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9 Tricks To Turn the Tide For A Bad Job Interview

9 Tricks To Turn the Tide For A Bad Job Interview

What can be more nerve-wracking than a job interview? Even first dates don’t have such high stakes. You’re at an interview for a job you really want, or really need, and you can tell you’re floundering. The interviewer doesn’t seem impressed by you, or you keep putting your foot in your mouth when asked to explain why you left a previous job, or you can’t come up with any words at all. Don’t worry, it’s happened to all of us! These tips will help you learn how to turn the tide for a bad job interview.

1. Recover from a terrible answer by rephrasing it.

Your brain is going a million miles an hour, and you’re trying to focus on the interviewer so you can form an intelligent answer for each question. But sometimes your brain trips up and picks the wrong words, or you use a negative tone when talking about a past job. Don’t let a disaster answer hang in the air. As soon as you realize your mistake, pause and state that you want to clarify what you meant. Rephrase the answer in positive, intelligent terms and elaborate a bit more, so the interviewer sees you’re not just covering yourself, but actually giving a clarifying explanation.

2. Ask questions if the interviewer seems bored.

Interviewers take notes while you’re talking, but that’s definitely a flower doodle in the corner of the notepad, and it looks like they’re starting in on the rest of the landscape. Don’t keep talking while your interviewer spaces out. Make sure they’re engaged the entire time. Instead of the never-ending monologue you’re giving, start asking questions. Ask about the company, the specific positions, the duties each job will include. Not only will this pull the interviewer from their daydream, they’ll see that you’re actually interested in learning about the job.

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3. Change the topic.

The interviewer might find a subject you don’t know much about – maybe the specific lesson you never really understood in college, or a job duty you couldn’t really master at your last job. Don’t just sit back and admit you don’t know what you’re talking about. Change the topic to highlight your strengths and share your knowledge.

4. Deal with the claim that you’re under or over qualified.

If you’re over qualified for a job, you will be called out on it. Employers don’t want to hire someone who will leave for something better in a month. Stress why you’re taking a job you might be over qualified for: because it interests you, because you want to break into a new field, because you want to take on different responsibilities. Make every aspect sound positive.

And if you’re told you’re under qualified, never fear! Make it clear that you’re aware of what the job is asking for, so the employer won’t think you applied just to waste their time. Tell them you want hands-on experience and that you’re a quick, eager learner. Again, make each point seem positive.

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5. Ask for a short break.

If you’re really fumbling, don’t be afraid to ask for a bathroom break. Walking around a more open space will help get oxygen to your brain. Splash some cold water on your face, give yourself a pep talk in the mirror, and get back out there feeling refreshed.

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    6. Show how interested you are in the job.

    When all else seems to fail, just be honest – show the interviewer how interested you are in the job. Let your passion come out as you explain how much you’ve always wanted to work for this company, or how eager you are to get into a new field or a different position. Don’t be afraid to be the one showing how much you want it – this isn’t a first date, so you don’t have to play it cool or risk scaring someone away.

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    7. Email a note clarifying any problems.

    Sometimes you don’t think of a mistake until you’re replaying the interview in your mind for the fifteenth time. Don’t beat yourself up about something you can’t correct in person. When you email a thank you note after the interview (you do that, right? You should!), include a brief paragraph explaining what you feel like you messed up on. In a worst case scenario, the interviewer has already made up their mind, but you’ll feel better explaining yourself, and they might really respect that you came forward to clarify, instead of just shrugging it off as a lost cause.

    8. Request a second interview.

    Either in your thank you email or a phone call, don’t be afraid to ask for a second interview. Be honest and say you were nervous and felt like you flubbed the first one. First impressions will stick in people’s minds, but calling about a second interview will show how much you really want the job, and how much effort you’re already putting into it.

    9. Accept it as a funny story to tell.

    Ok, so this “trick” won’t really turn the tide for a bad job interview, but it can make you feel better after the fact! Keep in mind that this interview was an experience. Maybe it seemed awkward and intolerable at the time, but you made it through. Whether you get the job or not, you now have a funny story to tell. I know tons of people who have humorous stories about bad job interviews, either self-deprecatingly or at the expense of a bad interviewer. Everyone loves hearing these stories, because everyone can relate. Don’t beat yourself up about what you should have done – just start crafting your story!

