Job interviews can be stressful. Trying to make a good first impression, while also being yourself, and not being awkward while doing it – can be stressful. And when things don’t go in your favor, whether it be a wardrobe malfunction or losing your train of thought – how do you prevent an awkward interview from derailing your chances of getting hired? We’re sharing 7 things to avoid, below.
Bad-Mouthing Your Last Job
Your job history will most likely consist of negative experiences or difficult people. However, the last thing you want to do is bad-mouth your past company or employer. Not only does it reflect poorly on you – but the hiring manager may know of the people or company you are referring to. And if they disagree in the slightest with your statements, it can deter your chances of being hired. If you had an unpleasant past position, simply explain that things did not work out or that the position or company wasn’t a good fit for you. You are still getting the message across without pointing fingers.
Getting Hung Up on Your Words
There may be times when you are sharing a story or explaining your experience and you lose your train of thought. If this occurs, admit that a term or topic has slipped your mind, and then continue to share the story without it. By switching gears to the importance of the topic, you avoid the lag of awkwardness that occurs with stalling and trying to recall a very small piece of the story.
Overthinking an Awkward Pause
Sometimes during an interview, you may answer a question and then notice a long pause afterward. Do you elaborate more? Change the topic? How do you know whether to continue or wait? One of the most surprising things to people is that sometimes these “awkward pauses” only feel awkward to you. You may feel uncomfortable, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the situation is. The hiring manager may be taking notes, processing your response or thinking of another question to ask. Don’t feel you need to fill this time in by talking more. Go with the flow of the interview – pauses and all.
Panicking Over A Question
There will probably be a question you are asked that you were not prepared for. Whether it be a tricky question or one you haven’t given much thought to – if you’re approached with something that you don’t know the answer to, don’t panic. Acknowledge that you would like a minute to think about the question and then continue. They’ll appreciate the honesty, and you’ll have more time to compile a response.
Not Acknowledging Issues with Your Attire
Wardrobe malfunctions, happen. And when they do, they can be incredibly awkward. Whether you end up sweating through your suit, have a top or skirt malfunction, or spill something on your outfit… clothing mishaps can cause pure panic. One of the best ways to deal with it? Acknowledge it. You’re better off making a joke and pointing out the issues, then trying to hide it and fiddle with it. This allows you to share that you had a mishap, and this is not a normal occurrence for you.
Arriving Too Early
It’s important to be on time for your job interview, however, you don’t want to be too early. Showing up 15-20 minutes prior to an interview is common. It gives you time to fill out any necessary paperwork, find the location that you are meeting in, and give yourself some cushion for any inconveniences. However, showing up 30+ minutes early can be awkward and lead you to wait in the waiting room or the interview room for an uncomfortable amount of time. If you do arrive early, wait outside or in your car, look over the job description – use this time to prepare and buy some time. Then walk in with 15-20 minutes to spare.
Avoiding Eye Contact
Having good eye contact is important. It allows you to connect with who you’re talking with, show you’re engaged and that you’re listening. However, if you tend to avoid eye contact, or are looking away more than you are engaging, you can create a disconnect with the interviewer. It can show you are distracted, unfocused, or hard to connect with. When you are responding or listening, be aware of making eye contact to show you are engaged and present.
How do you avoid an awkward interview? Comment below!