Advice for Handling Difficult Interviews

Thorough preparation for an interview is critical to a positive first impression and to effectively communicating experience and value.  All the preparation in the world does not necessarily prepare you to handle a hostile interviewer.  With a few key tactics, an individual can handle most situations.  When an interviewer is "hostile", there are a number of approaches to utilize: Take the high road.  Positive attitude and approach wins the day.  Don't let the interviewer "steal your joy" or positive attitude.  The interviewer may or may not recognize that they are behaving in an aggressive and/or negative manner and will be focused on your attitude, approach and confidence.

Be patient.  Do not let the interviewer "tone" push you over a ledge where you potentially say things that you may later regret.  Remember that business networks of people are wide and expansive and your negative response or behavior in an interview could have lasting repercussions in wider circles.

Know your limits.  If, in fact, the interview is truly not going well and you feel completely uncomfortable, simply state "Honestly, I apologize for wasting your time - I am not sure this position is the right fit for me." and leave.  This should not be the first option.

Keep in mind that most interview processes involve multiple interviews with different people.  Just because one interviewer is hostile does not mean that the entire interview team will exhibit the same behavior.  Also, some people enjoy "being in charge" or "in control" and "act-out" or look-down on candidates while they would not necessarily act this way in everyday work situations.