You’re in the middle of a big job interview, and things aren’t exactly going as planned. Despite spending hours preparing, you’re totally tanking.
When this happens, it’s easy to mentally pack up and declare the interview a bust — but it’s not over yet. You’re an amazing candidate with so much to offer, so here’s some advice to ensure the hiring manager sees that.
Four Tips to Turn the Tides on a Bad Interview
When in Doubt, Pivot
It’s not ideal when an interviewer asks about skills or experience you don’t have, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with a winning response. Sure, you might not be able to walk them through your process for completing a task you’ve never done, but you can be honest and show your eagerness to learn.
If you feel confident enough to explain what you would do in the situation, go for it. Otherwise, simply explain that this is something you really don’t know much about, but are excited to learn.
Clarify a Poor Response
When answering a tough question, you’re cringing as you hear the words come out of your mouth. Immediately, you think of several responses that would’ve been better — and it’s not too late for a quick save.
Simply pause for a second and tell the interviewer you’d like to circle back and rephrase. If your second response is strong enough, it will likely outweigh your initial bungled reply.
Interviewers like candidates who show a genuine interest in the position. Therefore, you’ll likely be able to distract a bit from a less-than-stellar performance by simply asking thought-provoking questions.
Inquiries like “How would you describe the company culture?” and “How is success measured in this position?” show you’re interested in the job for the right reasons. This will score you some points, because skills can be learned, but a passion for the job cannot.
Make a Connection
Interviewers want to hire candidates they like, so make them forget about the answers you flubbed by establishing a bond. If you researched the interviewer in advance, weave a fact you learned about them into conversation — i.e., if they went to your alma mater, say something about the school.
Even if you walked into the interview knowing nothing about them, you can still form a bond by asking questions like “What do you enjoy most about working at this company?” This is a savvy way to turn the tables on them, while building a rapport.
Get the Job You Want
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