Perhaps you’ve seen one of the dozens of shows on cable TV with the rescue theme. In a single weekend, you can watch shows about rescuing a bar, rehabbing a home, salvaging a failing restaurant, and saving a business from bankruptcy. I propose a new show…interview rescue. The opening scene will show a job candidate in the conference room with a rapidly beating heart and a sinking feeling. The candidate has realized that he is tanking the interview. This candidate needs a rescue!
S-O-S…Time to implement three tips to rescue yourself from interview failure!
There are times when you slip in an interview. Perhaps you have a momentary lapse and forgot something you should know. Or, perhaps you fell short when trying to demonstrate you can handle a particular task. Your heart begins to beat faster, and you feel as though you might as well say, “Thank you and goodbye.” It is not over, until it is over. It is important that you stay calm. Take a deep breath and relax. Return your focus to the interview. If you stay calm and stay in the moment, you have a chance to regain your footing.
Organize Your Thoughts
Jot a note about the question or weak response, so you can review that information. As you relax and continue the interview discussion, you’ll likely think of items to share to better address the question that stumped you before. Make quick notes as these thoughts occur. Later, during a pause in the conversation or near the interview’s end, ask the interviewer if you can share additional remarks. With organized thoughts, you can recover to give a stronger answer and leave a better impression.
Steer the Conversation
Sometimes in an interview you will notice the interviewer has a particular impression of you. Perhaps you are picking up that they find your experience is light in certain areas. Cues for this might be questions that start with, “Are you sure you are prepared to…” Another cue might be, “What makes you think you would do well as a…” This is when you need to strongly assert yourself and state the case for your candidacy. Steer the conversation and share examples of accomplishments and the scope of your recent authority. This is how you overcome the interviewer’s perception and win the day.
If you are ever in need of an interview rescue, just remember S-O-S. Stay calm, organize your thoughts, and steer the conversation to tout the value you offer. You’ll regain your confidence and save a sinking interview.
Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is President of Careers Done Write, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries.