Intimidating interview tactics revealed: Negative body language, disinterest and asking personal questions

New research has revealed that more than a quarter of employers believe that creating an uncomfortable environment for candidates at interview can sometimes be justified to see how candidates handle pressure.

The findings help shed a light on how recruiters can help their candidates prepare for interviews and the potential challenges that they may face during the process. Almost half of interviewers said they have intentionally asked difficult questions while interviewing a candidate. Interestingly, 20 per cent admitted they’d adopted negative body language and 17 per cent said they’d acted disinterested on purpose to throw the candidate. Worryingly, 20 per cent said they’d asked personal questions to test a candidate.

Over a quarter of employers believe creating a slightly uncomfortable environment for candidates at interview can be justified to see how candidates handle pressure. And the intimidating interviews tactics from employers seem to work as 35 per cent of interviewees have felt intimidated by an interviewer, following either aggressive questioning, acting disinterested, negative body language, swearing or a raised voice.

Despite this, 43 per cent of candidates surveyed said they would remain confident regardless of who they were facing on the other side of the desk.

Most ghoulish bosses this Halloween

When it came to the scariest celebrity bosses be interview by, the results showed Lord Alan Sugar, star of the BBC’s The Apprentice and made famous by his ‘you’re fired!’ catchphrase, as the most intimidating.

The majority named American President, and former star of The Apprentice USA, Donald Trump as the scariest boss to work for. The Trump administration, which remains in its infancy, has already gone through a Chief Strategist, a Chief of Staff, an FBI Director, a Deputy Assistant and two Communications Directors, so it is perhaps unsurprising that Trump should top the list.

The top five scariest bosses that employees wouldn’t like to report into this Halloween:

  1. President Donald Trump (54%)
  2. Lord Alan Sugar (44%)
  3. Rupert Murdoch (26%)
  4. Sir Alex Ferguson (25%)
  5. Piers Morgan (25%)


Matthew Harradine, totaljobs’ Director said: While intimidating bosses may make tough interviewers, candidates agree that their toughness would make them good people to work for. While the nicest person in the world might be fun to work with, our study has found employees don’t think they are necessarily the best people to learn from, which is what employees are looking for in a boss.

“On the flipside, the people employees least want to work for are those who seem to go through staff quickly and experience a high team turnover. It’s safe to say that a balanced and respectful environment is where employees feel they are most likely to strive.”