Even if you planned everything out in your head, not all interviews get off on the right foot or maybe your nerves got the best of you and you fumbled through some answers.
Regardless of what it was, when you start to get the sinking feeling that the interviewer mentally wrote you off, you can let the defeat get to you or you can turn things around in your favor.
Rephrase and clarify any time you misspeak
It’s natural to feel nervous. What you don’t want to do, is let your flubbed answer be the main takeaway from the interview. If you say something you didn’t mean to say, take a second to pause, recollect your thoughts and rephrase your answer. Most hiring managers understand that mistakes happen. Your self-awareness and ability to rectify the situation speaks volumes about your work ethic, so always elaborate.
When everything takes a downward spiral, it’s easy to let cynicism take the reign of the interview. Regardless of what you’re feeling internally, don’t let any negative energy show externally. Stay positive. If you mess up, try to remedy the situation and move on. If you spend the interview worried about one bad answer, you’re likely going to mess up some more.
Don’t assume you know what’s going on through the hiring managers’ heads, even if they seem uninterested. Save the self-critique for after the interview.
People love talking about themselves. Unsurprisingly, several studies have shown that most people’s favorite topic is themselves. Don’t try to fill empty spaces of silence with a self-serving monologue. If they’re unengaged, get them to talk about their company. Ask them questions about their position, how they’ve found success, and/or what their favorite things are about working here. This taps the interviewer back in while simultaneously showing your interest.
This is a press conference technique that can help you when you’re unsure of how to answer a question. The worst thing you can do is say “I don’t know” to anything the interviewer asks. But what happens when you don’t know the answer?
Even worse, what happens when an interviewer asks a completely unexpected question that’s designed to elicit a reaction? The answer is using a bridging technique. Some bridging statements include:
- “I don’t know the answer to that question, but what I do know is…”
- “Let me put that in context…”
- “While that may be true…”
- “One thing I’ve been focusing on…”
- “Although I don’t have those numbers on-hand at the moment, what I can say is…”
- “My experience tells me…”
- “Looking ahead, I believe…”
Email a note
Maybe you’re one of those people that replay things in your head thousands of times. If you didn’t realize your mistake until you replayed it for the 30th time, concentrate your efforts on the thank-you note. Be honest and make sure to convey that you would like a 2nd interview.