Emotions and feelings in the interview: insulted applicants?

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Text comes from: ERFOLGSERPROBTE EINSTELLUNGSINTERVIEWS: Wie Sie mit professionellen Fragen die passenden Mitarbeiter finden (2016) from Uta Rohrschneider, published by BusinessVillage Verlag, Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.

In the job interview, some candidates react insulted or snappy to questions that they cannot prepare for. In doing so, they show one thing above all: your excessive demands.

job interview011

Here writes for you:


Uta Rohrschneider UtaUta Rohrschneider is Managing Partner of grow.up. Management consulting.


The thing about the implicit rules

Often, this is because they feel it is unfair to ask such questions or feel that they are intentionally presented in a poorer light.

They assume that the rules of the game are implicit, that is, they think: "I prepare well and you ask me about it." These candidates confuse the interview, which is supposed to get to know each other, with a test situation. You should take the perspective of the HR manager who has to find out whether applicants really fit the company.

What you can recognize by irrelevant questions

One possibility that HR staff have with them and that is very irritating to applicants: They can ask questions about the current interview situation - or questions that are irrelevant to the suitability assessment of the applicant, for example whether he prefers to drink still or carbonated water. What can you find out?

But also seemingly harmless, irrelevant questions For example the above-mentioned after the mineral water by the reaction of the applicant many conclusions. Among other things, you can find out the following:

  • Does the applicant get upset?
  • Does he openly reveal his irritation or surprise at the question, or does he not mind?
  • Does he answer the question promptly or does he have to think about what he tells you for a long time?
  • Is he even willing to answer questions that have nothing to do with the vacant position?

Questions about the interview situation

Questions about the current interview situation have the advantage that you can get a direct feedback from the applicant to his current state of mind. For example with the following questions:

  • How do you rate the interview?
  • What do you think the conversation is going well for you so far?
  • How do you like our communication?
  • Do you think I have a good impression of you?
  • Why should I have a good impression of you?
  • What do you think right now, at this moment?
  • How are you feeling right now?
  • Do you feel comfortable?
  • What is going through your head?
  • Which of your answers in this interview are you going to be annoyed with afterwards?
  • Do you still feel like the conversation?
  • How do you find me as a conversation partner?
  • Would you like to go elsewhere now?
  • Are you in a good mood today?
  • Do not have any questions about me?
  • Would you like to take a break now?
  • How do you find our company name?
  • What do you associate with our company?

If the applicant feels provoked

If you make provocative statements, applicants can also react angrily because they view your provocation as personal criticism and this is your reaction to such criticism.

Think about it at this point: How often does the applicant face such a situation in his job? And: How important is it to keep the rest in this situation?

Example: When offended responding applicants disqualify themselves

Let's assume that you want to hire a customer service representative at a bank. He should take care of the complaint management. Can you afford to have this employee react to complaints and criticism from customers in a personally offended manner? Probably not. Can such a situation occur in everyday working life?

An angry reaction is also conceivable. For example, the candidate can roll his eyes or openly express his annoyance. This may be because he feels that you are not taking him seriously, interrupting him or having fun with him. The source of his annoyance may be the uncertainty that you caused in him by your surprising question.

What is the reaction?

Again, it is important that you think about whether such a situation can occur in your day-to-day work and how potentially angry reaction could be beneficial or harmful. If you have succeeded in surprising your candidate with your question, the next step is to closely monitor his reaction to the question.

The first reaction is often the same: surprise or surprise. It comes reflexively in response to the fact that you have disturbed the candidate's thought. He has expected another question or another subject and his amazement is an expression of that.

After this first surprise effect has subsided, which can only take a few fractions of a second, the applicant's follow-up reaction begins. This can now be quite different.

Positive or negative?

It is difficult to assess these responses as entirely positive or negative, since the assessment depends on the requirements of the position and the company. Our interpretation of the typical reactions that we list below for you is therefore deliberately general.

A possible reaction of the candidate is a long silence. This is often neither positive nor negative, since there is only a suggestion that the candidate was not prepared and therefore takes more time to think about a possible answer.

Is a quick response basically better?

If he has always answered very quickly, almost like shot from the gun, this gives you at least the information that the candidate was well prepared for the other questions.

The opposite reaction, a very fast response from the candidate, can be interpreted in at least two directions. The first is the possibility that the candidate was not really surprised because he was prepared for your question.

