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How to Save an Interview Gone Wrong

How to Save an Interview Gone Wrong

Steve Berman | Inside Tech

June 11, 2010

Everything was going so well. You shook hands with the hiring manager like a professional. The interview went from general small talk to some skillfully answered questions that showed off your tech savvy. You don’t just feel confident — you can already imagine where your office will be.

Then, just like that, the wonderful interview takes a turn for the worst.

Whether it’s a question you weren’t prepared for or not-so-well-received answer, it’s easy to tell when an interview has gone off course. And it’s quite possibly the most nerve-wracking, upsetting, desperate experience a job seeker can suffer.

You don’t have to be a hero to make the best of a bad situation, no matter how awful it gets. Remember: Saving a bad interview takes lighting-fast thinking and persistence. Are you up to the challenge?

Sticky Situation No. 1: Drawing a Blank

You studied the company’s website and memorized the answer to every common interview question you could find. Then the unimaginable happens: You’re faced with a question you weren’t expecting and you go blank. A database? What’s that? Linux? Huh? You can’t figure out what to say and the impending silence feels so awkward, you might as well be sitting there in your underwear. How do you fix this?

Solution: Focus on Something You DO Know.

While you don’t want to make this a habit, sometimes a non-answer is the best choice, especially when the alternative is an endless silence. Hey, politicians do it all the time. If the interviewer threw you for a loop with a question on how you handled a conflict with a grumpy client, change the subject to something semi-related that you did prepare for, like your collaborative skills on a challenging IT project where you excelled.

Next: The Devil’s in the Details >>

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