Awkward job interviews and how to bounce back from them
Who hasn’t got a bad interview story?
Job interviews are demanding at the best of times, and then your phone rings or your mind goes blank and you can’t remember your own name, let alone the answer to the question. But you can save it – here’s how.
The key to redeeming yourself is knowing how to acknowledge it and move on gracefully. We asked some Monarch graduates for their advice on how to deal with cringe-worthy scenarios.
- Your mobile phone rings. This happens to the best of us. For Sarah, one of our bookkeeping graduates, she was mortified but realised she had to deal with it quickly and let them know this wasn’t her standard behaviour. “I told them that I was sorry and that I thought I had switched it to silent. This makes it clear that it was a mistake.” Then, get the conversation back on track and forget it even happened.
- You can’t think of an answer. Sam did all the prep for his logistics interview but was stumped by one question. If this happens, it can be easy to go into panic mode, “which is what I nearly did” says Sam, “but I actually asked if I could come back to that question in a few minutes, and surprisingly they were really ok with it. I think it shows that you’re human and if you acknowledge you need time, they respect that”.
- You speak a little too candidly about your previous employer. When Monarch grad Casey mentioned he’d had a fall out with his previous employer, he thought was all over. “Before I knew it my filter had stopped working and I was waffling on about it all being their fault. I basically moved on as fast as possible. I put a positive spin on it and acknowledged that there were also some great things about working there”.
- You go off on a tangent. You’re in the middle of answering a question when you suddenly find yourself talking about what you had for lunch that day. “It happens to everyone”, recalls former student Josh, “and interviewers are totally ok with it, as long as you pull yourself back on track as soon as you can. If you are struggling, go for the results trick – just reel off some results of a campaign you’ve delivered and then take a deep breath and start again”.
- You accidentally swear. Have you ever been so comfortable in an interview you’ve chatted to the interview like they are a friend? Taylor did. “I guess I just felt too relaxed, and I let slip a swear word! It didn’t go down well. I went a shade of red and then hurriedly apologised, before moving on. I think if it happened again I’d own up straight away and tell them the truth – that the job means a lot much to me, and that the nerves got to me”.
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