How to Handle a Bad Interview/er

April 19, 2016

Career Advice

22981117562_7fa0553a56_zYou’ve prepped until the cows come home, you’re relaxed, confident, and ready to pull off the best interview you’ve ever had. “This job is in the bag,” you say to yourself. The receptionist walks you to the conference room and you take a seat, waiting for the interviewer to enter the room. You sit there, drumming your fingers on the table, waiting impatiently for the next 15 minutes. Unfortunately, your confidence turns to suspicion about this company and what it could be like to work for them. Your thoughts are confirmed when the interviewer eventually “finds” the conference room and says he didn’t get a chance to look at your resume yet.

The Late Interview is just one example of how an interview can start off less than positive. In this particular example, managing your emotions in the moment is the secret. Don’t let your thoughts get the best of you… it’s possible that this is as bad as it’s going to get and the rest of the interview could be fabulous. Suspend any judgment, get your thoughts back on track, and perform as well as you would have if the interviewer would have been on time and organized.

Here are some other scenarios you might run into in the interview and how to handle them:

The Interrupted Interview: The interviewer starts checking his cell phone, is clearly not listening to you, and then he tells you he has to leave for a moment. You may begin to feel anxious and uncertain. Your thoughts are being continuously disrupted. Do your best to calm yourself. Remember the important points you wanted to make and skip right to those. It may be that this interview is going to get cut short, so you want to highlight all of your qualifications and quickly. Also, your interviewer may be respectful enough to offer you another time to meet given the interruptions–that’s not off the table yet. If the interviewer doesn’t offer this, consider asking for it yourself! 

Job Description Uncertain: If you get to the interview with one perception of a job and find out it’s something completely different, the situation could get dicey fast. But don’t let it throw you just yet! Whether you’re overwhelmed by what would be expected of you or underwhelmed by what it ended up being, do your best to apply your skills to this unexpected opportunity. If the job turns out to be completely off base for you, consider asking the interviewer if there are other open positions that are a better fit for you. After all, you’re sitting in front of a recruiter, your foot is in the door, and you have the chance to sell yourself. Be sure to ask for the contact information for any potential other positions and set up a meeting right away.

It’s all about turning lemons into lemonade. Every interview is a chance to network with an HR person or a potential coworker. Don’t let it go to waste!

Image via Asher Isbrucker/Flickr.

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.

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  1. Our Top 10 Interview Posts | Spectrum Brands Careers Blog - January 24, 2017

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