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    Featured photo credit: Alan Cleaver via flickr.com

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    Published on December 17, 2018

    15 Important Interview Questions to Ask Employees During an Interview

    15 Important Interview Questions to Ask Employees During an Interview

    The importance of asking great questions cannot be overstated. Great questions help you discover new things, diagnose existing problems, and explore how well solutions are working in your life or business. Whether you work with consultants, executives, or entry-level employees, you cannot skip questions.

    Now imagine running a company where sustainability and profitability depends on your ability to determine the brightest minds and skills in the industry in a single conversation:

    How do you know they’re the perfect fit for you? How do you assess their communication skills? How do you know they won’t cost your team in the long run?

    You know it already; ask great questions!

    The concept of asking questions isn’t new but there is a great chance that you’re not taking full advantage of it. A Harvard Business Review article refers to questioning as a powerful tool that unlocks value, fuels innovation and performance improvement.[1] As a hiring manager or recruiter, how to you get this information when you’re meeting a candidate for the first time?

    Ask great questions, of course.

    Without further ado, here are 15 interview questions to ask employees during an interview:

    1. “What are your career goals?”

    Another version of this question is “What types of problems do you see yourself solving in the future?”

    This question is almost never asked and when it is asked, most questions are geared towards knowing how long the employees intends to stay in the company.

    Instead of asking leading questions that would steer employees into declaring undying loyalty for the organization, ask what types of problems they hope to solve in the future.

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    This does two things:

    1. It reveals the skills and interest in your employees.
    2. It lets you know what types of candidates you are attracting in the first place.

    With this, you’re able to trend this data to improve how you market your job opening. And if employee retention is pertinent to you, you can use this information to improve the job function so that future employees can see their future selves in this role.

    2. “Why do you think you’re a great fit?”

    It is important to go beneath the surface to ask questions that make the candidates speak about themselves in their own words. However, a surprising benefit of asking this question is that you’re able to determine how well-versed a candidate really is with the company’s challenges and goals, in addition to their personal attributes.

    Instead of listing off accomplishments, an exceptional employee is able to help you see how these previous accomplishment can translate into helping your organization solve its current business problems.

    3. “What do you hope to learn from this role?”

    The answers to this question can reveal if there is a job-skill match and if a linear career progression is expected.

    As you listen carefully and mind these answers from candidates, you begin to see trends in responses that help you refine how you develop roles, responsibilities, how employees see themselves, and what they want their career to look like.

    4. “How do you deal with conflict between colleagues?”

    Almost every breakdown in relationship is caused by miscommunication or lack of effective interpersonal skills. But a solid indicator of how well a person communicates is how they manage interpersonal conflict.

    Conflict management skills is no longer something required only for corporations who wish to settle million-dollar lawsuits. It’s an essential skill that every worker ought to possess and can make or break an organization.

    Tip: Ask for a time when they didn’t get along with a co-worker and how they resolved the conflict.

    5. “How did you learn about this position?”

    Asking how they learned about the position reveals how the brand is perceived by the outside world. This way, you know if your current employees is your biggest source of referrals for qualified applicants.

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    This also lets you know how effective your current staffing processes are and which channels are worth the effort.

    6. “Why are you interested in this position?”

    Again, another seemingly basic question. But when you field applications from candidates who are transferring their skills from a different department or industry, you want to know why the change was made.

    What led to the aha moment? What was the internal struggle like for them? What stands out to them about this particular position? Very important.

    7. “What excites you the MOST about this position?”

    After establishing how passionate they are about this position, it’s not unusual that you would want to know what tasks and responsibilities excite them most. With this knowledge, not only are you aware of their sense of ownership, you help nurture these skills by encouraging and facilitating the discovery of hidden potential in your employees.

    For example, a hospital nurse might detest inserting intravenous catheters in patients but jump at the task of motivating colleagues and initiating stress-reduction activities on hospital units. An office employee might cringe at the thought of public speaking but excel at creating world-class presentations.

