Deal with Annoying Job Interview Questions as an International Student
We've talked about setting up the right mindset to win your next interview by creating a conversation instead of setting up a stage of critique and judgment. However, some interviewers could be unprofessional. They might not show any interest in creating a conversation with you. They might intentionally make you feel that they're judging you. This is a tough case, but you can still have that right mindset: I'm here to have a conversation, not be judged or critiqued.
When you experience this kind of situation, I'd like you to stand up for yourself. You've worked so hard for each job interview and you don't want anyone to waste your time, right? Let me show you how to deal with these unprofessional employers gracefully and professionally.
First – don't be submissive
What I like about American culture is that people don't keep quiet when they feel they're being taken advantages of or losing benefits. From the Asian culture perspective, being obedient and paying respect to employers are considered good virtues. It is not going to work in America. You could be seen as a weak if you let others manipulate you. You need to stand up for yourself and speak up.
Second – be polite but start redirecting the conversation
If the conversation in the interview is going the wrong way and nobody is benefiting from it, you should redirect it. An example of this would be if the employer keeps talking about the same old stuff that was discussed before in the phone interview (which you had passed and got invited to the in-person interview). Unfortunately, they don’t move on to the next level and are “stuck” with your unmatched background. You could say something like "I'm so sorry to interrupt but I'm a little bit confused about the objective of this interview is. We've gone through my background and I've indicated my interest in this role even though it's new for me. With all respect to your time, I'd like us to move on and discuss what I can bring to the table. I'd like to discuss how can I help the team, especially how I can help you as a direct report."
Sometimes, you might even experience being stood up on the phone call. If that happens, send out an email and provide your next availabilities for another interview. Be aggressive about it and take control of the situation.
You will gain more respect that way. As an employer, taking control of the situation could represent your high potentiality.
It sounds like I'm telling you to be confident and speak your mind, right? That's not exactly what it is. I'd prefer calling this being assertive and professional. I'm very careful about "being confident" as overconfidence can kill your chance of getting a job, is something I will talk about in my next blog.
I hope this blog helps you feel more self-assured with your next job interview.
As I always say "Nothing great ever comes that easy", it requires an effective game plan + practice.
Good luck with your career search!
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