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Stupid Interviewers

CaRaMBaCaRaMBa Administrator PEx Moderator
That's weird. I NEVER reject interviewees for trivial things.


  • Stupid interviewers are as prevalent as stupid interviewees.

    In all job interviews, the interviewees always get the ax, but that should not always be the case. Whenever I go to job interviews, I always have this in mind: look for some stupidity glare in the interview and decline the offer. I got rejected like a couple of times for being too unconventional and different from the others in answering questions, and got thumbs down for using the correct grammar. Interviewers who are nonconforming with standards are a rare breed. The former is acceptable for obvious I-expect-you-to-answer-this-way crappy reason for rejection but the latter is funny and such a glaring stupidity in all its substance and form.

    One example is that one Makati bank top executive who claimed to have graduated from the "top" business school in Manila. He told my friend, who was working there (thank God, not anymore), that I was not accepted because of a trivial grammar thing I was, of course, right about. "He (referring to me) was part of that university's publication and used that "with regard" phrase," he said. I should have used "with regards" instead. "Stupid" me.

    You get rejected for trivial things, but looking for little stupidity sitting somewhere in that interviewer's chair yourself is preconceiving the stupidity that is going to happen soon enough when you get accepted. Who wants to work for a stupid boss, anyway?

    Some interviewees rule. You should rule, too.


  • KuyaDannyKuyaDanny Moderator PEx Moderator
    Interviews are as much about employees choosing their bosses as they are about bosses choosing their employees. Although I was not there at §inned™'s interview to get all the facts first hand, I must say that if that trivial reason was the only one for rejecting the candidate, then the decision was pretty stupid indeed.

    But I'd also like to propose for consideration the following thoughts:

    1) Does "stupid" really mean stupid, or merely "different from yourself?" If it's the former, how qualified are we, really, to conclude stupidity from an interview of 30 minutes or so? If it's the latter, let us ask ourselves, do we want to work for someone like ourselves (maybe easier to get along with), or different from ourselves (maybe we'll learn something new)?

    2) Do you necessarily want a boss who's better than you are? Some bosses actually prefer to hire people better than themselves, to improve the overall quality of the team. There are advantages to having an "inferior" boss, especially one who recognizes the fact.
  • Caramba and KuyaDanny, the interviewer thought I committed a mistake. In reality, you get turned down because of trivial things. Normally, people will put more weight on the negative than the positive aspects even if the latter outweigh the former. That's the usual clockwork going on in an interview. Such stupidity.

    Interview should be a consultation usually to evaluate qualifications of the prospective employee and the elements you want to see from the prospective employer. For me, a 30-minute or so interview is a good gauge of identifying a prospective working environment. I usually take advantage of those 30 minutes by asking questions not necessarily related to the job, but things about the people I am going to work with, if ever. Playful questions like: "I was just stunned earlier hearing a Mozart piece somewhere in that cubicle. Are there some people here who play in a symphony or orchestra?" You see, by trivial questions like that, I could somehow determine what kind of environment my prospective office has or if there is some intellectual tinge in the air. I remember asking this interviewer about the painting in his office, and we ended up talking about pontillism and pop art. I got the job and I had a wonderful experience with that company.


  • Yeah I agree, interviewers turn you down for the most trivial reasons, usually not even job related. I remember once I got turned down just because I happen to have murdered 23 people and was committed to a psychiatric ward. But hey what's that got to do with being a photocopier ?
  • kamatayan: oo nga naman, no'? how trivial can they get. hehehe.
  • I have been to tons of interview in my lifetime but never been rejected for some trivial reasons. Personally, I think that's so "mababaw" but could also meant lack of experience on the part of the interviewer.

    Lots of times the person doing the interview is not equipped to do so especially if he's the head of a finance dept. His/her focus would be less personal and much more directed to your experience in relation to the job they're trying to fill. As an applicant, you don't have much room to maneuver and uttering words beyond the limits of your confine can be a trigger to the exit door.

    It would be the opposite if the interviewer is a human resource person. He/she might look at you in a much more broader sense. In this case you don't want to appear too rigid or too focus on the position your applying for. He/she might construe that as a personal inadequacy to play a wider role in the company.

    I think it pays to always remember the human factor. Interviewers come in all sorts of size, shape, style and prejudices. It's the first step in a series that we all have to overcome.

