How to handle a bad interviewer

Well done, you’ve landed yourself an interview for a great pharmaceutical job. You might be well prepared for your interview, but surprisingly your interviewer may not be.

The majority of interviewers are skilled and well trained. Unfortunately, there are interviewers out there that lack training and are simply not interested.

We all know that interviews are stressful and getting lumbered with a bad interviewer can easily knock you off balance. Therefore, it is important that you are prepared for those who might not be up to scratch.

Most of us have encountered a ‘bad’ interviewer somewhere along the line, so we asked members of the business networking site, LinkedIn, ‘what is the best way to handle a ‘bad’ interviewer’, to help us come up with a list of hints and tips to help candidates do just that.


The Unprepared Interviewer: Most commonly this is when the interviewer has not looked at the interviewees CV or prepared for the interview.

How to handle an unprepared interviewer:

  • Always bring an extra copy of your CV with you and reiterate the major selling points that feature in it.


The Unfocused Interviewer: This is when the interviewer answers telephone calls, emails, start conversations with colleagues during the interview.

How to handle an unfocused interviewer:

  • If the interviewer is answering telephone calls throughout the interview, suggest to reschedule, remain calm and professional.


The Inappropriate Interviewer: An interviewer who asks inappropriate questions regarding political/religious views etc.

How to handle and inappropriate interviewer:

  • If they ask questions that are inappropriate then ask them politely how they feel this is relevant to the job.
  • Do your best to ignore the question and try to return the focus to your job qualifications. Directly pointing out the inappropriate question will most likely be the end of a job possibility.
  • Explain that you would prefer to concentrate on your professional skills.


The Inexperienced/Nervous Interviewer:

How to handle an inexperienced/nervous interviewer:

  • You’re in luck!! They will be as on the edge as you are…or maybe more. Be polite and helpful and highlight all the pro’s on your CV!
  • Don’t let the interviewers nervousness transfer onto you.
  • Do not make the person feel inadequate.
  • Try to lead the conversation without letting the interviewer realise that you are controlling the conversation.
  • Steer the discussion towards your strengths.

Some more general tactics which you should bear in mind when faced with a ‘bad’ interviewer include:

  • Keep calm and don’t lose your cool.
  • Be polite.
  • Keep yourself smiling and don’t change your expression if you are irritated.
  • Answer the questions calmly don’t rush for answers.
  •  Ask for clarification if needed.
  • Don’t try to second guess what is going on in the interviewer’s mind.
  • Stay focused on trying to find out what the job requires, and what is involved in the job description.
  • Pretend nothing is wrong.
  • Be patient.
  • Listen to the interviewer
  • Don’t give up!


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