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Meandering Interview

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The meandering interview type is typically such, because the interviewer is inexperienced at interviewing or just never learned the proper techniques.

After all, interviewers aren't born with the knowledge and skills required to properly conduct interviews. Subsequently, if their companies don't require them to learn the proper techniques, then meandering interviews might be the result.

The good thing about a meandering interview, is that it allows you to take control. You can then tactfully guide your interview in a way that best serves you.

The bad thing about a meandering interview, is that the interviewer will likely do little to spark your memory or spawn appropriate topics of discussion.

For example, the interviewer might begin with a couple of canned, open-ended inquiries, such as "Tell me about yourself." You can use that to your advantage.

But then the interviewer might ask irrelevant questions or worse, fall into silence. In this case, it'll be up to you to steer your interview in the right direction.

The following strategies, which are helpful for any interview type, are particularly important when interviewers default to the meandering interview.

  • Study your resume and the job description, and research the company.
  • Still, don't rely on the interviewer to spark your memory or spawn topics. Come to the interview prepared with highlights and anecdotes of your skills, qualities and experiences. Jot down notes that you can reference throughout the interview.
  • Remain alert to the interviewer. Even if you feel like you can take the driver's seat and go in any direction you wish, remain respectful of the interviewer's role. If he or she becomes more directive during the interview, adjust.
  • The open format allows you to significantly shape the interview. But, running with your own agenda and dominating the conversation, means that you run the risk of missing important information about the company and its needs. Ask well-placed questions to steer the interview in the right direction.

Send a thank you note to each of your interviewers.

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For sample interview questions and tips for navigating other interview types not listed above (such as technical interviews), start at Interviews.

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Know What to Say on a Job Interview
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