Working in recruitment all these years we hear a lot of interivew feedback, and post thoughts, often starting with “I wish I had…” or “I waffled” or “I didn’t understand the question I was asked” or “I was given a question within a question, and I didn’t know what example they were looking for” or “I froze, had a mind-blank”.
We have all been there, and interviews can be so nerve wracking especially if it’s a role you really want. We have put together a few top tips, hints and advice, which we hope helps during your hour of need to turn around any blunders 💚
Your mind goes blank
This isn’t uncommon, if this happens to you, take a deep breath, and ask the interview to rephrase, repeat or add further context, if it’s really not happening, ask to go back to this question later on.
If I had £1 for each time some said “I waffled” 😁 This is one of the biggest mistakes we can make in job interviews and it’s crucial to get it right. When we don’t understand a question, it’s so easy to waffle and go on and on, skirting around the actual question, coming up with an evasive or unclear answer. If you are not sure, then simply ask “is this the sort of example you were looking for?” Or “Have I answered your question?” or a clever angle is too, summarise your answer, clients seem to love this!
If you feel it was a complete waffle and a summary not possible, to save a potential disaster, don’t be afraid to say, “I’m a bit nervous and have just lost my train of thought, can you repeat the question, I would like to have another go at this!?”
It’s so easy to be negative about your past employers, when describing the culture, colleagues, company values, or even the type of work you did. Just be mindful of this, and keep it as positive as you can, for example when asked why you are leaving “although I really enjoyed the variety of tasks within my position, my role was pretty easy, and I do love to be challenged. Sadly, there isn’t any opportunity for me to progress within this role”. If relevant.
Do let the interviewer lead and direct the conversation, letting them have the time to ask their questions. Try not to overtake the interview as it will look like this is how you could behave in the workplace.
If you’ve started your interview this way, it’s not too late to turn it around, just do your best to keep your subsequent answers shorter and more succinct and never interrupt the interviewer when they’re speaking.
If you get the opportunity at the end of the interview, you can apologise for talking too much or perhaps say you were nervous if this was the cause.
Other recovery tips!
Ask further questions
As well as providing you with an opportunity to learn more about the company, asking further questions can allow you to counter any comments you may have made you regret, or allow you to mention a point you wish you had.
Do thank them for their time, you could at this point, thank you so much for their time, let them know the information was invaluable, and reinforce why you’d be a good fit for the role and how enthusiastic you are!
In our experience at Cameo we’ve heard some great feedback and had many a debrief with candidates and clients, there are inevitably going to be mistakes on both parts, and mistakes made at interview. But, if you make a real blunder in a job interview, don’t worry, we are all human, and it can often be mitigated with having this insight in your tool box, and if it wasn’t to be, you will be more than ready, armed with lessons for your next job interview.
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