How to Deal With a Rude Interviewer

All job interviews are somewhat stressful, but when the person interviewing you is downright rude, it can be an absolutely horrible experience.

The good news is that should you find yourself sitting across a table from a rude interviewer, there are some things you can do to make the interview a little less painful.

If you’re preparing for an upcoming interview, keep reading. These are the tips and tricks you need to know to best handle a rude interviewer.  

Keep Calm

The single best way to handle a rude interviewer is to keep calm. Never let their bad attitude rub off on you. The interviewer might not even recognize their own rudeness, but you can be sure they’ll recognize yours.

If you’re asked a rude question, take a deep breath and answer it as professionally as possible. Don’t snap back or get defensive.

It’s also important to note that some interviewers are rude on purpose. 

Sometimes it’s their way of testing you to see how well you can handle conflict and problem solve. There’s a difference between rudeness and hostility, so if the interviewer just seems to have a bit of attitude, roll with the punches. If their attitude turns hostile, you’ll need to take a different approach.

Maintain Your Confidence

Don’t let the interviewer’s rudeness rattle you. Respond to their questions the same way you would if the interviewer was sweet, personable, and kind. Maintain eye contact and display self-confidence through both your words and body language.

Even if the interviewer sits with their hands and legs crossed in a defensive position, don’t mirror their body language. Sit with your shoulders back and chin up to show a positive, professional appearance.

Steer the Conversation in the Direction You Want

It usually doesn’t take long to pick up on the fact that an interviewer is being rude, but it can take longer to figure out why.

The first thing to remember is that their rudeness might not be directed at you at all. It’s possible they’re just having a bad day.

As soon as there’s a break in the conversation, take the opportunity to ask them a question to steer the conversation in a different direction. Asking an interviewer how long they’ve been with the company or what it is that they enjoy about working there is sometimes all it takes to ease the tension.

If you can’t work in a question of your own, try replying to the interviewer by starting your answer with that’s a great question. Acknowledging their good behavior as opposed to their bad behavior may encourage them to tamp down their rude tone.  

Address the Issue

If at any point the interviewer shifts from being rude to acting hostile, you might want to address the issue outright.

Ask if they’d like to reschedule the interview for a time that’s more convenient for them. This is a subtle way to acknowledge that they’re not demonstrating good behavior and make them aware that you’re well aware of it.

Stay On Your Game

It’s important to stay on top of your game no matter how the interviewer behaves or responds. Even if you feel as though the interview is going horribly, take a few moments at the end of the conversation to turn things around.

You can do this by asking questions you’ve prepared ahead of time regarding things like company culture, the next steps in the hiring process, or employment contracts. This allows you to end the interview on a positive note with the interviewer answering the questions and takes you out of the hot seat.

Want to learn more about what questions to ask?

Read this article to learn what questions will help you understand company culture and check out this article from Physicians Thrive to learn more about contract review.

Maintain Your Boundaries

No matter how much you may want or need the job, if an interviewer turns hostile or you start to feel unsafe or fearful, you do not have to sit there and take it. You are always free to get up, end the interview, and leave at any point in time. Don’t feel as though you need to sit there and endure their verbal abuse.

Leaving in the middle of the interview probably won’t land you the job, but it might be the best thing for your safety and your mental health.

In Conclusion

Not all interviewers are created equal, so if you come across a rude one, knowing how to handle them is key.

Should you interview with a rude or angry person, consider how that might affect your ability to perform if you do get the job. If the rude interviewer is someone you’ll be working with every day, it might be best not to accept the job, even if they make you a great offer.