What to Do When You and an Interviewer Just Don’t Click
After weeks or months of job searching, there’s no better relief than that of being called for an interview.
Now you’re headed for the interview. You’ve done your research and probably done some mock interviews as part of your preparation.
What if, during the interview, you realize that all your charm isn’t working on the interviewer? What do you do?
This happens a lot. It’s however not talked about a lot because of the difficulty in giving sincere feedback.
Let’s face it. How easy is it for you to tell a friend something about him which you know might hurt their self-esteem?
Here are some example situations:
- When they have a strong body odor
- When their feet are smelly
- When they have bad breath
In any of these situations, will you just directly and plainly tell them about it?
It’s a tricky situation.
Still, you know that you need to tell them because you care about them. You would rather tell them and help them out of that situation than have them get embarrassed elsewhere. Right?
For the interviewer, it’s equally embarrassing for them to tell you some of the reasons you didn’t get the job. It’s even more difficult telling you during a face-to-face meeting.
For them however, many of the candidates who sit before them are strangers. And as much as they may want to be of help to them, they don’t have any real burden other than that of hiring the best candidate.
As a job candidate, you really need to know where you went wrong so as to make the necessary changes.
At Cleverism, we understand your situation. This article is all about giving you tips on how to deal with this situation.
REASONS YOU MAY NOT CLICK WITH AN INTERVIEWER
Love at first sight is real. But just to be clear, it’s usually not love. It’s more of like, at first sight.
Although you’re not falling in love with your interviewer, chemistry can form almost instantly. When this happens, your chances of receiving an offer increase.
It’s easy to recognize such a situation.
The interviewer seems to be loving your answers, she doesn’t ask you very difficult questions, the difficult questions seem to come with tips on how to answer them etc.
Throughout the interview, you’ll feel that it’s a great interview and will leave the room sure that you performed well.
But the opposite can also happen.
The interviewer may be showing no emotion at all. Maybe she looks at you in the eye and the room suddenly feels cold. You seem to forget the answers you know very well and start faltering in your speech.
You can still salvage the situation. But before we look at how to handle the situation like a pro, here are some reasons you may not connect with your interviewer.
Ultimately, these are the things you need to watch out for.
1. Your Online Presence Betrayed You
It’s common knowledge that interviewers will look you up on social media to find out more about you. The same way you research the company, the company will also research you.
Every organization seeks to hire only the best for obvious reasons.
The best may not necessarily be the most qualified. There is also a huge focus on the ability for a candidate to fit in.
This is why there’s so much talk about the workplace culture. You have to show that you can adapt to it and the more naturally you seem you can do that, the better.
So, when the company sees some things on the internet which don’t reflect what they prefer, you end up with a not-so-good background report.
In addition to the information you provided through your resume, your LinkedIn profile will be of interest to your interviewer. They’ll want to find out whether there is any inconsistency between your resume and the information on your LinkedIn profile.
Watch the below video for tips on how to enhance your online presence.
Another social media platform likely to be checked is Facebook. Be careful about the photos and messages you post as they say a lot about who you really are.
This doesn’t mean that you should start pretending on social media. Just be yourself. The thing to do is to avoid doing what might make you less attractive to a potential employer.
If the internet paints a bad picture of you, then the interviewer may have already made a decision about you. Because of that, you may have a very difficult time impressing her.
2. You Showed Up Late
This is really a no-brainer. If you show up late for an interview, you’ve already created a bad impression of yourself. Undoing that will need some smart effort from your end.
If you arrived at an interview late, don’t assume that nobody noticed. And even if the interviewer doesn’t ask you about it, don’t assume that it’s not a big deal. It is.
Whether you’re asked about it or not, it’s important to give an explanation. You don’t have to be detailed but at least say what happened to cause the lateness.
Failing to do so will be taken to mean that you’re not reliable. If you’re late before getting hired, what about when you are? No employer wants the trouble of dealing with tardiness in employees.
Tardiness is expensive. Not only does it affect teamwork, which further affects general productivity, it also delays the achievement of the company’s goals.
If you’re late for the interview, despite your social media presence backing you up, you create doubts in the mind of the person interviewing you.
3. You Have Too Much Cologne
Some things may seem pretty small and nothing but a matter of preference. According to you, your choice of cologne should never be the basis of your identity. Or maybe it is.
Unfortunately, the strong scent you like might be what someone else strongly dislikes.
Allergies aside, some preferences are quite strong.
A strong scent on you might give an interviewer a hard time concentrating on the interview. The scent, though flowery and sweet to you, might be loathsome to your interviewer.
Whereas you may be thinking that it’s just a few minutes and you’re done, she might be thinking long-term. She is probably imagining working with you in the same team. That means coping with the scent.
Maybe for you, considering how badly you need the job, you’re willing to change your preference.
But for her, she knows that this is what you like and changing might be impossible. Or maybe mentioning it once you’re hired may cause conflicts.
The sad part of this is that she is in charge. She gets to make the decision.
Since she doesn’t have to tell you why exactly you didn’t get hired, why not deal with the situation early?
