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Contingency Planning for Interview Emergencies

Help!! Emergency!! What do you do if….

You’ve overslept or are in a traffic jam, and you’re going to be late.
Call your contact person at the company immediately. Apologize without going into detail. Very politely inquire whether you should continue proceeding to the interview or whether it would be more convenient to reschedule. Obviously, this scenario should be avoided whenever possible. Remember to have your cell phone with you and charged!

What do you do when the interviewer is unprepared, untrained or behind schedule? Or the interview just isn’t moving along productively?
Unskilled interviewers likely won’t take control of the interview. They may monopolize the conversation, telling and not asking, and not give you the chance to prove you are the best fit for the job.

When the interview is going nowhere, it’s time for you to take control! Say something like, “From what I understand from the recruiter and the research I’ve done, this position involves creating all advertising to support a new product launch in the 4th quarter. Is this correct? If you could explain the job in more detail, I can give you examples of similar experience I’ve had.”

Oops! The interviewer has just asked an inappropriate, potentially unlawful question. What do you do?
Most interviewers are trained to ask only job-related questions. Occasionally, however, poorly trained interviewers will stray into potentially discriminatory areas – personal information, such as marital status, age, religion, disabilities, racial or ethnic background, etc. What are your options?

To the extent possible, you always want to minimize the disclosure of such information in an interview. You can certainly refuse to answer, especially if you feel very uncomfortable with the question. Know that doing so may cost you the job.

You can try to change the topic, redirect the conversation and avoid answering the question. For example, to a question like “Will taking care of your children interfere with the responsibilities of this job?;” you could answer, “Can you tell me what you see as the major responsibilities of the job?”

You can answer the “intent” of the question. To the same question just cited, you could answer by saying something like, “I know there is considerable travel on this job. My previous job required a lot of travel as well. I have no problems with that.”

In any case, the fact that such a question was asked should cause you to rethink whether or not you still have interest in the company.

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