There have been a few online articles of late on interviewees’ legitimate criticism of interviewers. While I do not condone inappropriate interveiwer behavior and do want you to keep your pride and self-esteem intact, I’d like to shed some insight into what might cause interviewers to behave the way they do. One reason is pure lack of training. Savvy employers, higher education included, do provide interviewers with tools to guide them and capture assessments. Human Resources professionals are more apt to have a structured process with targeted questions. Non HR interviewers despite being most in need of interview tools often lose them in the shuffle of daily life. Faculty are also most easily distracted by all else they are working on. So it becomes an issue of perception on your part. You could perceive distraction and lack of structured questions as a reflection of interest in you and/or the importance of the position OR you could turn the situation around. One of the primary goals of an interview for you is to endear yourself to the interviewer. I certainly do not mean that you should grovel but rather empathize with them and their clearly overworked situation---suggesting how you can help them do all they need to do if hired. One recent article referred to the “rude” question of how low a salary would someone consider. I personally get annoyed when a candidate will not give some basic information about salary expectations. And in career counseling I advise people not to take an unduly large salary cut because it is so hard to recoup later in your career. When confronted with a salary question, however, it is better for you to offer an honest answer.
In other words, do your self-assessment and your financial assessment at the same time and know in your mind what you really would be willing to accept for your dream job.
Contributed by By Paula Goodman, Director of Recruitment / HR Client Services-CUHR at Columbia University