interviewer asked me to rate my interview on a scale of 1 to 10

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A reader writes:

So, I had a second-round interview this morning with the finance director (the hiring manager’s manager) of a multinational company. I have a pretty dynamic and open personality and I think this came through during the interview, especially since we had a rather free-flowing, back-and-forth type interview and I felt that we had rapport. Anyway, towards the end of the meeting, the director asked me, “How would you rate your interview on a scale of 1 to 10?”

I’ve never been asked this question before, and that threw me a little. I answered that I thought it was for him to rate me instead, and I tried to turn the question back to him. He declined to answer saying no, no, he’s the one asking the question, and when he pressed, I told him I thought my interview was not perfect, but certainly not the worst.

After we’d wrapped up and he was seeing me out, I mentioned that I would be really interested to know his answer. He laughed and said then that I should call him.

What are your thoughts on this? Should I be reading any significance into it, and did I shoot myself in the foot with my answer? In this case, I thought the interview was overall quite good even if I know I could have worded some answers much better. But I was hesitant to say “7” because I didn’t know how it would be interpreted.

Should I really call/email him to get his interview rating? I do not have any of his contact information and would have to call HR in order to obtain it.

Your interviewer was an ass.

It wouldn’t have been unreasonable for him to ask you for your thoughts on the job and your fit for it at the end of the conversation, based on the new information you’d learned. But asking you to numerically rate the interview itself serves no purpose, other than to illustrate that he has no idea how to interview and is probably a bit of a buffoon.

Don’t contact him to “get his interview rating.” If you want the job, you can certainly follow up with him or the hiring manager to reiterate your interest and ask about the timeline for next steps, but don’t revive this ridiculous rating game.

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. PEBCAK

    I have gotten “how interested are you in the job, on a scale of 1 – 10?”, which threw me, but can be a useful question. I think the biggest problem with that, though, is that I was asked at the end of the interview, and sometimes, I need some time to think things over and decide.

    Reply
    1. Yuu

      I actually would have tried to answer the above question as if it was interchangable as this one – “10, as I am very interested in the job and hope to see things progress further.”

      Reply
      1. PEBCAK

        I think I actually said something like “I really can’t say higher than 8 or 9 right now, because I need some time to go over my notes and reflect on everything we’ve discussed”.

        Reply
        1. PEBCAK

          Which, I might add, is reflective of my decision-making style, something it is useful for the hiring manager to know. If she was expecting a hard 10 immediately, that would say something to both of us about fit.

          Reply
    2. Rana

      I would completely shoot myself in the foot with a question like that. I don’t “do” 10s on any scale (or 1s, for that matter). For me, a 7 or an 8 is actually a pretty positive statement, but would someone who doesn’t know me realize that? I doubt it. And I doubt they’d appreciate me trying to answer that in a way that would game the system, either. Ugh. What a stupid question.

      Reply
  2. Wilton Businessman

    “How would you rate your interview on a scale of 1 to 10?”
    with a straight face… I’m surprised you haven’t given me an offer already.

    Reply
    1. Vicki

      :-)

      This reminds me of HS classes where we were asked to give ourselves a grade. After a the usual (unhelpful) attack of humility, I decided that my answer would always be “If you have to ask me, I deserve an A.”

      Reply
  3. Irishman4hire

    Tell me what you really think, Allison. This scenario is representative of the inability of most people interview candidates. This manager is responsible for managing x number of people to accomplish a task or achieve a goal. It probably is not part of his job description to be a professional interviewer. Keep your expectations low and you won’ t be disappointed.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Ah, but it’s part of his job to build a strong team, and that means knowing how to hire well (just as it also means knowing how to retain top performers and move out low performers).

      Reply
  4. Steve

    I am not as down on the manager as you. It sounds to me like the manager and the candidate developed a rapport during the interview and at the end he threw in a non-standard off the cuff question to gauge the OP’s confidence level and poise. The only part that really bothered me was the pressing for an answer.

    The OP’s answer was perfectly appropriate and would have counted as a strong plus in my book. From his laughter and deflecting giving a numerical score it sounds like he thought it was good too.

    One of the dangers of interviews, on both sides, is the tendency to extrapolate from relatively minor indicators just because information is so limited.

