Job interviews are inherently a nerve wracking experience. After all, it’s not every day that it’s socially acceptable for an entirely new person to trap you in a small room to grill you on every aspect of your professional life.
Naturally, under the strain of interview, mistakes and embarrassing moments can occur – but these are nothing to be afraid of as long as you are prepared to handle them.
Milkround tell us the most awkward things that can happen in an interview and how to overcome them:
As an interviewer, one of the weakest ways a candidate can start an interview is with a limp or, even worse, clammy handshake. A strong handshake can have the opposite effect – it automatically implies confidence, gaining your interviewer’s respect.
Our top tip to overcoming a weak handshake is simple – practice makes perfect. Find a willing victim to practice on and shake their hand until you’ve got it down – a firm grip (not bone-breaking) with a clean, dry hand will start your interview off in the right way.
Sharing your life story
Obviously, this interview is about you – but this does not mean that your interviewer wants to know absolutely everything. The most awkward thing you can do at interview is to deliver a rambling list of moments in your life that you think might be even vaguely relevant to the question. Revealing too much personal information about yourself to your interviewer is a no-no. News flash – your interviewer isn’t your therapist!
When asked to tell your interviewer about a time you led a team (or similar), remember to give the most relevant and recent answer you have. Keep your examples professional – examples from your professional life will always be more relevant than ones from your personal life anyway.
Drawing a blank
We’ve all been there – no matter how much you’ve prepared, your interviewer can throw you a curve ball, catching you off guard with an off the wall question. Your palms go sweaty and you get yourself tongue tied… *internal scream*.
Until you’ve been on a few interviews, something you may not realise is that your interviewer is totally human. They’re not there to catch you out – in fact, they would much rather you do well than not. If you find yourself stuck on a question, it’s fine to tell your interviewer that you need a few minutes to think about it. You can even ask to come back to the question later. Either way, it’s better to be honest instead of babbling incoherently in response to a tough question.
It’s all about me
Let’s be honest…you want this job to help your own career. You know this - your interviewer knows it too. However, both you and your interviewer have your own agendas – and it’s a bit of an oversight to forget this. As much as might like to rave about what this job will do for you, talking about ‘me, me, me’ will do nothing to impress your interviewer.
Instead, tell your interviewer what you can offer to the role. Which of your skills will the business benefit most from? This will be far more persuasive to your interviewer – so don’t forget to keep their agenda in mind, as well as yours.
“How did I do?”
Saying ‘no’ when asked ‘do you have any questions?’ at the end of an interview will go down like a lead balloon. Rustling up a couple of intelligent questions to highlight your interest in the role will round off your interview nicely.
However - the most awkward thing you can ask at the end of an interview is to ask “How did I do?”. There is no scenario where this is not an awkward question for your interviewer. If you did well, your interviewer won’t be able to tell you at this point; if you did awfully, your interviewer will cringe at the prospect of having to tell this to your face. Asking this question is worse than asking nothing at all!
Instead, end your interview strongly by asking questions about career progression, business culture and so on. Just make sure that you don’t ask anything that you could have found out yourself on the internet!
For more careers advice and tips, check out Milkround.com, the UK’s leading graduate recruitment website.