How do you handle personal attacks at the job interview?

From time to time, a job interview can turn nasty. Some interviewers would like to see how you react under pressure and can challenge you with very personal questions or even direct attacks.

In this article, I would like to share a few tips on how you can handle attacks in a job interview.

 Let’s take an example, a person who is 55 years old is being challenged by the interviewer:

 “We have a very young, dynamic team, and I think you are just too old to cope with those young guys. “

What is the natural first reaction? We would feel some anger inside and may think, “why did you waste my time and invite me for the job interview if you think I am too old? “

And our answer would be probably: “No, no, no, I am a very dynamic personality, and this would not be an issue! “

Do you think this is a good answer? No, it isn’t. Because the interviewer may insist on his/her statement and you would be caught in a trap of opposite comments.

It’s psychologically proven that it’s much better to use the following technique, which we can abbreviate as:


▪  Silence; endure the silence, show your vulnerability

▪ Create the same Wavelength; show empathy and understanding

▪ Provide Information; describe your skills

▪  Question towards the solution: ask which impact can person like you have on the company

So how should you optimally handle this?

1) Don’t answer immediately, but keep silent for 2-3 seconds; show the interviewer that this question has hit you.

2) Next step could look like this: “Hmm, yes, your remark has hit me, but I understand your point. You are an experienced interviewer, and I would ask the same if I were in your shoes. “

Nothing creates more sympathy than showing understanding for the position of your counterpart.

3) Now describe yourself with the 3 most essential skills that make you a great candidate.

4) And as the last point, ask: “What do you think, how significant impact can such a person do in this job?

The interviewer can’t say “None “because he would disqualify himself. As another positive point, you have overtaken the activity in the interview because the person asking is leading the conversation.

Which question could hit you the most? Take this as an example and prepare your set of answers.

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