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?
- Refer the interviewer to a section or page of the document for further explanation or confirmation of something you’ve said.
- It also has the additional benefit of showing the interviewer that you’re prepared and organized.
- Additionally, by having a “safety net,” you will feel more confident.
- 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.