What you can do to defend yourself

Discussion: What to do when an interview goes wrong

For job hunters, the way an interview is conducted is important, as we've seen in Part 1.

A badly conducted hiring process is no recommendation for the employer. These are very basic competencies. Every company on Earth can do them properly, and if you happen to be one of the lucky few who find an employer who seems clueless on the basics, you might want to reconsider your application.

Nobody, least of all the employment market, claims the interview process to be foolproof. Everybody's learned through experience that it isn't.

However, it is a working methodology. Screening interviews, and various kinds of interview, including role play and stress interviews are used to at least improve quality. This adds a bit to the load on job applicants, but on the whole, these additional quality controls are helpful.

If you, as an applicant, find yourself on the receiving end of a low standard of interview, and it does happen more often than people realize, you need to consider self defence as a priority. There are a few things you can do to give yourself a chance if you consider the interview to be working against you:

  1. Ask for clarification of questions. That's a legitimate request.
  2. Terminate the interview yourself. You may well be wasting your time, and be being put through a futile process.
  3. Finish the interview, and then ask to see the manager. If you have a complaint, you might as well use your time to share the problem where you may get a fairer hearing.
  4. If you consider you were treated unfairly, you can research your options. These vary depending on your nationality, but most Western countries do have some form of advisory service for job applicants in these cases.

This might seem drastic, but you don't have much to lose, when you're sure the interview is working against you. You may, also get a fair hearing from management, whereas by doing nothing, you get nothing.

Profiting from experience- How to avoid the problems

If you've ever done an interview where you know you were just taking up space, with no real chance of getting the job, you'll know how infuriating all that wasted effort can be. These are hours of your life being wasted, and you don't have to put up with that, not even for a second.

You can see the dud job ads, if you know what to look for, and know the normal signs of trashy employers.

There are quite a few telltales to look out for, and they're almost as bad as the Get Rich Quick ads on the net:

  • Vague terminology
  • Promises of big rewards with a lack of specifics
  • No indications of an actual pay scale
  • No essentials
  • No clear indications of the duties involved.
  • Frequent repeat ads from the employer
  • No contact for inquiries
  • No answer from contact person
  • Employment agency doesn't know anything about the job itself
  • Lots of spiel about how great the job is, no details
  • Wants young, enthusiastic people
  • No experience necessary
  • Travel opportunities, as well as no specifics.

Impressive list, isn't it? These alone are usually breaches of advertising laws, in many cases, let alone employment laws. None of this means anything. It's a sales pitch, and a pretty amateurish one. The ads are bordering on, if not actually fraudulent, with the very rare exception, usually in low paying jobs.

Vague terminology

Means no commitment from the employer. Not to be trusted. Bona fide employers are making a commitment, by definition.

Promises of big rewards with a lack of specifics

Christmas really does only come once a year. Ignore anything of this sort.

No indications of an actual pay scale

That's because pay isn't on the advertiser's mind. There may not be any pay, if it's commission only, or just no pay period, with the ultra cheapskate slave drivers in direct marketing.

No essentials

This can mean the person with the job has to do everything, and the so called employer isn't saddled with inconveniences like limitations on the workload. If there are no qualifications or other requirements, there's probably no real guarantee of a real job.

No clear indications of the duties involved.

The employer isn't restricted in the duties of the job. You can be cook bottlewasher and janitor, as well as a sales rep and unpaid administrator.

Frequent repeat ads from the employer

This means, invariably, a high turnover employer. Take the hint, don't bother. These ads come from office job/call centre types of employers as well as the shoddy sales type, and the jobs are horrendous.

No contact for inquiries

The employer is either an idiot or doesn't care. An almost guaranteed waste of time for job applicants.

No answer from contact person

Problem solved. The employer is an idiot. For a definite waste of an employer's own time, just don't deal with job enquiries, then be mystified at the lousy quality of applications you get. Not worth an applicant's time.

Employment agency doesn't know anything about the job itself

Not good for applicants, because the lack of detail is practically asking for a waste of effort. Also not encouraging in that the employer couldn't be bothered, or didn't consider it important, for the agency to be able to deal with inquiries.

Lots of spiel about how great the job is, no details

Forget any ad that looks like this. They're always terrible jobs, and the pay, if any, is pitiful. No real employer is stupid enough to commit to great returns, particularly in sales jobs. Ask any professional sales person, and you'll get horror stories about this kind of job.

Wants young, enthusiastic people

This means Wants people who don't know what they're getting themselves into. It also means people who don't know their rights or the basic fact that they're being exploited. Avoid ads like this like a sexually transmitted disease.

No experience necessary

Similar to, but not the same, as the ads for young people. Usually means We're hiring ignoramuses, unless it's in sales or some sort of menial work, where some do pay, but many don't.

Travel opportunities, as well as no specifics.

These ads are for some of the worst, most traumatic, and in some cases dangerous, jobs on Earth. The sheer number of complaints about this entire class of job are as good a recommendation as any to steer well clear.

Legitimate jobs involving travel are almost entirely not for inexperienced people. There are some very low level jobs on tourist cruises and related types of jobs where these do relate to actual paying work, usually sales jobs. They're not Get Rich Quick, nor are they career path types of job.

The other side of the interview is always an indicator of the quality of the job, the pay, and the employer. Learn that lesson, and you've learned a truly valuable way of saving your own time and effort.