The HR Mindset 003: What do you do to a bully who’s interviewing you?


I’ve been asked so many hard questions in my life, in fact some I’ve gotten away with answering off head but this one was so hard I had to take two days to think about the response lest I came off as Mabirizi but then again that is a story for another day.

So someone in-boxed me on Sunday saying

Hi Sarah,
I have been following your blog and I have been seeing your posts about the HR mindset. I would like you to give me some advice. Recently I went for an interview and the interviewer kept on chuckling and saying uh huh every after she asked me a question. In a way I felt like she was trying her best to show me that I couldn’t get any question right.

After answering four questions, I couldn’t take it anymore so I started saying pass to every question that was asked after that. My friends say I should have gone ahead and just answered the questions but I realized midway the interview I couldn’t let myself be disrespected and laughed at all in the name of a job. If you were in my position, what would you have done?


First off I want to say, I have never been in your position so I cannot say you reacted badly what I can say is if you have peace with the decision that you made, that is all you need. Trouble comes when your mind and soul are not in line with that decision. That is when you start listening to the criticism of your family and friends after you tell them how the interview went. But I can clearly see you are not at peace with your decision so here are my two cents;

# One: I never work for anyone I don’t respect
I don’t know about you but as for me, I can never spend a day or minute working with someone I don’t respect. So yes, I think I would have also said Pass to the rest of the questions or even better asked her to act professional because she is interviewing a professional.

walk out of interview

# Two: I would have walked out of the interview
I would excuse myself and walk out of that interview and tell her next time they have a serious person conducting the interview they should give me a call. I may certainly not get that call but I’ll have toned down the bully for the next person that comes in the room after me.

I know most young professionals think if you put up a begging front you have a better chance of getting that job but in hindsight you forget that if you get hired, the boss or HR will treat you like a doormat and you’ll most likely never get promoted. Walking out of the interview shows the HR that you are a serious person that is not willing to be toyed with.

# Three: Ask him/her an unrelated question and watch how their faces change
Have you ever been somewhere and a guy from nowhere says, I think I know you? Or I have seen you somewhere but I don’t quite well remember? That line could be a life saver at a job interview because you’ll raise his/ her curiosity.

So if she/he starts chuckling, take a minute, pose and say, I think I recognize you…their and then you’ll take the attention, off yourself and he/she’ll slowly by slowly start battling with the idea of being rude to someone who could potentially know them. Human beings are naturally wired not to be rude or bully people they know or who could potentially know someone they know.

in love with herself

# Four: Be so deeply in love with yourself that you recognize that, that bully interviewing you is wounded or immature
In life you’ve got to be deeply in love with yourself to realize that bullies or people who misbehave are craving attention or have been denied something. Sometimes you’ve got to realize that not everybody who is on the interview team is for you. It could be that the HR wanted their relative or friend to get the job but they were never short listed and you happen to be, so that alone gives them the need to try and bully you to nurse an underlying grudge or pain.

# Five: Could it be the way you presented yourself
Most times we are so fast in blaming others for our own inadequacies when we should in fact look out for them and straighten them. May be it was the way you were dressed or the way you answered the first question or the bully recognized a lack of confidence and so they decided to prey on that.

Lastly I will say jobs are like dating, if the first man doesn’t take you, trust me there is a John out there warming up for your coming so keep applying, keep putting yourself out there and the right people will look at your CV once and hire you without a single chuckle.

You may find the following books useful;Book 6: Challenge the status quo and read with me.

As the old adage goes…knowledge is power. So read on and empower yourself from the bullies.


No Comments Yet.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published.

Read previous post:

Today is the 12th day. It is also the 12th time I have tried to prove a couple of HR’s...