Story provided by Youtern –
We’ve all had that feeling… we’re in a job interview and we can tell it isn’t going well. We try to stay positive, but it seems we’re sinking fast. So, what can you do about it?
Actually… a lot!
Yes, it can feel intimidating. They’ve got the job. You want the job. Sometimes, however, when you enter into the situation with a feeling of desperation or anxiety, your nervous energy spoils all the fun!
If you find yourself in an interview and you’re not on your game, or you made some (recoverable) mistakes, remember these three tips:
You Only Have One Chance
Your first interview is like an audition. Your performance (answers) will determine if you will move forward to the next round of competition. Unfortunately, unlike an elementary schoolyard game, you don’t get a do-over.
Well, you don’t… if you don’t ask. If you mess up during the interview, you can ask for a do-over!
Focus On Your Audience
If you were a comedian on stage doing your schtick and no one laughed, that would be a bad sign, right? That failing comedian could either continue using the same style/approach/routine or switch up their act in an attempt to improve how they connect with the audience.
We’re human beings and like it or not, our emotions and feelings play a pretty big role in determining our decisions… even in hiring.
Your audience is the interviewer. They want to feel some sort of a connection, which is at least 50% your responsibility.
- Watch their body language (eyes, arms, face… everything). Are they looking at you or somewhere else? How are they sitting in their chair? What are they doing with their arms and legs (if you can see them)?
- Listen to the tone of their voice. Does it sound strained, or friendly? Listen for changes as the interview progresses.
It is hard to focus on all this when you are worried about how you are going to answer the next question. That’s one reason you should practice interviewing, become familiar with common interview questions and have a strategy for how you will answer them.
If you sense your audience is disengaged or you feel the interview isn’t going well, why not ask if there is a disconnect? Isn’t it better to say something now? You may or may not get a truthful response from the interviewer, but it is sort of like calling time-out. It breaks up the momentum (or lack there-of) and resets the clock (or the interviewer’s attention).
There is no guarantee the person will respond to your inquiry with meaningful feedback. But if you don’t try, then you’ll never know.
And the worst possible scenario is to leave not trying, not knowing and not learning.