I once interviewed for a communications position but spent the time watching as one of the interviewers texted on his phone, played with his coffee and generally showed no interest in the interview.

Interviews can be tedious to companies trying to find the right fit for their open positions but this gentleman had obviously checked out for the day. His co-interviewer did try to conduct the interview but it was obvious that the process had been derailed.

When I received a follow-up phone call in a few days asking if I was willing to come in for a second interview, I turned it down. I explained that the actions of his colleague soured me on the position.

His behaviour told me a lot about him and possibly about the company.

1. Expectations

Companies expect interviewees to be professional and skilled. Interviewees should also expect interviewers to be professional and skilled. The company is not doing you a favour, it’s looking for top talent to join the business. By acting in an unprofessional manner, interviewers will lose the chance at hiring top talent.


2. Company Culture

Imagine being treated unprofessionally during an interview. If you took the job, can you imagine how you might be treated as an employee? First impressions count always count and thanks to social media, a company can’t hide a poor culture anymore.

So how can you deal with a bad interview?

1. Remain professional

He might not have been professional but since his colleague was; I responded to him. Remaining professional meant remaining positive and not showing negative emotion.

2. Stay focussed

As much as I wanted to stare as he texted, I knew I was still in the interview. Should this happen, just remain focussed on the task at hand – interviewing for the position.

3. Ask questions

By asking questions, I learned more about the company culture and the position.

So what happened? The distracted interviewer was told what I had said and called me to tell me very strongly and defensively that he was, in fact, listening to the interview and he was taking it very seriously.

Needless to say, I didn’t continue with the interviewing process.