Preparing For The Unexpected At Job Interviews

diverse recruitment

Planning and preparation can lead to successful interviews, but every interview has subjective criteria of what they want in candidates.

Common interview questions give limited insight into candidates’ perspectives and abilities due to the expectations of how to answer certain questions through i.e. the STAR Method. Candidates are used to this interview format but these questions do not give an insight into candidates’ perspectives.


Some questions used by hiring managers are intended to probe you to see how you react under pressure and when caught off guard.

Interviewers can ask open-end questions with no direct link to the role you are applying to but this has an indirect link to interview outcome as you are still being put to the test and compared against other candidates for questions that require answers met with transparency.

From the first impression once you meet upon meeting the interviewer they may appear uninterested or cold. This is one of the tests set by the interviewer and you should ensure you do not mirror their behaviour as you have to remember you are the candidate that still needs to make an impression. Be conscious of your nonverbal communication such as your facial expressions, body language and tone of voice towards the interviewers and others.

Depending on an interviewer’s style some may take approaches where they choose the hostile interview approach. This approach is to test your emotional intelligence which will be shown in conditions met with some discomfort but it is vital to know that how you react to this gives an indication of how you will be as a colleague for the hiring manager.

Unexpected Challenges

Some employers would want to test more of your emotional intelligence by seeing how you would react to unprepared and unrehearsed challenges. These can be subtle such as lateness in which your first instinct may make you feel that your time is not being taken seriously with an interview being pushed back from the scheduled time.

Seeing other candidates when you have an interview can be an awkward interaction where although you may smile and if you engage in conversation and wish each other luck this is another mental test that can be orchestrated by employers to ensure they get the best out of candidates.

There are questions in an interview that are off-limits pertaining to protected characteristics and family status and if you are asked questions that are off-limits this is a red flag that may indicate the company culture or a lack of training for interviews from the company. Have boundaries at interviews as if invasive behaviour and unprofessionalism is present at interviews this will most likely continue into employment.