Interviews cause a lot of stress for candidates during the lead up to the actual interview. Once the interview starts, however, most people relax a little and things progress on a natural course. Sometimes, you can tell the interview is going south on you. Keep reading for four ways you can help turn that bad interview around.
Admit Your Nervous
It might seem counterintuitive but admitting your nervous can help defuse a bad interview. The interviewer will see shaking hands or a little quaver in your voice as a sign of your nervousness, not as your normal behavior. Admitting nervousness lets the interviewer see past your behaviors and focus on your actual answers.
Takeaway: The interviewer is a human being. If you give them a good reason to dismiss your nervousness, they will. Try visualizing a successful interview ahead of time to lessen your nerves.
Ask the Interviewer Questions
It’s a bad sign if the interviewer seems disengaged or distracted during the interview. It’s often a signal they’ve already decided you’re not a good fit. If an opportunity presents itself, ask the interviewer questions about their experience working for the company. Asking someone relevant or interesting questions can even make them like you better, which is a substantial win if your interview isn’t going well.
Takeaway: Engage your interviewer with questions. It will bring them back into the moment and may even make them like you better.
Don’t Let Silence Go on for Long
It’s always possible the interviewer will throw you a curveball question you can’t answer. Don’t sit in silence for more than a few seconds. If you’re certain you can’t answer the question, admit you don’t know. That approach at least makes you look decisive and honest. If you think you might know, ask them to repeat the question. It buys you a little time to gather your thoughts.
Explain Outside Factors
Life happens while people look for new jobs. Maybe someone close to you was recently admitted to the hospital or there was a death of a family member. These kinds of events can distract us despite our best intentions. If you’re distracted during the interview and can see the interviewer dismissing you, come clean. You can even ask to reschedule the interview. Most interviewers will prove understanding.
Takeaway: There’s no upside to stumbling through the interview while you’re distracted.
Interviews can go bad for several reasons. While you can’t control all of them, you can take steps to reduce the damage. Be honest if you’re nervous or distracted by a bad life event. Engage the interviewer with questions if they seem to lose interest. Don’t let the silence drag out. While these tactics won’t always work, they can often salvage an interview that was going off the rails.
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