The Interview: What to do if the interview is slipping away

Preparation is critical to interview success. Recruitment expert Mike McDonagh outlines how job-seekers can best navigate their way through this key phase in the recruitment process.


What should I do when I get an interview?
Preparation preparation preparation. Boring I know, but it works! Run through typical interview questions, get someone to role play with you (someone who will not pull their punches – you don’t want an easy ride), someone who will try and punch holes in your answers. You need to be well-drilled and prepared for any question that might be thrown at you.

Focus on your strengths – what do you have that the company is looking for? As above, work out what examples or evidence you have from your life so far that best demonstrates this.
Prepare to be asked about any shortcomings you may have  – what does the company need that you don’t have?

Try and work out how you’d make an interviewer feel confident that you could adapt quickly – do you have some similar or alternative experience that could be shaped to make up for this shortcoming? Have you done that particular element of the job description in theory?  And, if you need to rely on your ability to “learn quickly”, give an example of a time you’ve learned something else very quickly – this last point will set you apart from the crowd.

Ask questions – not basic stuff about how many staff they employ, or how many offices they have.  Also, don’t ask questions about the things that would convince you to take the job (i.e. don’t waste questions on things like training, benefits, salary etc – they will all be communicated to you as part of the offer).  Ask questions that make you sound intelligent, sound like you’ve done your research, that make you sound like you really want to be there!
Body language and other forms of non-verbal communication are important elements in the way an interviewee performs. Always look the interviewer in the eye when you answer them and listen to them carefully

Be confident, be friendly but most importantly, be yourself. Sometimes it can be easy to miss the questions being asked by the interviewer due to nerves, so try and concentrate on the question, then feel free to take a few moments to prepare what you are going to say.

Check out this great TED talk.

What to do if you feel the interview is slipping away
Re-focus back on your strengths. Talk about your experience and how it will benefit the company.
Ask the interviewer if you need to clarify anything for them.
Ask if they have any reservations about you from the interview – this is a very ballsy question to ask, but if it’s going badly, you’ve got nothing to lose.  Prepare to be given information that you can’t counter though – you may not like it!

Mike McDonagh is a director with HAYS Recruiting experts worldwide