5 Tough Interviewers & How to Talk To Each One

Your resume landed you an interview invitation and you're doing everything you can to prepare. You've got your elevator pitch lined up, your suit dry cleaned, and your bus route mapped out. But there are a few things that fall outside of your control, including your potential employer's personality and interview style. Here are five of the toughest common interview approaches, along with a few tips that can help you adapt to each one.

1. The one who's just there to listen.

This can be the most difficult interview style of all, especially for candidates who aren't prepared. This interviewer just leans back and lets mismatched candidates tangle themselves in their own rope. She'll start by saying something like "tell me about yourself," or "tell me why I should hire you," and then she'll just pipe down and let the candidate run the show.

Weaker candidates who expected an easy series of yes-or-no questions will fumble and ramble their way through the session. But a prepared candidate (like you!) will hand the interviewer a hard copy of her resume and launch into a clear, succinct, compelling description of her skill sets and how her contributions can bring success to this company.

2. The one who isn't listening at all.

This interviewer is difficult to connect with. She makes minimal eye contact, stares at her phone, and allows every interruption. She isn't paying attention and doesn't seem to care about the outcome of the session. If you encounter this interviewer, don't be rattled or offended. Just recognize that she's busy and she may not be the person who will make a final decision about this position. Stay polite and keep your answers brief and relevant. Whatever you do, don't bore her further by droning on and on.

3. The cross examiner.

This interviewer will let you explain why you're a fit for the position, and then will try to poke holes in your argument as if you're a witness on the stand. If you say you have experience, he'll tell you that you don't have enough. If you say you're a natural leader, he'll tell you that you aren't. If you say you've done this type of work before, he'll say that you've done work that's similar, but not really the same. He may even question the validity of your resume claims. Again, don't be rattled. Take each question and argument in stride, and answer them one at a time. Stay calm and confident.

4. The talker.

This interviewer talks and talk and talks…and talks. She doesn't ask many questions at all, but instead spends the session explaining every aspect of the company and the job. When you encounter this interviewer, your job is simple: listen. Take notes. Chances are, she already likes you. But she wants to be clear with you about what this job will entail, and she wants you to know what you're getting into if you accept an offer to work here. Tune in.

5. The mean one.

If your interviewer baits you, insults you, or tries to get you to grovel for the job, recognize this as a red flag. If you're presented with a barked order, stop and think before you react. And if your interviewer keeps putting you on the defensive, it's perfectly acceptable to thank him for his time and show yourself out. You don't work here yet, and you don't owe this company anything. Get back to the search and find a job where you'll be treated with the respect you deserve.

Step One: Create a Brilliant Resume

Before you hit a home run during your interview, you'll need to land an invitation. And to do that, you'll need a powerful resume. MyPerfectResume offers templates and resume building tools that can help you make a strong impression with your potential employer long before you meet each other face-to- face.

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MyPerfectResume Staff Writer

MyPerfectResume Staff Writer

At MyPerfectResume, we are passionate about two things: sharing our knowledge about the workforce and providing exceptional tools to help jobseekers get ahead. Thanks to our well-rounded assemblage of experts, we offer industry-specific resume and cover letter writing tips and career advice for almost every job. MyPerfectResume culls detailed advice…

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