“It was weird. They hardly asked me any questions.”
Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken with a couple individuals who experienced this very unusual interview. The interviewer hardly asked any questions. Instead the interviewer spent a lot of time talking. Then after 20 minutes, the interview abruptly ended.
What happened? Unfortunately, for one reason or another the job seeker wasn’t being seriously considered as a candidate. The interviewer chose to not give this person the chance to present his or her case.
What can you do if you are in this situation?
To be frank: the odds aren’t in your favor at this point. I see three approaches. (If you have others, please share in the comments below.)
- Change the interview.
- Bypass the interviewer and see if you can prove your case with someone else.
- Throw in the towel.
Change the interview
Rather than just be a helpless victim of a disinterested interviewer, change the conversation as soon as you notice this behavior. If the interviewer tries to end the interview before you’ve had the opportunity to prove your case, keep it going until you’ve had the chance to take the floor.
Here are a couple of approaches to consider.
You can open with questions that require the interviewer to open up, “I noticed that you haven’t asked me many questions. I was wondering why that was the case?”
You can start running the interview yourself. “I feel like I haven’t had the opportunity to demonstrate why I am the right person for this job. Here are 3 things I offer that can uniquely help you… What other traits are you hoping for in the person you hire for this position?”
You can change the tone of the interview and regain their attention by doing something the interview wasn’t expecting. “I’d like to share with you the absolute worst experience I’ve ever had, and what I learned from it…”
Remember, you may have to push passed the typical interview repertoire of questions and answer to get back in the game.
Bypass the interviewer
Your interviewer may have personal biases that are hurting your chances. Perhaps the interviewer’s cousin is also interviewing for the job, and the interviewer really just wants that person to get it. Whatever the case, recognize that this single interviewer could be your main obstacle.
After you face this abrupt 20-minute interview, you can reach out the interviewer’s manager and state your case to them. “Hi, I recently interviewed for the position of… but I was asked few questions. I know that this would be a huge missed opportunity for both of us. Here’s what I could offer your firm unlike any other candidate…”
Throw in the towel
There may be an internal candidate who had the job from the beginning. Or they may have called a reference of yours who spoke less than well of you. If you’ve decided that this job isn’t going to happen, at least learn the reason why: “I feel as though I am not being seriously considered for this position. Is there some issue with my application that I should be aware of?”
Even in this worst-case situation, the interview has the potential to be a learning experience (albeit a frustrating one).
I hope that you never have to face this situation, but if you find yourself there, take a risk. At that moment, you really have nothing to lose.