    Reply
  5. Ramona

    Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I see nothing wrong with this question. He was asking for an opinion and it seems perfectly fine. Finance people in particular like to narrow things done to a math equation (guilty!). I would encourage you to answer honestly – which means at the very least an 8!

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      But what was the point of the question? Other than putting the candidate on the spot for little reason and flexing his own power in the situation? (Because notice he wouldn’t answer the question when reversed.) There’s no useful info that would have come from this (as opposed to asking how the OP felt about the job in general now that he had more info).

      Reply
      1. khilde

        I think that’s the key: that he wouldn’t answer the question in reverse. That’s what makes him seem like such a schmuck.

        Reply
        1. businesslady

          agreed. my kindest interpretation of his intentions is that he was trying to gauge, “hey, do you feel like you’re representing yourself as well as you possibly could or are there things you’re already wishing you’d done better?” & I could see that being a useful thing to learn. but there would’ve been ways to glean that information without making the candidate feel uncomfortable & trapped.

          Reply
          1. Josh S

            “hey, do you feel like you’re representing yourself as well as you possibly could or are there things you’re already wishing you’d done better?”

            Asking that question is MUCH more likely to get a meaningful response. Asking for a scale of 1-10 is going to get you nothing useful, because you don’t know “WHY” the person gave you the rating. Are they saying ’10’ because they think that’s what you want to hear, or because they really think that was their best foot forward? Are they saying ‘7’ because they think you want to hear that there is more/better of you to show, or because they’re giving an honest assessment about their limited perception of how the interview went?

            A number is just a number without the context. Ask the question you actually want the answer to, and not some abstract and arbitrary metric that has no meaning.

            Reply
            1. Rana

              +1

              Or because you’re a person like me, who reserves 10s and 1s for once-in-a-lifetime events, and gives most things a “grade” in the range of 3 to 8 as a result? Numbers don’t mean anything, unless you both agree on the standard.

              Reply
              1. TL

                > Numbers don’t mean anything, unless you both agree on the standard.

                Exactly! After all, the interviewee could have based their answer on a 1-10 scale, where 1 is the highest… :)

                Reply
  6. Esra

    8… until you asked me this question?

    I also wouldn’t do a follow-up on his rating. I’d write it off as a bad joke or a bit of awkwardness.

    Reply
  7. Amouse

    This reminds me of those teachers I’ve had who would purposely ask me a question to keep me on my toes and then say: “Oh just kidding! I don’t expect you to answer that!” They were jerks.

    My first impression was that it seemed like the interview had obviously gone well from both sides and had taken on a jovial tone so the interviewer threw out this question in light of that. Given that the OP describes themselves as having a “dynamic, open personality” the interviewer probably thought it was OK, since the serious questions had been asked, to ask this one.

    It was definitely a miscalculation and a poor choice on the interview’s part to ask this question. It sounds like they made the mistake of thinking that because the candidate seemed so confident and comfortable that there wasn’t still a serious interview going on with a very definite power dynamic and that they couldn’t just throw a lighthearted question out there. It’s hard to say without having heard the interview but given that the interviewer laughed it off at the end, telling the OP to call them tells me that this question was a bit of an afterthought by the interviewer in the spirit of “ah, I’m just messing with you, I don’t really expect an answer”. As I write that though, the flip-side is that definitely is an asinine thing to do because so I’m inclined to agree with Alison that the interviewer probably is an ass.

    Reply
  8. -X-

    The question is lame but fairly easy to answer.

    “I’d say an 8 or a 9 – I really appreciated learning about X and Y at Q Company. I wish we had more time so I could learn more about Z , which I hadn’t realized is so important before I got here, and also tell you about how I think my experience could help with that.”

    Reply
  9. -X-

    Also, Yuu’s answer of “10, as I am very interested in the job and hope to see things progress further” is not bad either.

    Reply
  10. Ellie H.

    Another problem is that it’s not clear how to answer the question, e.g., should the rating be of your own performance in the interview (i.e. rating yourself), the interview as a stand-alone object (i.e. rating the interviewer) or the interview as a conceptual whole (i.e. rating the interaction between the two of you). It’s impossible.