4. Your Answers Aren’t Impressive
Work is a big part of your life. It’s also an important one since it’s a source of livelihood.
This is the reason why people work hard, seeking advice and coaching, so as to pass interviews.
Interview advice is often centered on how to make a great first impression and the importance of it.
The great first impression should also be a lasting one. That means that the whole interview should be memorable—in a good way—to the interviewer.
One of the ways of being remembered is through the kind of answers you give. If others are giving bad answers, yours need to be good. If others’ are good, then yours must be great.
If your responses don’t make the interviewer look forward to working with you, then clicking might be tricky.
If you’re not clicking with an interviewer because of your answers, you will know it. The conversation will gradually move from exciting to boring. You’ll notice that the interviewer is merely going through the motions.
It will be more like she’s trying to finish the interview so as to go do something else.
5. You Sound Robotic
Is there something like too much practice?
You have practiced for the interview as advised and you’re ready for the big day. You have memorized answers to common or even difficult interview questions.
Obviously, you’re confident that you won’t get stuck. But there’s something about your eloquence. It sounds funny. Every answer you give sounds like a playback of a recording.
You may not know it, but the interviewer can.
Memorized answers cannot form natural conversations. Your responses will sound a bit out of place. It’s like trying to force your preferred answers to fit the question asked.
The interviewer will first suspect it. Upon asking more open-ended questions, she will soon be able to pick it up. Another way she can find you out is by further probing your answers.
If you cannot explain further without making unnecessary references to your answers, then you’re done with.
Whatever conclusion she makes, it definitely won’t be in your favor.
6. You Sounded Desperate
It’s obvious that you want the job. Maybe you even need it. That’s okay since you have to utilize your knowledge and skills. You also need an income.
But what happens when you become desperate?
Maybe things are really thick. You have debts piling up to the sky and you consider this job as your only hope. Do you literally beg for an opportunity to work in the organization?
You may not literally beg but the words you use plus your body language may give the impression that you are.
If this happens, your interviewer may not like it. Different reasons might be behind the dislike but the result is the same. You’ll no longer be an attractive candidate for the job.
A possible conclusion is that your desperation means that you’re not stable in many ways. That translates to vulnerability.
Maybe your desperation could be exploited by a colleague, “forcing” you to do something wrong. Who pays the ultimate cost?
As such, the interviewer could be seeing you as a potential threat that’s better being avoided.
7. You Displayed Over-Confidence (Arrogance)
Confidence is necessary. It’s actually a pre-requisite to acing the interview.
Building confidence is easy, even without a one-on-one mentor. You can learn and practice it till it becomes a part of you.
Generally, confidence takes time to build. But when you need it urgently, there are certain things you can do to build up your confidence levels.
However, confidence without control is dangerous. It stops being confidence and becomes arrogance.
When you show yourself to be the know-it-all guy, you’re likely to remain unemployed.
Arrogance can show through the words you use. Using big words to explain simple matters, speaking too loudly, seeming to correct the interviewer etc.
If you can imagine yourself in the position of the interviewer, you’ll see how one can be offended by arrogance.
Always keep in mind that your chances of getting hired are dependent on the conclusions made by the interviewer.
Humility is also a virtue. No matter how confident you want to look, combining confidence with humility increases your success rate.
Moreover, true confidence is humble in nature. It doesn’t need to show off. It also gives others a chance to shine and grow since it knows that their development is not a threat to it.
8. You Don’t Sound Right for the Job
A big part of communication lies in the non-verbal cues. These also happen to be louder than the words you use to speak.
When responding to questions, there are things to check on. Apart from your words, consider the tone and volume of your voice as well as your body language. From these, so much can be learned about you.
An example of how this can work is where you interview for a manager’s position. You have the qualifications, work experience and even look the part. Everything seems good. But from your speech, you sound a little weak.
You don’t sound like you can give instructions or give direction in the midst of confusion and chaos. The softness with which you speak indicates that it could be easy to reject your instructions and you may not be able to do anything about that.
In other words, you don’t sound like someone who can take charge over situations.
The question then begs, will you be able to control a team? What about a whole department? How will you handle disrespectful team members?
Your interviewer knows the kind of environment you’ll be working in. and if she feels like you may not be able to properly fit, she may show signs that the interview is a waste of time.
Once that conclusion is reached, getting her to change her mind isn’t easy. The interview will feel like it’s getting more difficult.
9. It’s a Personality Conflict
You are supposed to be yourself during the interview. The interviewer is also being herself, unless you’re doing a stress interview.
If that is the case, then she may act in different ways as she tries to get you to crack under the pressure.
One of the worst things that can happen to you is when you get interviewed by someone who just doesn’t like your personality.
Whereas your personality is normally used to judge whether you fit, it can also be used to rule you out faster than necessary.
This can happen especially when you’re being interviewed by your prospective boss.
If you have the personality of someone who likes taking charge and your interviewer has the same personality, she may sense a future clash. In an attempt to avoid conflict, she may decide that you’re not a good fit.