    While you can’t exempt your employee from every task in the role because they favor one thing over another, you are more aware of how rich your existing talent pool is in your organization and can utilize your talents effectively.

    8. “What do you consider your weakness?”

    Why should you ask a candidate what his or her weakness is when all you want is someone perfect?

    Admitting a weakness shouldn’t automatically disqualify a candidate. Rather, it reveals to you how self-aware the candidate is.

    Self-awareness is essential to personal and professional development, and this is sometimes a precursor to how self-directed a person is regarding their career goals.

    There are arguments about the need to abolish the weakness question from interviews because it reduces candidates’ accomplishments. I disagree.

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    Asking employees about weaknesses lets you understand your employees better so you can not only create a work environment that is smart, you’re able to design professional development programs that can strengthen these weaknesses.

    9. “What will you find challenging about this position?”

    Maybe you don’t want to ask the ”weakness question.” Maybe you’re more concerned about the capacity to perform in the current job rather than their job history.

    Still, you want to know if you have a creative problem solver and how they feel about potential problems when they arise. You also want to anticipate how your employees will adjust to their roles once they are successfully hired. Self-awareness about one’s ability and limits can be observed by asking this question during an interview.

    Note: This question should never be asked with a malicious intent. Exceptional employees come with flaws and this should be expected. They key is knowing whether the successful candidate is willing to be a problem solver.

    10. “What additional support will you need during your transition?”

    This is a very important question during the interview question because not only is the labor market diverse, the response to this question can be used to develop the orientation process and additional training materials.

    As a mentor to newer nurses, this is a question I repeat more than 50 percent of the time during the orientation period. The responses I get provide me with insights into what employees really consider as constraints so that I can make their transition as smooth as possible.

    11. “What qualities do you desire in a leader or manager?”

    Not everyone desires a manager who provides direction while giving you free rein to make your job your own. At the same time, some employees might prefer a manager who is detail-oriented and provides all the answers.

    Knowing this before a candidate is hired can prevent conflict arising from differences in communication or management styles.

    12. “What do you do if you don’t agree with your manager’s decisions?”

    Conflict not only happens between employees. According to a study of conflict in the Canadian workforce,[2] about 81 percent of people leave the organization as a result of conflict.

    The purpose of this question is to determine how adaptable an employee is to different communication styles, what they consider deal breakers, and how they model desired behavior when conflict arises.

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    The responses to this question allows you to manage expectations and an indication for leaders to continuously work on their communication and conflict management skills.

    13. “What would make this company an amazing place to work?”

    Maybe you can’t provide free lunches or paid hours of free time at work like bigger companies. But answers to this question can reveal a lot about what employees think is crucial to well-being.

    In a study of nearly 17,000 employees,[3] it was noted that an increase in stress level is directly correlated to workplace injury. While this interview won’t eradicate organizational constraints or stressors, feedback from candidates and employees on what makes a company a great place to work is the perfect place to start.

    14. “What other questions do you have for me?”

    Although this is a conversation to determine the best fit for your team, company, or organization, the interview goes both ways. Yes, you are also being scrutinized by your interviewee.

    The purpose of this question is to create space to answer the candidate’s questions about your organization. You also get to provide insight on processes, expectations, team culture, and information that isn’t readily available on the company website.

    15. “Tell me about yourself”

    If everything else seems too much, lead with this timeless question. You simply cannot go wrong here.

    Sometimes, the best answers come from open-ended queries. This is your best chance to know the candidate’s history, career accomplishments, and get a feel for their career goals all at the same time.

    It is less intrusive and leading with this question makes it easier to approach other questions––depending on how sensitive the position is.

    The Bottom Line

    Conversation is a two-way street. Good questions can give you great insights into the value an employee can bring to your company. But there is an art and science to asking questions.

    While you won’t become an expert right off the bat, these questions provide a good foundation to start from if you want to attract and retain top talent in your organization.

    More Resources About Job Interview

    Featured photo credit: Drew Beamer via unsplash.com

    Reference

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