How to Survive the Job Interview If You Are Tanking


How to handle situations in a job interview that may be uncomfortable and know the signs for an interview that is going no where.

How To Know You Are Tanking

1. Watch the interviewer’s eyes.

An interviewer that is simply going through the motions will not make eye contact. Check for a glazed or glassy stare and heavy eyelids.

2. Listen carefully.

A bored or disinterested interviewer may quietly hum a tune, whistle softly, or shuffle papers repeatedly.

3. Observe actions.

Constant watch- or clock-checking, the eating of a sandwich, and lots of phone calls are all signs that a job offer is not forthcoming.

If You Are Late

1. Call ahead. If you are stuck in traffic or otherwise running late, call. Ask if you should reschedule or if you should come in anyway.

2. Clean up. If you are sweaty and disheveled, ask to use a bathroom before meeting your interviewer. If you are nervous, put anti-perspirant on your palms and face (make sure it’s clear) to reduce moisture.

3. Apologize, but do not overdo it. Say you are sorry for your tardiness, but do not give a sob story: Never discuss personal information in a job interview.

If You Are Asked a Difficult or Leading Question

1. Always respond with a positive. If the interviewer says, “I see you don’t have experience making coffee,” counter with, “That’s true, but I’ve always wanted to learn and I’m a quick study!”

2. Tell a personal story, but only one that relates skills applicable to the job. If the interviewer asks about project management experience and you don’t have any, talk about planning your wedding: organizing vendors, designing a database, and creating seating charts based on the interests of guests.

3. Put the question off until later. If you are unable to come up with an answer, say “Can we get back to that later, I need to give it some thought?” Use this strategy only as a last resort.

If Your Interviewer Hits on You

1. Accept compliments gracefully. If an interviewer compliments your suit, blouse, or a piece of jewelry, they may simply be impressed with your appearance. Say thank you and move on. More than one compliment is inappropriate and should be deflected (below).

2. Deflect personal questions. In most states it is illegal for a job interviewer to ask personal questions, including age, marital status, children, and sexual preference. If you get such questions, gently suggest that you keep topics to professional matters.

3. Say you are not interested. If your interviewer asks you out on a date, simply say “no thanks.” However, if the interview is at lunch time and things seem to be going well, it is appropriate to accept a lunch invitation (keep the conversation on business matters).

4. Accept a date only if you don’t want the job. Starting a new job while being personally involved with someone in the company is not a good idea. If you make a connection with your interviewer and there is true chemistry, accept the invitation but make it clear that you do not want the job.

Be Aware

Always remember the three “C’s”: Cool, Calm, and Confident. An interview is as much about you wanting the job as it is about the job wanting you.

Avoid scheduling interviews after lunch, when most people get sleepy and irritable.

How to Reply to the Interview Question, Why Are You Available?

SollicitatietipsWhether you were let go from your job under unfair circumstances or for something you did and regret, scripting your job interview answer ahead of the interview will help you.

This is a question that is asked in almost every job interview. The interviewer wants to know, “Why are you available?” The answer you give regarding your departure from your last company will be either simple and straightforward, or very challenging – depending on your circumstances.

The following are three possible categories to answer the question of why you are available:

Need a Change/Challenge

Even the simple, straightforward answer can raise suspicions if the wrong message is conveyed. What if you are just tired of your job, don’t like your boss, or need a change? Everyone is entitled to a new position or challenge now and then, right? Of course, but the tricky part is telling the interviewer the reason you are leaving but not sounding like you’re “burned out” on your current job.

“I am looking for a new challenge. I have been with my current company for two years and don’t find the work as interesting as I once did. I am looking for a company where I can take on new challenges and learn new things.”

If your answer has too much emphasis on “challenge and change,” the employer becomes concerned that you may be dissatisfied with this job once you’ve learned new things and met the challenges. The interviewer is listening for patterns, and if you were bored on your last job, what makes you think you won’t get bored on this job?

Changing the tone of your reply to be more pro-active is a stronger answer.

“Since there are no advancement opportunities within the company, I decided it would be a good time for me to look outside. I have set some career goals for myself, and I know that I cannot achieve them at my current company. My goal is to work for a larger company with a possible career path.”

This answer has a tone of control and planning. When you think as an interviewer, it will help you see “their” point-of-view and will address the concerns “they” have about your leaving a company.

