Turns out I didn’t get the position.  However, the hiring manager wanted to know if I would be open to having my résumé to another company who was hiring for a similar opening.  I gladly said, “Yes, thank you!”

If I may be so indulgent, I would just like to say thank you to this particular hiring manager.  You have softened this cynic’s heart for one day!  When facing multiple rejections throughout a job search it is easy to feel like you are being dismissed with nary so much a second thought.  It is reassuring to know that being told no doesn’t always mean you aren’t hirable.  Plus, in the dog-eat-dog working world we live in, it is nice to know there are still people out there who are willing to help you further your career. 

Positive Thought of the Day:

“Success is not built on what we accomplish for ourselves.  Its foundation lies on what we do for others.” – Danny Thomas