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Turning a Bad Interview Around
There are many components of the interview process that are common sense: arriving on time, dressing professionally, being polite and pleasant, etc. These components are extremely important in the interviewer’s eyes. People who come late, dress poorly or behave rudely do not get hired.
Even when you try to do everything right, though, there are many factors that can mess things up; traffic may cause you to be late or a spill could ruin your shirt. No matter how hard you try, some situations are unavoidable.
If you are faced with any of these unfortunate circumstances, one question remains: Can you turn a bad interview around?
In short, yes. It requires use of your wits as well as your skills, but it is possible. Maintain a positive attitude and follow the guidelines provided below.
The Golden Rule
The golden rule for managing such situations is, “Never lose hope.” Things can and will go wrong, but it doesn’t mean it is the end of the world.
The worst mistake many people make is giving up too easy. If something goes wrong, they think the interview is ruined. If they are running late, they may not show up for the interview at all. If they do decide to go through with the interview after a mishap, they may lose their confidence and think there is no chance they will get hired for the position.
You should never make that mistake. Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” You get rejected? Trying and getting rejected is better than not trying at all. As long as you try, there is always a chance for success. Don’t make excuses either; politely say that whatever happened is not a reflection of you as a person or employee, and that these situations are rare for you.
The best way to fix a mistake is to avoid making the mistake in the first place. There are some mistakes that are minor and won’t affect the final decision, but there are some mistakes that are considered unforgivable when attending an interview — such as arriving late.
Let’s say you were the one giving the interview. Would you hire someone if they couldn’t even show up on time for the interview itself? Would you trust them to be on time for the job? No, you would not. You may have a legitimate excuse, but from the interviewer’s point of view, an excuse is just an excuse.
If you think it is inevitable that you are going to be late, the best thing to do is to call and inform the company. Tell them when you will be arriving and provide a reason for why you are going to be late. If the reason is a traffic accident, the interviewer may sympathize with you and still give you a fair chance. If you know you are going to be commuting to the interview during rush hour, make sure to give yourself plenty of time.
Gather Your Thoughts
When people get nervous, they tend to ramble on about topics that are not relevant. All of your answers in an interview should relate to the job and should be short and concise. If you find yourself in a situation where you are beginning to feel nervous or realize you are going off topic, then take a break. Stop talking, take a deep breath and relax; this strategy will help you avoid mumbling and allow you time to calm down and focus. Once you have gathered your thoughts, continue the discussion and answer the questions in the best way possible.
Do Not Be Afraid to Ask Questions
You should never be afraid to ask questions. For example, the interviewer may ask you a question that you don’t understand. In that case, ask the interviewer to repeat the question or explain the question to you. You want to answer all of the questions in the best way possible, and the only way to do this is to fully comprehend what the interviewer is asking.
An interview is just a conversation between two people on a professional level, and in this conversation you are an active participant. Questions are not prohibited! Asking questions will show your confidence, and the interviewer will see that you are actively listening and engaged in the conversation.
Use Your Wits and Communication Skills
Interviews can be stressful and push your mind to the edge, and there are many things that can go wrong that are beyond your control. So what can you do in these situations?
Relax. If something does go wrong, do not overthink it and waste time worrying about what may happen. Simply take a deep breath and use your problem-solving skills. If you are getting dressed and spill coffee on your shirt and do not have a replacement, use a tie or a blazer to cover it up. If your immediate response in situations like these is negative, you will be taking time away from finding a solution and preparing for the interview.
Your communication skills will do the rest. If something goes wrong, explain it to the interviewer. Communication is essential in any job, and he or she will respect your honestly and openness.
If you need help preparing for your next interview, or if you are interested in upgrading your technical skills to better market yourself for employment in the IT field, please feel free to contact us. We provide intense Microsoft, Citrix, VMware, Cisco, Linux and Red Hat courses. We are located in Mississauga near Toronto, Milton, Hamilton, Oakville and Brampton and offer courses to students looking to change their career or improve their professional skills.