Gulp! It’s happening! You’re at a job interview and a few minutes in you realize it’s not going well. At. All!
Your palms sweat. Your forehead starts to shine. Your interview outfit feels even more restrictive. You’re wondering if you should just politely say “I’m sorry; I know I’m not doing well. I’m sure you’ve already decided I’m not the right person for the job, so I don’t want to waste any more of your time. Thank you for speaking with me.” And then leave.
Hold on! All DEFINITELY is NOT lost! Many interviews can start to go south, but that doesn’t mean you should decide the interview is a bust. It’s certainly possible to turn around a seemingly disastrous interview.
The signs your job interview is sinking
First of all, a bad interview may not be your fault. It could be that the hiring manager/recruiter is having an off day or is just executing the interview poorly.
Signs of this include:
-The interviewer isn’t making eye contact with you
-He or she appears distracted (lots of fidgeting, looking out the door at the desk, etc.)
-The interviewer displays negative body language (crossed arms, leaning away from you)
-You get the feeling your interviewer hasn’t even read your resume because he or she seems to be reading it a lot before asking questions.
What to do.
If this is the case, you can do several things:
If the interviewer is exhibiting negative body language, isn’t making eye-contact, hasn’t read your resume, and/or seems distracted, you should lean in and speak with enthusiasm.
If the interviewer continues his or her behavior and doesn’t become more engaged with you, you may want to think twice about whether you’d even want to work for someone who isn’t offering you simple interview courtesy.
As for not having read your resume, hiring managers and recruiters can be extremely busy, so your first thought should be to give your interviewer the benefit of the doubt, give a recap of your experience and how it will be of benefit to the hiring manager/company.
Signs you’re doing poorly in a job interview based on your body language
-You’re not looking the interviewer in the eye
-You’re “hello” handshake is limp
What to do.
These are pretty easy to fix. Make sure you give a firm – but not too firm – handshake at the beginning of the interview, look directly at the interviewer when answering questions and lean in as you do.
You also should aim to sit somewhat on the edge of the seat and lean forward a bit. Try hard not to touch your face, twiddle with your hair or constantly fidget. If you’ve been on interviews and notice you’re doing so, it’s time to practice with someone you trust so that you can learn not to. Interview practice also helps you become more confident and should help nip fidgeting in the bud.
You’re not articulating the value you bring to the position
Many people wait for the interviewer to ask questions and then simply answer them. Yet it’s critical that you let an interviewer know how your particular skills and experience will help the hiring manager/company in this particular position. Ask the interviewer what his or her particular challenges are, and be ready to answer how your skills and experience can help solve them.
The ONLY reason (pretty much!) employers hire people
Here’s a secret (and once you know it you’ll likely never flub an interview again): businesses hire people to solve problems. That’s it!
So if you can discuss how your specific background and skills can help an employer meet and exceed its challenges, you’re in!
This means, of course, that you’ll need to do some research on the company to see what its particular challenges might be. You also will need to ask the interviewer what the main problems are that you’ll be asked to tackle once hired. And then you’ll need to articulate how your skills and experience will do so.
You have some work to do
No employer expects you to know exactly what challenges it’s facing. But some internet research and some deep thinking about what value you bring to an employer’s table will go a long way to helping you help a hiring manager see that you’re his or her best bet. And partnering with a recruiter can help you understand an organization and its needs at an entirely different level.
Speaking of showing a hiring manager your value, if you’d like some help finding great IT consulting positions as well as help broadcasting your talents to hiring managers, we can help. Take a look at our current opportunities and then reach out to one of our recruiters. (Psst: we love to chat shop with IT professionals!)