This is in spite of your qualifications and interview performance. And since the decision is already made, your efforts to connect are likely to fail.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU DON’T CLICK WITH AN INTERVIEWER
The first and most common response is that you start blaming yourself. You start wondering what you did wrong so as to take some action to remedy the situation.
Looking at the above reasons, you’ll realize that in some cases you can indeed cover up your mistake.
For example, showing up late can be explained away if you do it well. You can also make the lateness be forgotten by putting up a good performance and wowing your interviewer.
In the even that some of your answers aren’t impressive, you can hopefully make the rest of your responses better.
But what if your cologne is too strong? Can you somehow dilute it while it’s already on you?
If the problem is your online presence, can you postpone the interview and go make changes? Will those changes take effect in the mind of your interviewer?
It gets worse when you remember that you don’t even know why you’re not connecting with your interviewer. That means you don’t know the problem. And when you don’t know the problem, there’s no way of solving it.
Take heart anyway. All hope is not lost. Even in the case of desperation, you can still finish the interview strong.
Here are some tips to get you through.
Maintain Your Cool
If you’re not clicking with the interviewer, you’ll notice it. Their body language will show. And when it does, do not panic.
The first thing you need to do is avoid going down the emotion lane. If you feel like you’re being treated disrespectfully, don’t react.
If she is no longer looking at you and seems bored, do not also become bored and give half-hearted responses. Keep yourself under control and remind yourself that you’re supposed to act professionally.
In any case, you don’t know why the interviewer is acting the way she is. But in case you do, and you can implement a quick solution, then do so.
All in all, avoid blaming yourself. This will only have the effect of tearing down your confidence and make you perform poorly in the remainder of the interview.
Use What You Have in Common
Remember the research you did before the interview? Well, ideally, it should not have been only about the company. Your research should have covered the hiring manager.
If the job post showed who to address in your cover letter or said who you’ll be reporting to, you need to have checked those people out. Google and LinkedIn are always good places to do that.
Using LinkedIn will tell you a lot about the professional side of the person of your interest. Google on the other hand can tell you a lot about their social life.
Both these services can lead you to accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Whatever these people share online can tell you how to grab their attention.
Their academic information can also come in handy. You might discover that you actually attended the same high school or college. Maybe you have memberships in the same clubs or love the same sport.
Such information can help turn the situation around during this difficult interview. You can frame your responses to include some of the things you know interest them.
Hopefully that can trigger a change of mind.
Play to Your Interviewer’s Generational Traits
Sometimes, your interviewer may not like you simply because of your age. Maybe HR decided that you should be interviewed but the interviewer at the current stage of the process doesn’t like you.
This is quite common though interviewers wouldn’t openly admit it. Some however indirectly admit it. You can hear it in their explanations of how it’s difficult to work with certain generations.
For instance, millennials are often maligned because of the stark differences between them and the more established baby boomers.
Whereas the boomers are hard working, millennials are known to prefer the easiest way out. This is largely due to the fact that they embraced technology and know that things can happen faster.
Since the boomers on the other hand are used to seeing gradual progress, they mistakenly see millennials as looking for shortcuts.
If you are a millennial being interviewed by a baby boomer for a management position, appeal to some of the baby boomer traits.
Instead of talking about teamwork, talk about community and show your appreciation of hard work. If you are a boomer being interviewed by a millennial, talk about how you use technology in your personal life.
Maybe you convinced your friends to join the WhatsApp group you created. Maybe you moved from traditional TV and now you stream content on Netflix.
Whatever you know your interviewer’s generation identifies with, use that to try and tilt the scales in your favor.
You applied for the job and managed to get this far. In these days of ATS systems and high competition, you should be grateful for the opportunity to be interviewed.
Having done your best to perform well in the interview, thank the interviewer for the consideration you got. Express your appreciation of the interview process and mention that you’ve known the company better.
Use some of the information you gathered from the questions you asked about the company or position. Show that you believe in what the company does and would be honored to be part of the team.
After leaving, send the interviewer a “Thank You” note to express your gratitude. If you can write one by hand, the better. Still, sending an email is acceptable. Just do it the same day.
As much as you’ll be sincerely expressing gratitude, this can also help change the interviewer’s mind. Maybe she was just having a bad and your email is what she needed to end the day well.
Whether you get an offer or not, remember that there will always be factors which you cannot control. As long as you have controlled those within your power, leave the rest to get sorted as they will.
You can also further increase your chances of getting hired by taking a closer look at the reasons given above.
Do you have a tendency of getting late for appointments? Are you social media accounts painting the right picture of you? Are your communication skills good?
As for the more personal issues like bad breath and body odor, you can talk to a friend you trust.
Tell him that something is bothering you and you think it’s affecting your chances of getting hired. As such, you need their help. Ask for sincerity and promise not to get offended by the answer.
Ask them that difficult question. Watch them and listen to them carefully. If they give you the slightest hint that something isn’t right, just know that things are really bad.
If you’re told that you have bad breath only in the evening but the rest of the day you’re fine, take it to mean that the problem spans the whole day.
Change whatever you can change and keep moving. Soon enough, you’ll get the right job for you.
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