We all have to go through the interview process when we enter the workforce. Some more than others, but the fact is we all have to endure it. Typically we’re feeling the pressure of making a good first impression and saying all the right things. However, what if your interviewer is also feeling that pressure and asks all of the wrong questions. You don’t want that to hinder your ability to make a good impression, so here are a few tips for providing the information they need even when they blow it.
Identify What You Want to Say Beforehand
If they aren’t asking the questions that will allow you to highlight your skills, it’s important that you ask yourself these questions beforehand and write down your answers. Do some research on the company to get a good understand of how your skills and past successes will fit into what they are doing. If you know the answers to the right questions, then you can navigate the conversation in the right direction when they ask the wrong questions.
Shifting the Conversation
Though it’s important to redirect the conversation in a way that will highlight your strengths, you absolutely cannot avoid a question that is directly asked. Before shifting the conversation, you must answer the question that is asked and then tag on past success stories at the appropriate time. You must also be careful not to be too abrupt and drift off topic. Be subtle, be conscientious and look for the right timing.
Refer to Your Notes
It’s ok to refer to your notes but it’s best to address it in a way that says, “I’m being thorough and wrote down a few relevant points to make sure that we’re both getting as much as we can out of this process.” If they feel that you’re making an attempt to not be flippant about the process, they will more likely respect your gesture to refer to your notes within the interview. In other words, don’t let it seem like you’re at a loss for words and your notes are you comfort zone.
Ask Your Own Questions
As I previously mentioned, it’s so important to do some research about the company and ask some key questions. This will let them know that you have genuine interest and that you’re a person who comes prepared. Also ask a few questions that will help you highlight your skills. For instance, “what are the qualities that you’d like the person in this position to possess?” Use this open dialogue to express how you have exemplified those qualities in the past.