Have you ever left an interview or meeting with a company and wondered why you felt a bit uneasy or had a sour taste in your mouth? It is time to pay attention to what your gut is telling you and figure out how to turn it around.

Why Passive Candidates Require Special Handing by Brad Remillard, Partner Impact Hiring Solutions tells a compelling story about an executive who decides to walk away from an opportunity…simply because of how he was treated in the interview process. Why the company felt they could be so nonchalant with a candidate who was not actively looking for a job is clearly a sign of arrogance or bad manners.

Let’s take this a step further.

As some of the commenters have pointed out, this is often the same situation for candidates who are conducting an active job search because of unemployment or unhappiness with their current employer.  It really does not matter the reason why you are looking, what it boils down to is you have control over how other people are going to react to you more than you think.

Companies still use antiquated interviewing styles

In Remillard’s story, the Human Resources, exiting manager and CEO all followed the traditional chronological interviewing technique. Why do they do this? Sometimes, it is done because they want to check for inconsistencies in what you say or it could simply be they don’t know to do anything else. Either way, they are missing out of learning more about you.

If you find yourself in this situation, put the concern on the table quickly. Interviewing with the exiting manager is a golden opportunity to find out what challenges the position represents – most likely the manager will be forthcoming since they are leaving.

When they start out with the traditional interviewing technique, ask them how they are expecting to spend the time with you. This will provide an opportunity for you to influence how much time you have to ask your questions.

Get skilled at getting your interviewer off track. Navigate how the discussion is going by asking your follow up questions during the time you are sharing with them information about yourself. A useful tactic is to turn the question back on them. For example, if they ask about what kind of manager you like to work for, ask them to give you some examples of their working relationships with the management team.

Pay attention to the clues

If the interviewers are locked into a specific format and are unwilling to be flexible with your needs, what does that tell you? This is the time when all parties should be on their best behavior. If their attention to detail, tardiness and lack of communication or information are troubling, count on it not being better as an employee.

Candidates let the company control the interview

Before you step into a company, remember you have the option to say “no” it is not a good fit for me. It can be hard to remember this is an option. Often we let our mental picture of unemployment or feeling despair from repeated rejections impact decisions. In many of those cases where you did not get the job, did you really want it?

Candidates, who jump at any offer, often find themselves back on the street within six months because of a mismatch.

Ask yourself this question: Am I going to something I want or am I running away from something I dislike?

Don’t Lose Yourself in the Process

When I meet people who struggle with their interviews, invariably I sense a lack of confidence in them. As they impart their stories, (similar to passive executive) unknowingly they share an insight – they are changing their personality or approach so that the company will want them.  I call it the chameleon effect.

“Is this really what you want?” I ask.

“Well, it is what all the books and the outplacement firm are telling me” is the general response.

My advice is to be you and be confident in knowing you will be selective about whom you work with. It is better to find out if there is a match before you start working, especially when it comes to differences in values, behaviors or approach.