When you land an interview, you probably hear dress professionally, sit up straight, ask thought provoking questions, do your research on the company and the role, and close them on moving forward in the process.
These are all the basics when meeting with a company who is trying to qualify you for a role – pretty straight forward. But what if the company is not trying to qualify you? Instead they are trying to disqualify you. In this market, companies are more careful than ever with whom they hire. They will not only qualify you on your ability and culture fit but they will also push on you in the interview process to see how tough you are.
There are a few ways that a potential employer will do this – they may ask about your background and keep digging into your resume to see how well you know your story. It will sometimes come across as an interrogation. Other times, they may ask about how well you know the company and their products. They will ask in depth questions – some questions may be next to impossible to answer. Sometimes, they will voice their concerns about you and your background. They want to know how well you answer these concerns and put them to rest.
Whatever their approach is, there is one sole purpose for them to do it – to see if you take it personal, get emotional, and take yourself out of the process. Here are my words of advice:
Don't be fooled by your emotions and get taken out of the game.
All of these tactics are parallel to a sales process – a potential buyer is going to give you every reason in the book why they should not buy from you. Your job, as a sales person, is to overcome those objections and close them down. Same deal in the interview.
If they are pushing on you and digging into your story, asking you direct questions – take accountability for your background, give them direct answers and to take the heat off you, ask them a follow up question to get them talking about themselves.
If they are digging into your knowledge of the company and you have told them everything you know about the company – tell them that. "I have been on your website and some other resources and this is the extent of my knowledge thus far. What are some of the things that you think are a must know about your company?" Put it back on them. What you don't want to do is get flustered and start making stuff up. If you do that in an interview then they are going to think that you would make stuff up when you are selling for them.
If they are voicing concerns about your background – thank them for their candor, answer the concern and ask them what else concerns them. The most important thing to remember is to not get emotional about it. This is a job interview and it is not supposed to be all gum drops and lollipops. It is supposed to be hard and at times, uncomfortable. Of course, if you cannot find one redeemable quality about the job or the people that you are interviewing with, well then it is probably not the right fit. But if you are enjoying the process and then there is a meeting that sounds like the above, don't fall for it. Instead, keep your head in the game, compartmentalize your emotions, be a professional, and close the deal.
Never let your emotions get the best of you during the interview process – once you are through the process and you get an offer – then it is time to get emotional, get happy and go celebrate.