Tuesday, March 11, 2014

4 common behaviours of Interviewers you should watch out

4 Common Behaviours of Interviewers you should watch out

Have you, as the Interviewee encountered any unpleasant behavioural experiences, such as the Recruiter’s poor mannerisms, professionalism and sensitivity?

The candidate has the opportunity to assess the Interviewer’s personality, as much as the Recruiter screens your attitude. There should not be any unbalanced pressures on the Interviewee to think he or she should meet their behavioural expectations. (if you need the job desperately, kindly ignore this article)

Note that there may be some valid assumptions made, however most are based on your personal call. Every Interview warrants a different set of criteria. That said, sometimes what you see is what you get, if you are recruited to the firm. The below-mentioned points will provide a platform for you, as the Interviewee, to be more well-informed. This is the point of time you can make a reasonable judgement.

1) Let the candidate wait for long hours

The interviewee is asked to be punctual. The same practise should apply to the Interviewer. Granted, the Interviewer may be on the back of a conference call but the hours should not stretch more than one hour and more. Probably several to 30 minutes may sound fine to you – subjective of course. But the waiting time must not be long till the candidate is starved to boredom.

As a Career Coach, I have heard about scenarios where the Interviewer makes the candidate wait for 4 straight hours in the reception room! This is why I discuss about the negativity during my seminars and one-to-one interview coaching sessions.

Think about this – if the Interviewer arranges a time slot for you and he or she does not respect the allocated timing, will it be valid for them to review your “time-oriented, work within time pressure” criteria? He or she may sound apologetic but you will not know if this turns out to be a habit. In other words, how has the Recruiter respect your time?

Therefore, it’s important for the Interviewer to be punctual, the same as you will respect their time. In my humble opinion, there are ways to test the patience of a candidate, as compared to making him wait at the reception where all eyes are peeled onto the candidate. Not a great feeling.

2) Interview at a cluttered table, documents strewn around with his mobile phone at his desk

Let’s say you are shown to the room of the Hiring Manager. It can also be your immediate boss. Looking at the messy stack of papers and a small tiny, whiny space to put your testimonials and CVs, would you feel cramped and uncomfortable?

We know that, for sure, the first 10 second impression is highly important. You master that perfectly. Certainly, you don’t get the positive vibe upon entering the room. Some candidates may be taken aback for a while and thus may not be composed to address questions. It’s always professional to have a neat and tidy room for proper discussion. The surroundings will facilitate a healthy dose of communication exchanges between you and the Recruiter.


What makes matter worse is, the Interviewer starts to answer SMS-es and phone while apologizing to you – not once but a few times during the interview. It disrupts the thought process and breaks down the lines of communication. The candidate is reminded to put the phone in silence mode and not to pick up any calls. The same logic is applicable to the Interviewer. In my opinion, this must be a complete NO-NO. Should the Interviewer expect a call, he or she is advised to pre-empt the Interviewer but this must not be an excuse to pick up frequent calls or SMS.

3) Interview interfered by employees knocking at the door and asking questions

This is something which should not happen. An interview must be professionally conducted, made between the parties involved where details shared can be highly confidential. If the Recruiter allows this, it may show a lack of sensitivity to the Interviewee. The candidate has been forthcoming in sharing information and the last he expects is a total stranger knocking, asking questions and barging in. The Hiring Manager will not expect the Interviewee to listen to the company information too. The Interviewee may assume the situation is urgent. So what is most important to the Interviewer? – YOU, as a person who has the talent and thus, the Interviewer should not be distracted whatsoever the circumstances? Or is it something lingering in his mind that he plans to shuffle both his priorities in between?

What has to be made clear to YOU - prior attention and space must be given during the interview session. It is to help you engage in a clear and crisp conversation against having broken pieces of words due to internal interferences.

4) Interviewer uses his laptop and interacts with you during the interview session

The Interviewee claims to multi-task, while listening to your answers, using his laptop either to respond to emails or doing other work. His eyes dart across the screen and you simultaneously.

You wonder how the Interviewer is able to concentrate and listen to you. (maybe you can ask him to repeat your answers?) Forget the eye contact because the Interviewer has minimal.

You wonder “I have spent time preparing for the interview but the attention span given to me is half-hearted. I can feel that because of this body language inclining towards the laptop”. Have you been in this situation before?

Question is, if the Interviewer has made time for you, why not he or she focuses purely on you? After all, the job assessment is about the company and you. The company is represented by the Interviewer. An interview done with high level of professionalism should be made completely with a degree of understanding and mutual respect.


Think….is this the type of company you will like to work for? Some examples above may highlight a perceived personality of your immediate bosses, if he or she happens to be this Recruiter. May not be overly accurate but you can form an impression – the same as how the Interviewer will judge your mannerisms, etiquette and professional attitude.

This is the time you will make an assessment on the Interviewer too. I will publish more interesting articles on interviews. Stay tuned! Meanwhile, if you need a one-to-one session on "how to ace your interviews", please feel free to email me or refer to this website for more details.

Mr. Ken Tan is a Freelance Coach in Career Development and Management. He advices, guides and work closely with individuals in scoping their career strategies and exit plans. He gives talks in schools, libraries and community centre. He was invited on 91.3FM radio to talk about student career choices.

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