Passive-aggressiveness in interviews often starts with the type of questions being asked. It can also be demonstrated by questions that are just way too vague. This is not the same as open-ended behavioral interview questions.
We are talking about questions that are asked where the point is lost or the candidate cannot determine what the interviewer really wants to know. This can include the very popular “Tell me about yourself.”
In this case, how is the candidate supposed to know what the interviewer really wants to know about their background? A better question would be, “What qualifies you to be successful in this position?”
What to do When You Encounter Passive-Aggressiveness in Interviews
If the person asking the questions is not being clear, they may not have a lot of experience interviewing. Maybe they just aren’t very clear about what they want in a candidate. Often is it because they haven’t defined the job description appropriately.
Despite why you are being asked unhelpful questions, it is ok to ask for clarification. You can say things like:
- Can you be a bit more specific?
- What area of my background would you like to know more about?
If you are asked, “Tell me about yourself,” answer as if they really asked you “What qualifies you to be successful in this position?”
For more information on this topic check out Passive-Aggressive Interviewing (And Why It Doesn’t Work)
Need more job search advice?
For more insights and a community of like-minded professionals join our LinkedIn group Resume Help and Advice for Professionals and Executives