    Reply
    1. -X-

      When you’re asked an impossible question in a situation in which your sharing good info would benefit you, adjust the terms of the question. State that at the start “I’m assuming you mean our interaction as a whole, [with a pause here in case the other person wants to correct you]”

      Reply
    2. Kimberlee, Esq.

      I agree with this. I interpreted it as the interviewer wanting an overall grade of the interview experience. Not as a “how well do you think you did?” Like, feedback for his own purposes to know whether the interview he conducted was a good experience, useful, etc, for the candidate. So while I think that there are better ways to get this feedback (a follow-up email, maybe?), the question itself doesn’t warrant the interviewer being called an ass.

      Reply
      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        I’m calling him an ass because he asked a numerical rating question for something that can’t be numerically rated and is guaranteed to make most candidates uncomfortable, puts the candidate on the spot, and is unlikely to provide useful information. And he refused to answer it when turned back around on him. That all = ass.

        Reply
        1. Kimberlee, Esq.

          I totally see that. I just generally think of “asses” as being malicious, rather than clueless.

          Though I’m not sure I agree that the interview experience can’t be numerically rated…though I tend to happily put ANYTHING on a 1-10 scale, much to the irritation of many who know me.

          Reply
          1. AnotherAlison

            Oh, the experience could be rated with a proper survey, I’m sure, but the comments here show there are many different ways his question could be interpreted. The interviewee is being asked to give an overall number without even knowing what factors are supposed to be considered. Does he mean how well the interviewee answered the questions? Assessment of culture/position fit now that it’s over? Was the wait in the lobby comfortable? Did the interviewers seem organized and well-prepared.

            Reply
    3. Amouse

      That’s great point. I honestly didn’t even consider that the question goes both ways and took it mainly as the candidate being asked how they were doing. But I mean really in this situation the power dynamic needs to be considered. You’d think the interviewer would realize that the candidate is put in an extremely awkward position by the question.

      Reply
    4. OP

      Its a good point that you and the others make, that his question could have been interpreted as rating the overall interview experience or even himself as an interviewer. I didn’t actually think of that. The first (and only) thing that leapt to mind was him asking me to rate myself in my interview. And well, I did tell him that I thought it was up to him to rate me…
      But now I’m wondering if I might have accidentally insulted him by saying that it was not perfect, but not the worst either!! *Oops*

      Reply
      1. Another Emily

        He would be ridiculous to feel insulted, since what you said describes all but two interviews of a person’s life. I think you handled the situation well.

        Reply
  11. Diane

    Funny, I interpreted the question to mean “How do you rate this interview experience and my skills as an interviewer.”

    Reply
  12. Jamie

    “How would you rate your interview on a scale of 1 to 10?”

    Weird – I would have assumed he was asking me to rate how I thought he did as an interviewer, not rate myself.

    Either way it’s just silly.

    Reply
    1. Yup

      Exactly how I would’ve heard it too. “Well, I’d give it an 8. You were on time and answered all my questions thoroughly. But I only give 10s to interviews that make me an offer on the spot. Does that help?”

      Reply
      1. OP

        “But I only give 10s to interviews that make me an offer on the spot.”

        I love this! Gotta remember it for next time (if there’s a next time for this question).

        Reply
  13. Jill

    OMG. I just had a flashback to my childhood when I’d get caught doing something bad and my dad would scowl and ask, “Now what do you think your punishment should be??”

    How on earth do you answer a question like this without coming off as cocky or shooting yourself in the foot?

    Reply
  14. Not So NewReader

    All I could picture is that if you had answered the question in a straight forward manner, the next question would have been something like rating the professionalism of his office space or rating how well his tie matched his shirt.

    Reply
  15. Manager

    If an interviewer asks pointless questions like that which serve no purpose other than making themselves look like an asshole, then kindly walk out and leave. You probably did not get the job anyways with them acting like that.

    Reply
  16. Kat M

    I once had an interviewer who asked “I’m new to this whole interviewing thing, is there anything else I should be asking you that I’ve forgotten?” After I was hired, he asked for feedback on how I thought the interview meant.

    In a dream world, I’d like to think OP’s interviewer was like this, just looking for some honest feedback. But I could see the jerk angle too.

    Reply

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