How important is this ability for the job

However, this is less likely to be the case, since classical or standardized questions are mainly asked in the majority of the applications. The second possibility of the interpretation is that the candidate is very quick-witted and quickly knows an answer to untypical questions.

In this case, it is up to you to assess whether this is a requirement that will also be useful to him in his endeavor. If so, it is a good thing that he could answer the question quickly or respond to you with something ready to go.

When applicants ask

Applicants are often so irritated by your question that you can hardly believe what they have just heard. And react accordingly. For example, it is not uncommon for applicants to ask again, for example whether they understand correctly, whether this is really your question, whether they expect a serious answer from them, etc.

At this point, you can ask the candidate for an answer again to see how he continues to respond. Inquiring can be an indication that the candidate is unsure and wants to reassure himself before answering.

Spontaneously - or not?

However, he can also use such a demand in order to gain time for himself and thus to think about an answer longer.

No matter how you assess a candidate's request, it is definitely not a sign of quick, spontaneous, or flexible behavior. Because this would mean that the candidate simply answers the question.

When candidates laugh

An also often observed behavior is that the candidate starts laughing. A laughter from the candidate can have a variety of reasons. One possibility is that the candidate amuses himself about your question or statement, because it is absurd to him, and from the context seized.

This is a perfectly understandable reaction, considering that the question actually comes very suddenly and in some cases no recognizable one Sense results. Another reason, however, may be that the candidate's laugh is an embarrassed laugh.

What is the significance of the behavior?

This laughter occurs when people are embarrassed by a situation or they do not know exactly how to react. If this is the case, you can ask yourself again: How relevant is the behavior shown for my decision? What does it say about the match of the candidate?

Generally speaking, about questions that serve the surprise of the candidate, say that you can get from observing the response of the candidates, important information about them. However, you can only ask a certain number of such surprising questions in a job interview.

Limit the number of surprises

Excessive use leads to a disruption in the flow of interviews or complete uncertainty and disorientation of your candidate. This would then for your suitability decision of great disadvantage.

The use of surprising questions should therefore be well balanced. It is especially recommended if you feel that you are dealing with a candidate who is not authentic.

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  1. Stefan Wehmeier

    “Neither liberalism nor socialism can solve the social question in its historical form (note: we are not beyond that to this day!). The real solution in the form of the natural economic order unites the legitimate concerns of these two endeavors, namely social justice with the highest degree of personal freedom, but also finally excludes the capitalist abuse of economic freedom as well as its restriction by state-bureaucratic planned economy. Only then does it establish a truly free economy without private privileges and state tutelage, a monopoly-free and therefore also exploitation-free full business economy, which guarantees everyone the same freedom and the same preconditions for developing their strengths. This freedom is therefore not compatible with the artificial inequality of economic, social and political privileges, just as little with the artificial equality of a forced leveled standard of living, but only with the natural inequality that results from the natural difference in inclinations for everyone, given the same start , Skills and achievements.
    The natural economic order promotes the welfare of the whole by serving the welfare of all individuals. Hence, it takes away from the contrast between common good and self-interest that accentuating and irreconcilable character that only arose through the capitalist degeneration of the liberalist economy. It eliminates all monopolies without replacing them with state monopolies, by only submitting the two decisive monopolies, namely the monopoly of money and land, to the control of the general public. In this economic system the worker needs neither the help of the state nor the protection of trade union organizations to safeguard his rights, because as an equal contractual partner he can make his conditions and demands just like the employer. Because the situation described by Rodberus and Marx, which in capitalism leads to an extorted contract conclusion with exploitation of the worker according to the "iron wage law", is undergoing a fundamental change because work - if it is already understood as a "commodity" according to Marx - in a monopoly-free full business economy becomes the most sought-after and therefore most sought-after in short supply. Therefore, their price rises to the maximum possible value, namely up to the amount of the full income from labor at the expense of capital rent in all its forms such as interest, dividends and speculative profit. "

    Dr. Ernst Winkler (Theory of the Natural Economic Order, 1952)

    In the market economy (natural economic order = real social market economy) freed from capitalism (redistribution of interest from work to property), it is no longer real capital, but human labor that is the economically scarcest resource and thus man is what he should be - the most valuable:

    • Simone Janson

      Thanks for this comment, which is unfortunately something at the topic over!

  2. Kexpa E-Books

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