How to handle a bad interviewer

Well done, you’ve landed yourself an interview for a great clinical role. You may be well prepared for your interview, but what happens if your interviewer is not?


Two people in interview smiling


The majority of interviewers are skilled to perform effective, thorough assessments, but what happens if the person you meet with lacks necessary training or is simply uninterested? Interviews can be stressful enough, so this could knock your confidence.

We asked our LinkedIn followers “what is the best way to handle a bad interviewer?”. Take a look at the hints and tips we’ve come up with a result:


The unprepared interviewer

Most commonly, this is when the interviewer has not taken time before the meeting to familiarise themselves with your CV or sufficiently prepare questions.

To handle this, it is always a good idea to bring an extra copy of your CV along with you and reiterate the major selling points that feature within it. When you are answering their questions, remember to use the STAR technique. That way, you can highlight your qualities and experiences within each answer you give no matter how unprepared they may be.

The unfocused interviewer

This could be when the individual answers telephone calls and emails during the interview. They might also engage in off-topic conversations with colleagues rather than giving you their undivided attention.

If this is the case, you could suggest rescheduling the interview, whilst remembering to remain calm and professional. Ask the interviewer in a friendly way whether there would be a more convenient time for them, and suggest dates that you would be available for this to take place.


The inappropriate interviewer

This kind of interviewer might ask inappropriate questions regarding political or religious views, or pry into your personal life unnecessarily.

In this instance, you should politely ask how they feel the questions they are asking are relevant to the job on offer. Try to return the focus of the interview back to your qualifications and skills as a worker, explaining that you would prefer to concentrate on your professional experiences rather than personal ones.


The inexperienced/nervous interviewer

This suggests that the individual interviewing you is just on edge as you are, if not perhaps more. You should be polite and helpful, using the STAR technique where necessary to highlight the pros of your CV and direct the conversation towards your qualities. Try not to let the person’s nervousness transfer onto yourself, you should instead exude confidence without making them feel inadequate.


General tactics to keep in mind

  • Be patient – it could be that the interviewer needs a little time to adjust to the situation, and may perform better once they feel more comfortable in your presence. Try not to second guess what is going on in their mind, as this could affect your answers.
  • Remain positive and professional at all times, try not to change your expression if you become irritated as this could make the situation more hostile.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you don’t quite understand what the interviewer is asking (or the relevance of it). This will show that you are engaged within the conversation and interested in what they have to say.
  • Stay focused on trying to find out what the job requires, and what is involved within the job description. Even if the person you are meeting with loses track of the conversation or changes the topic, you should do your best to use the time wisely.


You might also like to read: 

5 top tips for your next video interview

Questions to ask an employer during an interview

How to banish interview nerves

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