Interviewer objections and how to handle them
Nov 2014

Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, you probably don’t relish going for job interviews. For many, the worst part is knowing that you’re opening yourself up to potentially awkward CV-related questions or objections. It’s enough to make you want to call the whole thing off and focus on sitting still until retirement.

That would be a waste, though, especially if the position is one you really want. The first stage in avoiding such a scenario is prepping yourself for the type of objections your may run into.

While each case is different, here are some of the things that commonly have interviewers on high alert:

• Your CV shows a wide gap between positions
• You are over/under-qualified for the job
• You have moved around a lot job-wise
• Your salary expectations may be too high
• You will have a long commute with this role
• Your were demoted or laid-off from a previous role
• You are used to working independently, rather than in a team

And here’s how to handle them:

• Know your CV like the back of your hand
Your CV is like your product description; you need to be able to account for everything on there. Make sure to spend time going through it thoroughly before each new application, updating where necessary.

• Think like an interviewer
Work out what your CV weak spots are and anticipate the issues that are likely to be flagged up in your interviewer’s mind. Being forewarned will make any objections easier to handle.

• Get to the root of the objection
Your interviewer may well have a hidden motive, like wanting to see how you stand up under scrutiny. Listen closely and check their voice tone and body language for clues.

• Lose your composure
If a question catches you off guard, take a few seconds to think before responding. Stay calm and stick to your guns; there’s no need to be overly apologetic or submissive.

• Get defensive
Letting yourself be riled and arguing back is probably the one thing you should avoid at all costs. Remember, it’s not personal. Besides which your interviewer is probably looking to see how you handle criticism.

• Lie
Making up a story to get yourself off the hook may seem like a good get-out. However, this may well just lead to further awkward questioning or even come back to haunt you if you do happen to get the job.

The key thing to remember in all this is that an objection is not the same as a rejection, rather a relatively standard component of any job interview. Planning ahead will enable you to handle the awkward questions with grace and dignity and ensure things are as painless as possible.