So, I was in an interview last week that was scheduled for an hour, it ended up being two hours. I had no complaints and enjoyed the two interviewers. I was given a tour before the interview and really liked what I saw (Cyber security). I had one interviewer from out-of state and the one I would be working for.

The whole interview was just very strange and awkward. One interviewer was on his laptop throughout the whole interview. They were running some sort of inside joke throughout the interview that I didn't know and made me feel a bit awkward so I just smiled and nodded. Once they asked a question they would go into.."Remember that time we.." They could not answer some of the basic questions I asked like company culture, team members, etc..

Towards the end, I brought sports (which they seemed to like) just to kind of alleviate some of the awkwardness and we talked about that for couple of minutes before ending the interview. I left feeling dazed and confused

Did I come off as being "stuffy" and boring?

  • 3
    Sounds like they were merely being unprofessional. (Or maybe they were playing good cop bad cop to test how you reacted to stress.) Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 17:39
  • 2
    The correct way to deal with this is to not take the job and look further, I'd say.
    – Erik
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 17:43
  • @Erik. Wow, really? How so?
    – Noah
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 17:52
  • 3
    If this is how these people act in interviews, imagine what it'll be like to work with them every day of the week. Interviews are a two-way affair. You're supposed to be judging the company, and they're supposed to be aware of that.
    – Erik
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 18:20
  • 7
    Your interviewers couldn't answer basic questions about the company, its culture, and the team while behaving unprofessionally by not respecting your time and interest in the position, yet you are worried about you coming off as stuffy? I don't think the problem is with you at all. Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 18:32

1 Answer 1


Although your title is "Approach to dealing with distracted interviewer?" I'm going to answer what I suppose to be the real question at the end:

Did I come off as being "stuffy" and boring?

Based in what you described, let's start by identifying the parts of the interview that were "strange and awkward":

  1. The use of the laptop. It probably appeared that the interviewer was distracted, which is very rude to a potential co-worker. However, consider that the interviewer may have actually been taking notes. Although it's possible that their attention could have been elsewhere, a more light-hearted assumption is that they were simply trying to record aspects of your interview for later evaluation.
  2. Inside joke and recollecting shared prior experiences. These can both be rather rude gestures regardless of the social setting (although they don't have to be). In this case, it sounds like they moved into conversation that you had no reasonable way in partaking in because you lack the shared experiences or memories. That's an uncomfortable place to put anybody, but particularly when the person left out is supposed to be the focus of the interview.
  3. Lacking answers to basic questions. The two topics you listed (company culture and team members) are both very standard and reasonable question-areas for candidates to inquire about. To lack answers to those questions is to commit a pretty unusual social faux pas that most any candidate would be uncomfortable with.

Despite even the best of efforts from anybody, the actions of your interviewers would definitely have been considered rude. Just because somebody is rude to you doesn't mean you were rude first. Don't think that their behavior was necessarily caused by something you did.

Finally, I just want to point out that you did a great job to:

  1. Attempt to defuse the situation (e.g. finding common ground through sports).
  2. Staying professional and cordial even when you didn't receive the same treatment.
  3. Finishing the interview.
  4. Reflecting upon your experience.

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