How to Answer to a Confrontation in a Job Interview
Before you step out the door for an important job interview, spend some time preparing. Interview techniques vary by employer and often by the type of job. The desire to stand out above other individuals competing for the same opening, fear of the unknown and back-to-back meetings with company representatives tend to add pressure to any interview situation. Anticipating the possibility of some tough questions or a confrontational experience helps lower your stress level and sets the stage for a positive outcome.
It is common for job applicants to feel some trepidation in any interview situation. Encountering a stress interview, a situation in which the employer is purposely confrontational, can throw you off balance if you are unprepared. Some stress interview tactics include rapid-fire questioning, interruptions and openly criticizing the applicant. Typically, employers use a confrontational interview style only in very specific circumstances. Depending on the company culture, some employers might subject all job applicants to some form of stress interviewing.
It is possible to ace a confrontational interview. Keep in mind that it is a method and not a personal attack. Stay confident, answer questions openly and honestly and, if appropriate, infuse a little humor into the situation. Ask for a moment to consider a barrage of questions before you speak. Stay neutral avoiding any hint of emotion while fielding confrontational techniques. Be aware of your body language and remain positive. Ending the interview with a smile and a strong handshake sends a message that you work well under pressure.
Although no job is stress-free, by the nature of the work performed, certain demanding jobs cause a high level of stress. For example, most individuals who apply for a position as a firefighter or a police officer know the ability to remain calm in tense situations is essential. Before attending an interview, review the job description and required qualifications. Employers often state in a job spec that the ideal applicant must work well under pressure. To ascertain an applicant's ability to deal with stress, interviewers use confrontational techniques. Knowing in advance that you might encounter a stress interview helps you prepare.
Body language plays a role in an interview setting. It is important for an applicant to convey an open and positive attitude through posture, eye contact and hand movements. There are times when an interviewer displays negative body language. If you notice the individual conducting the interview exhibiting a stern look or a loud sigh, stay poised. It is possible something you said triggered this reaction, or it could be a planned tactic to test your reaction. Mentally review your statement. If you feel you misspoke, pause, take a breath and openly express your need to restate your intention. If there appears to be no valid reason for the interviewer's negativity, chalk it up to a stress test and do not appear intimidated.
Jan Simon is a career and life coach with more than 20 years of experience in corporate human resources. She holds a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University. Simon enjoys writing career articles and is a columnist for the CV Weekly. She also publishes a weekly blog called Life on the Sunny Side.