Even when you prepare and rehearse for the tough question, you may find yourself wondering if you blew the interview. If you didn’t spend time preparing and rehearsing and a tough question caught you unaware, you may be terrified that you blew it.
What happens in an interview coaching session?
My first assignment for my clients when we are doing an interview coaching session is to figure out that tough question. Everyone seems to have one. Here are some examples:
- What is your greatest weakness?
- Why did you get let go from your last job?
- Why do you have so many short-term jobs?
- What is this gap on your resume?
Those are often the big ones that people struggle with but there are plenty more that bother my clients. Whatever your tough question is, you need to prepare to answer it. There are several responses that I coach my clients to stay away from:
- Don’t sound defensive. Whenever you start sounding defensive, it makes it harder for the interviewer to see your good qualities. They will just wonder what else you are hiding.
- Don’t be dishonest. You have no idea how much homework the interviewer did or what cards he is holding back so if you lie about things, they will come back to haunt you.
- Don’t talk in long stories. Think as if you are in an interview with media and think “Sound bites.” Pause to let the interviewer ask a follow-up question and do not try to tell them everything at once.
- Don’t tell your life story. We all know someone like this. They do it everywhere and you will find that if you know them long enough, you could tell it for them.
Now that we covered some of those things, what should you do if you think you blew the interview?
- Stay calm. You don’t know what will happen until you get a final answer so if you waste time worrying, you won’t change anything.
- Write a thank you – follow-up to all interviewers. You should have gotten their business cards in the interview but if you forgot, contact someone in the interview and ask for the contact information. The followup thank you can address what you wanted to say in the interview. If you left something out, take time to clarify keeping in mind the points above.
- Keep your job search going until you have a final answer. If you put your eggs in one basket with just that job, you will stall your job search. Just like a realtor doesn’t remove the for sale sign until the closing, you shouldn’t consider your job search over until you have an offer in your hand.
Interviewing is tough for most people even those people who think they have it all together. If you keep these tips in mind, it should save you some unnecessary worry and stress.
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