How to Turn Around a Bad Interview

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Whether it was searching for weeks pounding the pavement, networking, or a lucky first try, you have landed yourself an interview. While it can be a stressful experience, we all make the standard preparations to ensure that we present ourselves in the best possible light and assist our chances of landing that great job. What most candidates do not plan for is the bad interview or an uninterested party conducting the interview. This actually happens far more than most people would think.

Generally the HR staff of an organization, who of course are seasoned in the interview process, are not always the ones doing the interviewing. Managers of that particular department are either forced to or may want to take part in the interview process to ensure that the candidate they choose is a good fit for not only the position requirements, but a good fit with the members of that particular team which is just as important. If you find yourself in a position where it is clear to both you and the interviewer that the interview is not going well, take control of the reins and steer that wagon back in the right direction.

Following a few simple steps can make that happen:

  • Stay calm and be positive. The longer the awkward silences, the more nervous both parties generally become. Remember that the interviewer may be extremely pressed for time, you may be the 23rd interview that day, or they may have never conducted an interview before in their life. If you stay calm and positive, the interviewer will generally follow your lead. So smile and stay cool.
  • Be prepared with a list of questions. While it is suggested to always ask a few questions in the interview process, you may have to add a few more to your arsenal in case of emergencies like a bad interview. Be prepared to tell them specifically why you feel that you are a great candidate for the position and ask questions about the company which can be easily answered such as:
    • “What is the management style of the organization as a whole?”
    • “Can you tell me more about the products/services that you provide here?”
    • “Do you have time to provide a tour of the area in which this candidate will be working?”
    • “Have there been any challenges in this particular department that would directly relate to this position?”
    • “What particular job duty do you believe will take the majority of time for the person in this position and is the current process successful?”

Occasionally you will also find that there are interviewers that love the process just a little TOO much. This can be someone who will talk your ear off all day or love the fact that they are sitting behind the big desk and watching you squirm. All the above techniques and questions can curb any bad style of interviewing and allow you to take control to salvage an important event in your career.