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Walking into a job interview, everyone hopes for the best. But let’s face it: interviews don’t always go as smoothly as planned. Maybe you stumbled on a question or felt you didn’t effectively communicate your skills. The good news is that a rocky start doesn’t have to spell disaster. With the right techniques, you can turn the situation around and leave a lasting impression. In this guide, we’ll cover five actionable tips to help you revive an interview that’s going off track and steer it back toward success.
Tips for Turning Things Around
- Regain Composure: If you find yourself panicking, take a moment to breathe deeply. This can help you calm your nerves and refocus.
- Rephrase Previous Answers: If you feel an earlier answer didn’t hit the mark, find an opportunity to rephrase or expand upon it later in the interview.
- Ask for Clarification: If a question confuses you, it’s better to ask for clarification than to guess and risk giving an irrelevant answer.
- Show Enthusiasm: A lackluster performance can often be offset by showing genuine enthusiasm for the job and the company.
- Be Honest: If you don’t know an answer, it’s better, to be honest rather than trying to bluff your way through.
- Employ Positive Body Language: Maintain eye contact, sit up straight, and use gestures to show you are engaged.
- Highlight Skills: If you sense the interview is not going well, proactively bring up skills or experiences that make you a strong candidate.
- Be Concise: Long-winded answers can lose an interviewer’s interest. Keep your responses succinct but informative.
- Ask Insightful Questions: Asking the interviewer thoughtful questions can show your interest in the role and might help redeem a shaky start.
- Express Gratitude: Always thank the interviewer for their time, regardless of how you think the interview went. It leaves a positive impression.
Reset Your Mindset
This is going to be easier said than done, but if you can bring yourself back to the present moment, you can turn things around. Before you get into the interview, set a turning point. Create a trigger that will restore your focus and bring you back into the present moment. Something like pinching your leg would work wonderfully.
Let this thing serve as a reminder that you have a fresh opportunity at this moment, and you don’t have to worry about the moments that have passed. Yes, your interviewer may have noticed the slight pause, but worrying about the past will only hinder you in the present. When you reset your focus to the present moment, you can let go of the worry and allow yourself to shine.
Ask for a Minute
Here’s one thing you may not have considered before going into your interview. Yes, your interviewer is busy, and yes, they probably have to get through a lot of interviews that day. But know this above all else: They’re human.
Whether or not you get the job, your interviewer will likely empathize with your nerves. We’ve literally all been there. It’s okay to ask for a minute to calm yourself.
Tell the interviewer that you’re a little nervous and just need a minute to refocus yourself. He or she will understand. And they may actually appreciate that you can come back stronger. It’ll give the interviewer a better picture of how you are on a day-to-day basis with less stress, which is incredibly valuable for determining fit.
Practice Simple Breath Exercises
You don’t want to call attention to your breathing while you’re in an interview, so try to avoid loud deep breathing. If you’re feeling especially nervous while you’re sitting down and waiting for your interview to get started, practice a simple breathing exercise.
Just shift your focus to your breath as it flows in and out. This is a simple form of meditation that can help calm your nerves and possibly ease an upset stomach (related to nerves) as you prepare for your interview. And it’s a whole lot better than obsessing over what you’re going to say — because we know that never ends well.
Ask the Interviewer a Personal Question
Small talk can really help ease your nerves as you prepare to answer tough questions. When you realize that your interviewer is a person with a life and maybe even a sense of humor, it can take the pressure off your chat. Just don’t get too personal. You can ask about things like their commute or how long they’ve worked for the company, but you’re going to want to avoid asking about personal things like their marriage or kids unless they bring it up.
As you can probably tell, there are numerous ways to help reduce interview nervousness to help show why you’re a great fit for the company. Despite this, there’s really nothing you can do to completely end nervousness, but you can take control of the situation and turn things around when you see an interview going badly. Mastering this ability will allow you to excel in any interview and will make stressful moments in your career much easier to conquer.