What to Do When You’re Caught Off Guard in an Interview

November 13, 2014

Career Advice

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Hopefully your next interview is chock full of great news about a challenging position with smart coworkers, fantastic benefits, and great pay. But that’s not always the case. Occasionally an interviewer drops a bomb you weren’t expecting, like:

“This position is 75% travel.”
“You’ll be managing a huge team of people across the country.”
“You’ll most definitely have to work every weekend or some week nights.”
“In addition to X, you’ll be doing Y, too.”
“You won’t be able to take any vacation time for six months.”
“The position is part time.”
“You know this position only pays $25,000 right?”

Step one: Don’t let your jaw drop. If you’ve managed to successfully do this, your next move is to do nothing. That’s right. Smile and nod. The goal of an interview is to land the job — you can always turn down the offer at a later date. Think of this as great interview practice, not a waste of time. Move forward as if nothing major just happened and continue to give the best interview performance of your life.

After all, each interview is also a networking opportunity. Although you may have just discovered that this position is wrong — very wrong — for you, there may be another better opportunity at the company in the future. (Just wait until after the interview process to ask about any other opportunities you’re interested in.) You never know — this person could introduce you to a great contact via LinkedIn with a lead for a better position. The old saying rings especially true here: “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”


About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

View all posts by Spectrum Brands Careers


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