Written By Michael Ferrara
Created on 2023-05-13 14:10
Published on 2023-05-23 13:23
The course of our professional lives is shaped by the job interviews we have in our quest for a fulfilling career. In the gripping drama "The Pursuit of Happyness" (2006), Will Smith's character, Chris Gardner, faced a series of arduous interviews, but real-world job seekers often encounter interviewers who demonstrate a wide range of emotions. In spite of this, not all emotions displayed by interviewers contribute positively to the process. Here, Tech Topics explores ten bad emotions common to job interviewers as we take a look behind the curtain of the interview room. By shedding light on these negative tendencies, we aim to shed insight on their impact and provide guidance on navigating such encounters with grace and resilience. So, fasten your seatbelts as we embark on an eye-opening journey into the unsettling realm of job interviewers' emotions.
Interview bias can manifest in several ways, one of which is bias against the educational background of a candidate. Candidates from community colleges, for instance, often face prejudice, with some interviewers demonstrating a preference for candidates from top-tier universities. This kind of bias disregards the reality that many community college graduates possess valuable skills and knowledge that are equally applicable in the workplace. It not only undermines the candidate's confidence but also limits the diversity and range of talent within an organization.
Interviewer: So, I see you studied at a community college. How do you think that compares to a traditional university education?
Candidate: Well, I believe my education has provided me with valuable skills and knowledge...
Interviewer (interrupting): Oh, I see. We usually prefer candidates from top-tier universities. Let's move on.
When an interviewer displays disinterest, it conveys a lack of respect for the candidate and their previous experiences. Yawning or rushing the candidate to conclude their responses can make them feel undervalued and dismissed. This behavior can lead to candidates feeling disengaged and less inclined to pursue opportunities within the company.
Interviewer: So, tell me about your previous work experience.
Candidate: I spent three years at XYZ Company, where I...
Interviewer (yawning): Sorry, I'm a bit tired today. Could you wrap it up quickly?
Hostility during an interview is unprofessional and discourages honest communication. Aggressive questioning or impatience with a candidate's responses can create a hostile environment, making it difficult for the candidate to articulate their experiences and qualifications effectively. This behavior can result in a loss of potentially valuable hires.
Interviewer: Why did you leave your previous job?
Candidate: There were some organizational changes that affected...
Interviewer (aggressively): I don't want to hear excuses. Give me a valid reason for leaving.
Candidates may encounter frustrating responses when explaining employment gaps, particularly when these gaps are due to personal circumstances such as caregiving. A dismissive or frustrated response from an interviewer can be demoralizing for candidates who have made significant personal sacrifices. It can also discourage candidates from being transparent about their career history, leading to a lack of trust and understanding.
Interviewer: Can you explain this gap in your employment history?
Candidate: Yes, during that time, I was taking care of a sick family member...
Interviewer (sighing): We need someone with a more consistent work record. This doesn't look good.
Arrogance during an interview can emerge when an interviewer perceives themselves as superior, disregarding the candidate's qualifications and experiences. This behavior can create a power imbalance, intimidating candidates and inhibiting their ability to represent themselves accurately.
Interviewer: So, why do you think you're the right fit for this position?
Candidate: Well, it's pretty obvious. I have the highest qualifications and experience compared to other applicants.
Indifferent responses to a candidate's achievements or qualifications can minimize their enthusiasm and drive. By brushing off a candidate's accomplishments with nonchalance, an interviewer may discourage the candidate and fail to recognize potential assets to the organization.
Interviewer: What can you bring to our organization?
Candidate: I have a strong background in project management and have successfully led teams...
Interviewer (nonchalantly): Yeah, we've heard all that before. Just give me the highlights.
An interviewer's impatience or constant rushing can induce anxiety in candidates, impairing their ability to deliver thoughtful, well-structured responses. This behavior can prevent the interviewer from gaining a comprehensive understanding of the candidate's abilities and potential contributions to the company.
Interviewer: Can you provide an example of a challenging situation you faced at work?
Candidate: Once, I had to handle a major client complaint...