Laid off

If you are among the millions of people who have been laid off in the last two and a half years, you can simply state, “I was laid off.” This answers the question but still leaves a lingering doubt in the mind of the interviewer, – “Why were you laid off?” The more specific your answer, the more effective it will be.

“There were six rounds of layoffs at my last company. I survived five rounds, but when it came to round six they had to cut deep. My position was eliminated along with half of my group because the project we were working on was cancelled.”

Not everyone will have such a definite statement to make. Whatever your situation is it will be helped by including facts and figures to explain the circumstances surrounding your layoff.

“10% of the workforce was let go,” or “One out of every ten jobs was affected, company-wide.”

When you quantify a statement it has more depth. When you tell the interviewer whether it was 10 or 1000 people were laid off helps put the situation in perspective.


If you were fired, you probably dread being asked this question. Not only have you been fired, you have to talk about it – over and over. How you deal with questions about being fired will depend on how you have resolved the issue with yourself.

Whether you were let go under unfair circumstances or for something you did and regret, scripting your answer ahead of the interview will help you. You don’t want to bad-mouth your former employer or sound like a victim (even if you were). Practice your answer with someone in a mock interview and obtain feedback on your comfort-level while discussing your situation.

Preparing will make a difference

Any question can throw you off balance during the interview, but there are certain standard questions that you can almost expect to be asked every time. For example, “Why did you leave (or are planning to leave) your last company?” is a question that you can bet will be asked in one form or another in almost every interview. You will feel more confident and focused if you script and practice answering this question before it is asked.

Top 10 Do’s & Dont’s for Winning Interviews

167f871Understanding what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in an interview are critical to receiving a job offer.

Tip # 1 Dress appropriately. If you don’t take the time and effort to wear appropriate clothing to the interview, you will lose the job before you even get a chance to explain why you are the best candidate. What you wear to the interview will greatly depend upon the industry or field for which you are applying. Any office related position will require that you wear clothing that is no more casual than a button up shirt, slacks and tie for men and either a nice slacks/skirt and blouse combo for ladies or a dress/suit. Only under rare circumstances would you need to wear anything more casual and this generally includes fields such as transportation, construction, mechanics, etc. Additionally, clothing should be conservative and preferably reflect neutral tones. Avoid excessive jewelry. Don’t go overboard on the use of cologne or perfume. Many people suffer from allergies and the last thing you want to do is cause your prospective employer an allergy attack.

Tip #2 Go to the interview alone. There is absolutely no reason for anyone else to attend the interview with you and this includes parents, children as well as spouses and significant others. If you are having a friend or relative drive you to the interview, politely ask them to wait outside for you. If for some reason, you are unable to obtain childcare for the time of your interview, phone ahead and politely ask to reschedule. While this is not the best way to start off your relationship with the employer, it is a much better option than taking your child with you.

Tip #3 Pace your conversation during the interview. There is a fine line between not talking enough and talking too much. Answer questions directly, elaborate when necessary but don’t ramble.

Tip #4 Make sure you are polite to everyone you meet while you are waiting for your interview. This is extremely important because 1. These people may be your future co-workers and 2. You never know who has the boss’ ear and will report your rude behavior or unseemly conduct once you’re out the door.

Tip #5 Arrive early. If your interview is scheduled for 1:00 pm; make sure you are there no later than 12:30 pm. It is quite common for employers to ask candidates to complete applications and other paperwork prior to their interview, whether they specify this when they schedule the interview with you or not.

Tip #6 Make sure you are prepared for the interview. This means that you have both practiced for the interview and have brought along all materials that you may need for any circumstance. (pens, pencils, notepad, extra copies of your resume, etc.) Also make sure you have copies of your drivers’ license and Social Security card in case the employer needs to make copies for future employment records.

Tip #7 Be honest! This cannot be emphasized enough. Employers many times move in the same social circles and there is a very good chance that if you fib during an interview you will be found out sooner or later. Even if you have already been hired, lying on an application or during an interview is grounds for dismissal with most companies.

Tip # 8 Don’t smoke or chew tobacco just before or during your interview. Also remember to spit out gum, if you chew it. Additionally, if you do smokeFree Articles, remember to spritz yourself with light cologne or perfume before you meet with the employer as well as pop in a breath mint.

Tip # 9 Turn off your cell phone and pager prior to your interview. There is nothing more insulting to an employer or disrupting during an interview to have a cell phone or page continue to ring/beep. Let your voice mail catch any incoming calls.

Tip #10 Be enthusiastic! Let the employer know how interested you are in the position and what a great job you can do.

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