Why Did the Interviewer Doubt Me and Attack My Background?

Liz,
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I applied for a management position with a large company. Within a month, I received a request for a phone interview. I was excited, of course, as the company did really exciting work that I saw as a pathway for me to grow professionally.
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Within the first few minutes of the phone interview, I felt attacked by the interviewer (my could-be future boss). He implied I had severely padded my resume with embellishments.
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I’ve led quite a few large, exciting projects thanks to my current employer’s confidence in me and my abilities. I’ve done more these last five years than many in my profession do their entire life.
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The interviewer kept trying to pick apart my listed projects to prove that I didn’t actually do them. We ended up ending the interview because what he wanted to pay was A LOT less than what was competitive for the position and my experience.
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But, I have to wonder, why interview me if you think I’m a fraud? Why waste my time and your time?
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Thanks,
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Elise
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Dear Elise,
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Makes no sense, right? Why look at someone’s resume, find fault with it and still invite the candidate for an interview? Who has time for that?
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Think about this manager. How many opportunities does he get in life to harass someone for an hour – to pick at them and imply or say outright that he doesn’t believe them? To make them upset? To make them grovel? To have power over them?
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Interviews are big occasions because he gets to demean and diminish people. He gets to test them: will this candidate tolerate my abuse? He can’t afford to hire someone who will stand up to him. He can’t afford to hire someone who knows their value, either.
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He is mired in fear, and confesses that every time he interviews a candidate. His problems have nothing to do with you or your amazing background. He showed you who he is – a fearful, petty person who has to make other people feel bad in order to feel better about himself.
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Sadly the working world is full of supervisors who only feel okay around people with no self-esteem. When they broadcast their insecurity early on in the pipeline, rejoice! You dodged a bullet. Slam that door and move on. You only need one manager to get you and thus deserve you.
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All the best,
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Liz