How to Survive the Job Interview If You Are Tanking

How To Know You Are Tanking

1. Watch the interviewer’s eyes.

An interviewer that is simply going through the motions will not make eye contact. Check for a glazed or glassy stare and heavy eyelids.

2. Listen carefully.

A bored or disinterested interviewer may quietly hum a tune, whistle softly, or shuffle papers repeatedly.

3. Observe actions.

Constant watch- or clock-checking, the eating of a sandwich, and lots of phone calls are all signs that a job offer is not forthcoming.

If You Are Late

1. Call ahead. If you are stuck in traffic or otherwise running late, call. Ask if you should reschedule or if you should come in anyway.

2. Clean up. If you are sweaty and disheveled, ask to use a bathroom before meeting your interviewer. If you are nervous, put anti-perspirant on your palms and face (make sure it’s clear) to reduce moisture.

3. Apologize, but do not overdo it. Say you are sorry for your tardiness, but do not give a sob story: Never discuss personal information in a job interview.

If You Are Asked a Difficult or Leading Question

1. Always respond with a positive. If the interviewer says, “I see you don’t have experience making coffee,” counter with, “That’s true, but I’ve always wanted to learn and I’m a quick study!”

2. Tell a personal story, but only one that relates skills applicable to the job. If the interviewer asks about project management experience and you don’t have any, talk about planning your wedding: organizing vendors, designing a database, and creating seating charts based on the interests of guests.

3. Put the question off until later. If you are unable to come up with an answer, say “Can we get back to that later, I need to give it some thought?” Use this strategy only as a last resort.

If Your Interviewer Hits on You

1. Accept compliments gracefully. If an interviewer compliments your suit, blouse, or a piece of jewelry, they may simply be impressed with your appearance. Say thank you and move on. More than one compliment is inappropriate and should be deflected (below).

2. Deflect personal questions. In most states it is illegal for a job interviewer to ask personal questions, including age, marital status, children, and sexual preference. If you get such questions, gently suggest that you keep topics to professional matters.

3. Say you are not interested. If your interviewer asks you out on a date, simply say “no thanks.” However, if the interview is at lunch time and things seem to be going well, it is appropriate to accept a lunch invitation (keep the conversation on business matters).

4. Accept a date only if you don’t want the job. Starting a new job while being personally involved with someone in the company is not a good idea. If you make a connection with your interviewer and there is true chemistry, accept the invitation but make it clear that you do not want the job.

Be Aware

Always remember the three “C’s”: Cool, Calm, and Confident. An interview is as much about you wanting the job as it is about the job wanting you.

Avoid scheduling interviews after lunch, when most people get sleepy and irritable.

Copyright (c) 2007 Carole Martin, The Interview Coach