Landing a face-to-face interview can be exciting. However, that excitement wears off quickly when you arrive and are asked less than savory questions.
In fact, sometimes the questions directed at you are downright bad and perhaps even borderline offensive. If you’re not prepared for such a scenario, it can catch you off-guard and could quickly derail the interview. That’s why it’s important to not only be able to identify when such questions are asked, but also be prepared to handle them in the best way possible.
Below are four strategies for tackling bad interview questions:
#1—Do not be rude.
Yes, you might find yourself becoming a bit angry at the question or questions being posed, but don’t let that get the best of you. Above all else, remain professional. Stay composed and use a measured tone in your response to all questions. Being rude is the quickest way to end the interview immediately, and if you misunderstood the question, then such a reaction is really misguided.
#2—Remain upbeat and positive.
Yes, this is a step above remaining professional. Strive to infuse the interview with enthusiasm and positive energy. This will show your ability to overcome an uncomfortable (and potentially charged) situation with grace—even if the interviewers don’t realize that’s the case. Remember that all interviews serve as a training opportunity, a chance for you to get better at interviewing, and a situation such as this one will help you to hone your skills.
#3—Be open and honest.
This is excellent advice for all interview questions. However, if you’re fielding some suspect inquiries, even bad ones, you might feel compelled to stretch the truth a bit when it comes to past failures. Don’t act on that compulsion. Address all questions with 100% honesty, despite the fact they might make you uncomfortable. This is absolutely the best policy . . . even if the questions being asked could not be considered the “cream of the crop.”
#4—Focus on your growth.
Remember: you’re doing at least half of the talking, and in many cases, more than half. Use this as an opportunity to keep the focus of the conversation on your growth as a professional. Even if you must discuss a past failure, describe in as much detail as you can what you learned from that experience and how you’ve applied that knowledge to your career.
No matter what questions you’re asked during the interview, it’s important to maintain your composure and be relentless in your quest to illustrate the value you could bring to the organization.
However, in light of the interview you just endured, you might not want to work for that employer, after all.