How YOU can control the interview!

What do you do when you’re asked an awkward interview question? We’ve all been there! It can totally cause us to um, er , what was I saying? Oh right! …lose our train of thought. That being said, it is up to you as to whether you want to continue with the interview. If you do, here are a few strategies that can help you take control of the interview process when things go off the rails!

Firstly, always prepare for the “unstructured” interview, interviewer and process. You can do this by preparing for your interview just as you would if you were on your first sales call pitching a new product to a new prospect…you ultimately control the sales call.

Continuing along these lines, you should arm yourself with documentation; resume, work samples, portfolio’s etc. At the beginning, these items can be put on the table in front of the interviewer. This powerful “tool” will allow you to drive the questions towards ones that really highlight your skills and steer things away when things get tricky.

How do you do this? 

  1. Refer the interviewer to a section or page of the document for further explanation or confirmation of something you’ve said.
  2. It also has the additional benefit of showing the interviewer that you’re prepared and organized.
  3. Additionally, by having a “safety net,” you will feel more confident.
  4. Always be prepared with extra questions just in case

When the interview starts to go into a “no go zone” halt it by asking permission to ask a question or give feedback to get things back on track. This is a powerful “behavior interrupter” By having them talk, it shifts the focus. Contrary to popular opinion you don’t have to wait for the traditional “Do you have any questions for me?” portion of the interview at the end. Most interviewers encourage a two-way dialogue and reciprocal fact-finding, so it’s not unusual to ask questions throughout the process.



Opps did I just say that! “What your body language is telling employers”

Did you know that 50-70% of language is unspoken?  Our bodies reflect our true state of mind and during interviews and cold-calling it’s probably like a blinking red light that says…VERY NERVOUS! It’s often because of our nerves, that we have no idea our physical “message” is running counter to what we’re actually saying. For example, you may be talking about your capable leadership skills while not being able to look the interviewer in the eye. Your words and your body language need to match despite your inner turmoil! 

To help keep your confidence up, keep this in mind:

  1. You wouldn’t have been asked for an interview if you didn’t already have the skills and abilities the employer is looking for.
  2. When cold-calling the very fact you came in-person is hugely impressive for employers
  3. SMILE! and show sincere warmth, since most employers get a distinct impression of you within the first few seconds this can offset nervousness and immediately make a good impression.
  4. Most employers want to hire you! They don’t want to waste time in the interview process so the quicker they can make a decision the better.

Now what is your body language really saying?


Action: Hands in pockets

Meaning: Dejection


Action: Touching your neck

Meaning: Insecurity


Action: Touching or rubbing nose

Meaning: Rejection, doubt or lying


Action: Rubbing eye

Meaning: Doubt or disbelief


Action: Hands clasped behind back

Meaning: Anger, apprehension


Action: Locked ankles

Meaning Apprehension


Action: Rubbing hands

Meaning: Anticipation        


Action: Patting / Fondling hair

Meaning: Lack of self-confidence


Action: Looking down face turned away

Meaning: Lack of confidence and disbelief


Action: Biting nails

Meaning: Insecurity, nervousness


Action: Pulling or tugging at ear

Meaning: Indecision


If you’re not sure whether you’re doing these things try recording yourself or have a friend watch you while answering interview questions. Remember everyone feels some insecurity at some point it’s just a matter of how you project those feelings.

Stay tuned for the next post on how to become a body language superhero!