Sticky Interview Situations

An InterviewRecently, a young friend of mine, Mary, walked into a second interview for a job she coveted. She immediately noticed a photo of the interviewer’s wife—who happened to be her old boss from her summer internship. This would seem a great opportunity for ice-breaking conversation, but to make matters complicated, Mary had a full-time job offer pending from the wife.

She was in a quandary; should she acknowledge that she knew the spouse, and how, or let this ice-breaking opportunity go?

Here in the Career Center, we love to advise you on how to express yourself in an interview— we’ll help you craft that perfect response to the always tricky “tell me about yourself”.  But even our savvy advisors can’t think of all the sticky situations you might encounter in an interview.   It’s a small world out there- chances are you’ll run into a sticky situation in an interview yourself.   Think about these basic rules when faced with with your own unpredictable interview drama:

  • Never bash former colleagues or bosses — the employer can’t know if it’s you or them, and will be concerned that you have a negative attitude
  • Don’t disclose information that you’d rather the employer not know
  • Keep the focus on your professional qualifications.  Avoid in-depth conversation about your personal life– if the interviewer turns out to have personal connections, talk briefly about the coincidence then ask some questions about the job.
  • Be positive at all times
  • Handle stressful situations calmly

Back to Mary.  She was excited to see the photo of her old boss, so she told the interviewer how she knew his wife.  The interviewer immediately called his wife and they chatted about Mary– during the interview!  Mary then told the interviewer how much she had enjoyed that internship and working for his wife.  She left feeling the interview went well and that she had great rapport with the employer- yet she did not get the offer.    We can’t know for sure, but we suspect the interviewer decided he didn’t want to compete with his wife in hiring Mary.

Have you ever been involved in a sticky, dramatic, or just plain crazy interview?  Tell us about it!