When interviewers play dirty: are you being pumped for your knowledge?

The nature of modern-day recruitment combined with businesses' extreme desire to progress can lead to underhand tricks at the interviewing stage

In more and more cases, candidates are being asked to come back for multiple interviews for the same job, often finding that they remain ‘un-hired’ after all their trouble and the vacancy conveniently becomes redundant. This is because firms are deploying dirty tactics to try to pump knowledgeable candidates for business solutions without having to give them anything in return.

While many job-seekers are willing to stay in the interview process for as long as it takes – believing, of course, that they are still in with a chance of landing the role – it pays to be prudent and recognise the signs that might suggest you are being taken advantage of in the interview process. If you believe this could be the case, here are some tips on how to approach it.

Understand the interview process

Knowing the length and nature of the interview process will help you to understand if and when any underhand questioning may crop up. The first stage is likely to be a screening process with an HR representative, who is unlikely to be probing for you for any information other than the basics – this is purely a formality to get you through to the next stage. After this, the questioning may become more focused and personal and will probably be with your prospective boss.

A further meeting with management may then be necessary; however, the company should have a good idea what you are about and whether you are the right fit by this stage. Be wary of any more than three interviews that do not appear to have a clear objective – or an offer! Keep an eye out for interviewers who seem to be jotting down everything you say about your ‘theoretical’ ideas for progression or problem solving within the company.

Ask questions

During the process, don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer key questions about the role, particularly about any issues within the company. Not only does this move the interview into conversational territory but also it gives you the opportunity to probe for any issues within the company that might require your specialist knowledge. It also gives you the chance to showcase your knowledge on your terms.

If you are asked any questions about how you would solve certain issues, be sure not to give direct solutions away; instead, speak about them hypothetically, reminding the interviewer that you would need to spend time within the firm to fully understand its issues and objectives.

Just say no

Understand that your time is valuable and know when to call it a day. If you are constantly turning up, putting on a good performance and dishing out advice yet there is still no sign of a start date, be cautious about coming back for a fifth or sixth interview. Make the interviewers aware that you are busy and need to see a clear reason for meeting them again.

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