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How to Turn Around Awkward Interview Situations

Wouldn’t that be great to have warning lights or a siren to notify you of an impending disaster during a job interview? Unfortunately, there are no such blinking lights telling you to take a new direction when things appear awkward at an interview.

Although, there are warning signs but you must know when to look for them and how to alter directions when the danger is close. The clues generally come in the form of verbal and non-verbal cues, and paying close attention to both forms of languages helps you avoid another interview failure.

Sometimes the candidates are invited to a job interview only to be sent negative or mixed messages. The reasons for such incidents are unknown and the occurrence might widely vary from one company to another but it does happen. A candidate recently described a situation in which the interviewer started yawning during his answers and after the third yawn, he started to feel very uneasy about the meeting.

While yawning is not a crime, it can send a “not interested” message if the interviewer or hiring manager keeps doing it during the meeting. In his case, the candidate sensed the interviewer was bored and just going through the motions rather than having any real interest.

It’s embarrassing and disheartening to job candidates who have their hopes up for making a good impression but end up encountering a difficult interview situation.

If you face an interview that appears to be going nowhere, here are some suggestions that you could take to save it.

For instance, the yawning interviewer could easily send mixed messages. If your meeting is after lunch or follows a series of interviews before with different candidates, a yawn could indicate tiredness rather than lack of interest. As you can imagine, a day of interviews can be tiring. In this case, take notice of the situation as early as possible and start adding more energy in your voice by making your answers engaging.

You should raise your game by giving results and telling them about your unique contributions and achievements. You need to re-energize the discussion or you run the risk of blending yourself in with everyone else.

If the interviewer is rushed and trying to fit a work schedule while conducting interviews, chances are high that your answers will get lost. Another candidate once described an interview with a manager who took three calls and consistently checked his emails throughout their meeting.

Multitasking is a very important sign for you to change directions. Consider stop talking and show empathy towards a busy work schedule. This is also saying to the interviewer that you are waiting for his/her full attention. If the interviewer seems too busy, ask politely if there is a better time to meet. While you may run the risk of rescheduling the interview, but it is an important meeting for both you and the employer.

What about the interviewer who puts you on trial? That’s the one who interrogates you rather than builds rapport. Every question seems like a trap for more in-depth examination to catch you off guard or not giving a correct answer. There could be an explanation behind this; usually, those interviewers who lack the basic skills needed to put the candidate at ease.

If the interrogating style of questioning continues throughout your meeting, it could be a huge reflection of their management style. You can try to turn the interview around by using clarifying questions such as, “did I answer your concerns?” or “help me understand the type of information you are exactly looking for?”. You could be the one that puts the interviewer at ease by changing your communication strategy and listening to their concerns.

Be aware of the interviewer who paints a negative picture of those who have gone before you. They might be looking for a candidate that does not exist. If the job is that difficult with a history of a lot of turnovers, that’s a cue for you to observe closely and ask more questions.

If you have trouble getting clear answers to the types of skills they are looking for, this could be a sign this job would be a disaster for your career.

Not every job will be the right one for you regardless of your desire to work. Every interview serves as an indication as to what the organization values, what’s its style of management, and whether it will be a good match for you.

The warning signs are always around you, just stay sharp and watch for them. They will tell you how to redirect the interview and avoid a disaster.

Tell us how did you turn around an awkward interview?

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