During an interview the other day, I noticed the interviewer dropping F-bombs in mid-conversation. At first, I felt a little like it threw me off my game. I wasn’t expecting to hear that type of language in an interview, but I quickly realized it was actually an aversion tactic. This particular individual was trying to shock me. They were attempting to see what I would do or how I would react when the situation became uncomfortable, or out of the norm.
Don’t show your interview cards
When your interviewing party decides they want to throw you a curveball the best thing you can do is not react. I’m definitely an advocate for adapting, but a reaction is more of an impulsive term. In this particular scenario, I continued answering questions without any facial expressions that would indicate I was shocked or startled. In fact, I tried my best to look like I had expected it. I focused on the actual questions and formulating answers that would demonstrate my knowledge and ability.
Be the interview pack leader
Just as dogs, people like to quickly establish a pecking order. Although we do so in a verbal way most of the time. In this particular scenario, my interviewer was attempting to dishevel me to throw me off balance. This technique could also have been an attempt to take control. Once my confidence and concentration had been interrupted, they could dominate the interview by repeatedly questioning all aspects of my answers.
Perhaps this is a good time to explain that the interviewer was, in fact, a lawyer. Intimidation tactics are not foreign to lawyers. Salespeople are quite accustomed to these tactics as well.
Acting and adapting are unfortunately incredibly successful skills to attain when job hunting. Your ability to read the mood, energy level and body language of the interviews are imperative. Once you have established where they are and how they feel, you have to quickly adapt and cater to it with your own behavior and tone.
Try to relate or find commonality with your interviewer. Ask them a question or two to gain insight into what appeals to them, and then explain how their interest is a shared one. This time of memorable experience will establish a human connection. Your interviewer will not only remember you, but they will positively remember the things you had in common.
In F-Bomb interview closing
For the record, I don’t condone or recommend anyone dropping F-bombs during an interview. If it really makes you uncomfortable, then, by all means, tell your interviewer that you don’t appreciate that type of language. You don’t have to tolerate any type of language that you feel is offensive in an interview situation. You don’t have to tolerate any behavior or circumstance that makes you uncomfortable as well. Always be true to yourself.
I stayed simply because I was curious. I needed to understand the why and figure out the solution to this type of interview style. But what interests me, and it’s part of the reason I love this job.