The Power Dynamics in Job Interviews and The Unhealthy Tolerance

diverse recruitment

Abuse of power and authority whilst interviewing can be traumatising for candidates.  

Unfortunately, rude and inexperienced interviewers do exist and job searchers feel they have to be obligated to tolerate the toxic behaviour in hopes that ignoring these red flags will not hinder their chances in the hiring process. Interviews should be about a healthy conversation between a candidate and employer on capabilities and “fit”.

What does fit exactly mean?

The term culture fit could be subjective to an organisations culture but overall culture fit in short means that adding a certain candidate to the workforce will not cause any change to the dynamic within teams and individuals.

Employers may seek to find individuals similar to themselves in which could unconsciously become discriminatory against protected classes. In some cases in order to filter through the preferred candidate employers can give other candidates a ‘hard time’ deliberately using the power dynamics that can make candidates impuissant.


Depending on the conduct of an interviewer there can be a lack of professionalism which can lead to minimal boundaries being set at the interview. Questions that may not have clear relevance to the vacant position may be asked and with no boundaries leads to an unexpected level of intrusion in which candidates are expected to give an answer no matter how intrusive a question may be.

Some questions asked can be just to know and abuse the authority of the interviewer position such as questions pertaining to previous or current salary, long term goals, 

During an interview, some questions asked may be uncomfortable and intrusive for a candidate but owing to the power dynamic in which if a candidate speaks up for themselves or disagrees with an interviewer the candidate can risk their prospects within the hiring process becoming less likeable. 

For candidates, an unpleasant candidate experience is usually a red flag from the company that it may be toxic and problems will be encountered within employment at the company if successful at the interview. During the interview, candidates will have to be tested which is expected but the approach and experience should be pleasant and respectful.

Recruiting talent should be far less about ego and cliques but unfortunately, the recruitment process has been broken over the years and employee retention has decreased. This can be solved with clear communication throughout the recruitment process, self-accountability from the hiring teams and measuring candidate experiences in a non-biased manner.