  • how do u handle a bad interview / interviewers (i.e. he didn't read ur resume, doesn't smile, ur 5 minutes into the interview and he already made a judgment?)
  • All I can say if you've had a bad interview, learn from that experience. Figure out what went wrong and do better on your next interview. What I've done in the past is I applied in a company that I really don't want to work for and just use it as my practice interview. It helps build up my confidence and do better on my next interview.

    For an interviewer to come unprepared to an interview is very unprofessional and that says a lot about the company you're applying for then. Also, keep in mind that you if you were given that job offer, most likely you'll be working with/for that person (interviewer).

    All I can say if you run into a bad interviewer who didn't read your resume, point out to him those information that he needs to know. Sell your good points.

    I am just curious in that 5 mins what did you talk about that he already passed judgments on you?
  • Yeah, I'm curious to...what were the give-away signs that made you think he passed judgment on you already? Sometimes, some of them are just testing us...
  • well, the interviewer seemed not interested in what i'm saying (believe me, i prepared for the interview)... i was thinking, maybe because the interview schedule was after office hours and he's just tired ...but i think i should have been given proper courtesy.
    im really interested in the job and it is a good company.
  • i know, it's frustrating, but it happens. <sigh> Kapag ganoon, the only thought that consoles me is that, "If it was meant to be, it's meant to be...and better things are ahead."
  • that's a bummer! oh well, try your luck next time na lang. :)
  • Hey mercuryrising, this was an email my friend sent me after a devastating inverview. it was a business week online article. maybe the interviewer gave you a silent treatment instead? i dont know if this would help but here it goes...

    Explore Business Week Online >>SearchBW HomeThis Week in BWDaily BriefingInvestingGlobal BusinessTechnologySmall BusinessB-SchoolsCareersVideo ViewsForums
    Executive ConferencesServicesSupport

    **** sent you a Business Week story and the following message:
    thought you might want to know why the hr person from *** was so bitchy!

    MAY 4, 2001

    Interview or Interrogation?
    A job application turns unexpectedly hostile, and the candidate naturally wonders why. Our experts offer several possible interpretations

    Q: I recently applied for a professional consulting position with a large specialty-insurance firm. I had been recommended for the job, and when I was contacted by a company vice-president, I thought we had a pleasant conversation. Then my prospective supervisor called, and essentially insulted me and belittled everything I said. I did my best to remain calm, but I've never felt more humiliated in my entire career. Is this interrogation-style interview legal? How do I find out what happened? And what should I do next? -- W.M., Tallahassee, Fla.

    A: If you were applying to be a customer-service worker for Bridgestone/Firestone during its tire recall -- and the company really needed to know how you react to hostility -- this "interrogation-style" interview might make sense, says Rebecca Hastings, a senior professional in human resources at the Society for Human Resource Management. In fact, she notes, there's such a thing as a "stress interview," where prospective employers try to provoke candidates to see if they keep their cool. It's possible that you just met one stress advocate head-on.

    Hastings isn't a fan of the technique, however, because it starts things off on such a sour note. She also believes that employers can gauge your equanimity via more civil means -- such as asking you to describe the tensest incident of your career and how you got through it. But the bully style is perfectly legal, she says, unless you've been singled out for such abuse because of your race, age, gender, or other characteristics that have special legal protection.

    CAUGHT BETWEEN AGENDAS? It's possible, of course, that your second interviewer's approach wasn't calculated. Maybe this guy is just a jerk. Or perhaps the vice-president forced the interview, even though the manager had his own list of candidates or even someone he already wanted to hire, says Allen Salikof, CEO of Management Recruiters International, the global-search and recruiting company. You might unwittingly have been caught between two executives' agendas.

    If the pal who recommended you is inside the company, Salikof recommends you ask him or her to snoop for explanations. If not, call the vice-president. Without making accusations, tell him you were excited about the opportunity you and he spoke of, but the talk with the supervisor turned negative, and he seemed to have no interest in learning about your qualifications or what you could bring to the company. "Something happened to make this person act that way, and you'd want to know why," Salikof says.

    If you're worried that this nasty guy has trashed you to the vice-president and maybe even to others in your industry, you should know that most states have antiblacklisting laws, Hastings says. But ask around cautiously within your network before you take anything public. Employers hate litigation threats, and blacklisting can be a hard accusation to prove. Salikof is even more emphatic about the risks. "I wouldn't talk about legalities, because that's the kiss of death," he says. "I'd just chalk it up as a learning experience."

