In many ways, the hardest part of a job can be the effort to get it in the first place! There are people who are naturally great at job interviews, and there are people are who need a little bit more help in order to put their best selves across. If you are in the second category, then I might be able to give you some good advice! Here is what you should do if you are stumped during an interview.
The first thing you need to do is simply try to calm down. I know it’s easier said than done, but the more you get worked up about how you think you are coming across, the higher your blood pressure will get and the higher your fluster level will be. Take ten seconds to centre yourself back in the room, do some deep breathing, and remember that it isn’t the end of the world.
The worst thing you can do is say ‘I don’t know’ when asked a question. Even if you don’t know or don’t have an immediately compelling answer, try to think of a way to segway the question into another area that you can offer something of worth about. It’s always better to be talkative and engaged on ‘something’ rather than backing away from a question with ‘I don’t know’.
If you are having a hard time coming up with things to say, balance this out by asking questions of your interviewers. Hopefully you will be able to listen to them for a little while and get more comfortable in the environment. You might get some clues about where to take the conversation from what they say.
If you have been asked a question that you don’t necessarily understand, then don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or repetition. Being asked the question in different words is much more preferable to skipping over it and ignoring it because you didn’t understand what they were asking you.
Interviewers aren’t stupid, they can tell when you are struggling. An easy way to evaporate this tension and awkwardness is to simply admit to them that you are having a tough few minutes! They are human after all, they aren’t going to be robotic about it. Being honest about your nerves is a good way to get them on your side!
Take a few minutes the next day to send a follow up email to your interviewer, telling them how much you appreciated the opportunity and how much you look forward to hearing from them. This can help to put a more composed cherry on top of the cake, especially if the interview didn’t go exactly how you had planned.
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