Handling A Hostile Interview
A hostile interviewer has an agenda. The pretext for the interview might already give that away, but always keep that in mind. Their goal is not to make you look good in the eyes of the audience. To be in a situation like that, you need to understand that you can’t take the situation personally. Removing your ego from this will help you navigate the rough process successfully.
There are some cases where you might not know the circumstances until you are being interrogated. During times like that, all you can do is try to remain calm. During the ordeal, maintaining a cool demeanor is not as straightforward as a normal conversation. You are being grilled one way or another. The only way to keep calm is to keep an open mind. Look for openings to sway the discussion. Use details of your answer to switch the conversation into something more comfortable, but don’t use topics that are completely unrelated. This makes the transition noticeable.
A hostile interviewer will look for ways to twist your words. The most surprising thing about a hostile interview is that they don’t need to be loud or openly challenging. The best interviewers mask this with a soft tone, open body language, and a methodical process. This makes it harder for some to spot. It’s important to prepare before an interview by looking at why you are giving an interview in the first place. Are you a representative for a company or are you there on your own behalf? Is this a routine PR event or are you releasing new information? Are there any controversies that can arise from your point-of-view?
If you are speaking about the environment, then there could be negative feedback about your input on the topic. Look for openings to be as blunt as possible. Don’t try to back down, but maintain a cordial presence. The only thing that can make things worse is looking like you are trying too hard to defend yourself or that you can’t defend yourself. Be clear and specific with the information you give. Don’t add details that aren’t necessary to fill air time as that looks like you are rambling.
In the end, the audience will be able to identify an unfair interview. Once you do your best and try to remain collected throughout the ordeal, you should be fine. Handling a hostile interview successfully isn’t like winning an argument. It’s about neutralizing the situation.
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