    HONE YOUR SKILLS. One lesson is already clear: As a job applicant you need to be prepared for anything -- hostile interviews, panels of interviewers, daylong interviews, anything a company can throw at you. Therefore, you might want to consult a career counselor or professional recruiter to hone your interviewing skills. One small error -- like rushing into vacation requests -- can torpedo an interview in seconds, Salikof notes.

    Meanwhile, odds are you're out of the running for this job, our experts agree. And while you can never judge an entire company by one person, the fact that this guy would be your supervisor makes it pretty certain you wouldn't want the job, anyway. So, move on to other opportunities. And leave this stress behind.

    A Reader Responds

    We recently received a reader's comment on a previous column, in which a job candidate complains about being checked out by a potential subordinate (see BW Online, 4/10/01, "When the Hiring Process Violates 'Recruiting 101,'"). Here's the reader's experience:

    I was once the subordinate who interviewed a management candidate. I agree that it's not appropriate for a future employee to check the references of a possible boss. However, I do believe it's entirely acceptable for a subordinate to do an interview.

    In my case, the candidate received favorable reviews from the senior partner, while two managers were slightly on the positive side of neutral. I, however, was absolutely opposed to the man, and my veto was based on his answer to one question, some variation of, "What would your subordinates say about you?" If he had left it at his original response -- "They'd say I'm strict but fair" -- he might have gotten the job. But the derisiveness he displayed in his elaboration made it clear that he did not care one whit about his employees as human beings and believed they could not possibly contribute any valuable ideas. This did not fit our corporate culture. -- D.L., Chicago, Ill.

    Have a question about your career or workplace issues? E-mail us at [email protected], or write to Ask Careers, BusinessWeek Online, 6th Floor, 2 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10121. Please include your real name and phone number in case we need more information. Only your initials and city will be printed. Due to the volume of mail, we won't be able to respond to all questions personally. Questions may be edited for length and clarity.

    This article can be found online at:

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  • just a few weeks ago i was interviewed by this very mataray woman. she doesn't smile and she was obviously pissed. thing is, i tend to also be mataray when someone is mataray to me. :fight: i wasn't discourteous or anything, i just also didn't smile like her.

    she was pissed at me because i earlier called to re-schedule my interview. umpisa pa lang, she asked why i re-scheduled. i just gave my answer, which was valid naman. besides, if i weren't allowed to re-schedule, then they should have just told me in the first place and i would have cancelled the whole thing altogether.

    well, siguro it just wasn't meant to be. okay lang naman sa akin. mataray people are pretty common anyway so you just have to deal with them. i just hope my next interviews would be better, especially with those companies that i really want to get into.

  • Jopert,

    Really nice article! Thanks!
  • thanks jopert... i wish here in pinas we could sue those kind of people esp. if they waste your precious time...hehehe...mayaman na siguro ako.

    m1k3...nakakahinayang talaga if the company is good and the job is interesting. well , as they say, past is past...life has to go on...:)
  • hey, i dont know if what i posted was legal though. i mean wouldn't jobsDB get angry? its just business week right?

    anyway, workaholic, feel free to edit my post if necessary.

  • [IMG]http://:smile:[/IMG] :(

    this topic is very timely kc interviews really scares me......although d pa ko graduate (looking forward to it on March 2002)....
  • rigiboyrigiboy PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    I experienced one once...made my self-esteem drop to sub-zero levels.

    At first I thought it was my fault....

    But then again, they only have to say NO if they are not interested. They don't have to insult you.

    Yup, that's what really happened.

    Ingat na lang 'cause there are people out there who'll take advantage of your politeness and make you feel like a SCUM of society just so they can feed their ego and hide their insecurities.

    If ever you come across these people, always remember...don't make anyone feel you don't deserve what you want.
  • Originally posted by rigiboy
    I experienced one once...made my self-esteem drop to sub-zero levels.

    At first I thought it was my fault....

    But then again, they only have to say NO if they are not interested. They don't have to insult you.

    Yup, that's what really happened.

    Ingat na lang 'cause there are people out there who'll take advantage of your politeness and make you feel like a SCUM of society just so they can feed their ego and hide their insecurities.

    If ever you come across these people, always remember...don't make anyone feel you don't deserve what you want.

    well that's really awful...i mean just the thought of someone (stranger actually) ridiculing you in a very sarcastic manner without getting to know you even a li'l bit can really put your ego down... :( anyways, i hope to be optimistic when my time comes,,,,:D ;)
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