A couple weeks ago we met The Downer and talked about ways to help determine if the role is as bad as the hiring manager makes it sound. Now, it’s time to meet The Egomaniac.
Have you ever had an interview that went like this?
Interviewer: Tell me about yourself!
Candidate: Sure. I’ve been a social media manager for the last five years, where I–
Interviewer: That’s great. I can read. But what have you done?
Candidate: I was just getting to that. When I started at my current employer, I developed a new social media marketing plan that increased engagement by 80% and–
Interviewer: 80%? Is that supposed to “wow” me? I’ve increased engagement rates by over 1000%. Engagement is just one piece of the puzzle, anyway. What about followers?
Candidate: We started at around five hundred and now we have almost nine thousand on Facebook. On Twitter–
Interviewer: Nine thousand? We’ve got almost forty thousand here.
Candidate: Well, you’re a much bigger brand that has been around awhile. We’re a start-up–
Interviewer: That’s my point. I’ve never heard of you. Your marketing plan must not be working that well
Candidate: Actually, if you look at the increase in followers in the last year–
Interviewer: See, if I was in your shoes, I’d be asking myself why I only have nine thousand followers. When I first started here, I doubled our followers in a month.
Candidate: That’s…very impressive.
Interviewer: It wasn’t easy. I was pulling seventy hour weeks, giving up my weekends. But that’s me. I don’t stop at good enough. I break records.
Candidate: Good for you!
Interviewer: Look, I’ve got more than two hundred applicants for this job. You’re my tenth interview today. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity. I’ve turned around every company I’ve worked at–quadrupled their business. You will not find a better mentor. But I’ve gotta wonder–do you want this bad enough?
Candidate: Are you sure there’s enough room for me? Your ego is making it hard to breathe.
Don’t you wish you could say that last line? If your interviewer is frequently interrupting or talking over you and/or cutting down your achievements, while boasting about their own, chances are you’re dealing with what I like to call The Egomaniac. The interviewer might not be as over-the-top as the above example, but the impact is the same. You are being made to feel small. If this is your would-be supervisor, take heed. You’re getting a taste of what your daily life might feel like. Unfortunately, unless you enjoy working for an egomaniac, taking this job probably isn’t the best idea. But that doesn’t mean you have to let them get to you.
Here are ways I’ve dealt with an egomaniac in an interview, when they’ve tried to make me feel small:
- I don’t let them rile me up. I once had an interviewer attack my website and portfolio, piece by piece. In fact, it seemed like they’d called me in just for this purpose. I listened, mentally pasting a big, red clown nose on them while they spoke (I’m a designer, after all), and reminded myself that this wasn’t about me. Plenty of employers had complimented me on my portfolio, and I had the stats to back up the success of my work. After they were done, I remained calm and thanked them for the feedback. When they called for a second interview, I told them I wasn’t interested.
- If I’m on the fence (is it them or am I just having an insecure day?), I ask them what their expectations are – what do they want me to achieve within the first three months? If their expectations are unrealistic, I know this probably isn’t the right opportunity for me.
- I vent to trusted friends and family. Let’s face it. The interview process can be brutal, and some employers can treat you very poorly throughout the process, from ghosting you after an interview to giving you false hopes. It’s normal to feel frustrated and angry. Sometimes you just need to get it all out!
- Onward and upward! When I have an interview with someone who makes me feel small, I vent about it and then I move on. Life is too short to let someone like that take up any more of my time. I’ll save my energy for the hiring managers who do see what I can offer and understand the power of positive feedback and encouragement.
Have you ever had an interview like this? How did you respond? Feel free to share your story below!