How to Handle an Inexperienced Interviewer:

You may be well prepared to answer a spectrum of interview questions as well as to discuss every aspect of your professional, educational and volunteer experiences.  However, when the time comes to prove that you are the right candidate for the job you encounter an interviewer who is ill-equipped to conduct the interview.  How do you convey your value to someone who is not asking appropriate questions and is barely capable of engaging in conversation?

 At times like this, we have to have some extra resources available to us.  It is up to the candidate to “carry” the interview without coming across as arrogant or condescending.  Here are some ideas if you are in a situation where the interviewer is not focusing on your background or on the potential position.

 Ask one of your prepared interview questions such as:

  • Questions regarding the culture of the organization or the history of the department and open position. Try to learn something about the environment to help you in your information quest.
  • What types of skills and traits are necessary to succeed in this organization.  Use this information to relate examples from your background that illustrate that you possess these characteristics.

The common factor in the above examples is to take the lead by focusing the interview through asking specific and targeted questions that allow you to provide the interviewer with the information that you want to convey and that would be helpful in determining if you are the right candidate for the job.  This tactic will prevent the interview from ending with the interviewer not knowing more about you than he/she did when the interview began.  Although this is normally the responsibility of both the interviewer and interviewee in a situation when the interviewer is not capable it is up to you to play that role alone.

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