Interviewer (impatiently): Come on, get to the point. I don't have all day.
Impatience, demonstrated through constant interruptions, can disrupt the flow of the interview and hinder a candidate's ability to communicate their experiences effectively. Such behavior can result in a superficial assessment of the candidate's qualifications, potentially leading to poor hiring decisions.
Interviewer: Describe a time when you had to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines.
Candidate: In my previous role, we had a project with a strict deadline...
Interviewer (interrupting): Yes, yes, I get it. You worked under pressure. Next question.
A judgmental attitude, particularly towards gaps in a candidate's education or career, can create a negative interview environment. Condescension or disapproval can discourage candidates and undermine their potential contributions. This behavior not only limits the diversity of the talent pool but also fosters a culture of intolerance.
Interviewer: I noticed you have a gap in your education. Can you explain that?
Candidate: Due to personal circumstances, I had to take a break from my studies...
Interviewer (condescendingly): Hmm, I see. We prefer candidates with a consistent academic background.
Bias can also emerge when an interviewer devalues a candidate's extracurricular activities, particularly those not directly related to the job role. By dismissing these activities, the interviewer overlooks the potential for diverse skills and perspectives that can enrich the organization.
Interviewer: So, what do you do outside of work?
Candidate: I volunteer at a local nonprofit organization and enjoy playing musical instruments...
Interviewer (disapprovingly): Ah, I'm not sure how that's relevant to this job. Let's move on.
Bias can segway into racial discrimination when interviewers demonstrate a preference for candidates from certain racial backgrounds, dismissing the qualifications and experiences of candidates from other racial groups. This kind of bias perpetuates systemic inequalities, restricts opportunities for marginalized communities, and hinders organizations from benefiting from diverse perspectives and talents.
Katz v. Tata Consultancy Services, Ltd.
In December 2022, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) had been accused of discrimination in its hiring practices in the US. Shawn Katz, a former TCS employees, had alleged that the IT major is biased towards Indian and South Asian candidates.
Handloser v. HCL America, Inc.
In March 2019, HCL Technologies Ltd. and HCL America Inc. settled a lawsuit with two men who alleged the companies hired mostly Indian and South Asian workers, including by exploiting the U.S. government’s H-1B and L-1 visa programs.
A job interview is a complex process, a delicate dance between the interviewer and interviewee. Interviewers' negative emotions - prejudice, disinterest, hostility, frustration, arrogance, indifference, anxiety, impatience, a judgmental attitude, and bias - can have profound effects on this process. Such behaviors not only undermine the candidate's confidence and ability to present their skills effectively, but they also hinder the organization's ability to identify and attract the best talent.
This exploration of negative interviewer emotions underscores the importance of maintaining professional, respectful, and balanced interactions during job interviews. For candidates, awareness of these behaviors can equip them with the resilience and strategies to navigate such challenging scenarios. For organizations and interviewers, understanding the detrimental effects of these behaviors is crucial in fostering an inclusive and respectful hiring process that truly evaluates a candidate's worth and potential.
Ultimately, a successful job interview process serves as a two-way street, one that allows both parties to evaluate each other fully and fairly. It is only through such a balanced approach that the best matches between candidates and organizations can be made, ultimately leading to fruitful professional relationships and successful careers. The course of our professional lives may indeed be shaped by our job interviews, but it is in our power to ensure that this shaping is both fair and constructive.
"What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers" by Richard N. Bolles, is available in paperback form.
#JobInterviewChallenges #NavigatingNegativity #InterviewerBehavior #CareerResilience #PositiveInterviewPractices
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Tech Topics is a newsletter with a focus on contemporary challenges and innovations in the workplace and the broader world of technology. Produced by Boston-based Conceptual Technology (http://www.conceptualtech.com), the articles explore various aspects of professional life, including workplace dynamics, evolving technological trends, job satisfaction, diversity and discrimination issues, and cybersecurity challenges. These themes reflect a keen interest in understanding and navigating the complexities of modern work environments and the ever-changing landscape of technology.
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