A job interview is your ultimate gateway to that new job you’ve been dreaming about.
You’ve convinced the new employer that your profile is interesting enough that they should talk to you. But you have not yet convinced them all the way through that you’re a rock star. You’ve passed the initial screening process, a few people have probably seen your CV and soon you’re going to be at the interview table for a chance to appeal to the hiring manager.
But, an interview is not that simple.
You probably have less than 1 hour to prove yourself. During this time, your hiring manager (the interviewer) might have a set agenda. He may want to test you, push you or trick you and check if you’re really worth it or not. If you take 1 wrong step during the interview, then the rest of the interview may throw you into a bad spiral.
If the interviewer forms a not-so-good impression of you, then what do you do?
You’ll probably find it very difficult to change his mind once that happens. The interviewer may appear unpleasant or even impolite after that. Now what?
There is 1 thing that you can do, which may turn the whole situation around.
Change his mood.
You don’t know what the interviewer’s day has been like. Maybe he started it on a bad note – the breakfast was not good, traffic was worse than other days, work deadlines may be extra tight or the previous interview candidates were absolutely useless. These could be some of the triggers for him to be in that apparently unpleasant mode.
Knowing the interviewer’s profile in advance always helps. You could have gone through his LinkedIn profile and learnt where he went to school, what type of work he’s done before and what professional groups he’s part of. You might also find some common contacts. That could give common ground for some familiar conversation.
If you don’t know about his background then pay attention to his actions and words during the interview.
- Did he ask you about your background – your personal life, your family or where you went to school?
- Did he spend more time on any specific part of your profile – like a project that you did or your past work experience?
- Did he ask you about your extra curricular interests?
- Did he discuss any sports events with you?
- Did he bring up any current affairs or news topics during the conversation?
- Is he carrying a newspaper with the latest budget announcement or political news page on top?
- Is today any special day that might be of interest to the conversation – like some major product release announcement by a big company?
- Is today a special day for you in any way – like your birthday, that you can bring up during the conversation and lighten up the situation a bit?
These are all cues. You’ve got to pay attention.
You might quickly learn a few things about your interviewer and might know what he cares about. Some genuine, light-hearted conversation around those cues or a little self-deprecating humor might help. Being honest about your weakness or why you got stuck in a particular interview question might show your vulnerable side and that is generally a good thing.
It’s usually difficult to change the mind or thought process of a person in a short time like 1 hour. You cannot let this limitation weaken your chances of getting through. A genuine attempt at appealing to the mood of the interviewer is a great tactic to make the interview go in your favor.
Have you ever been in a spot wherein you’ve had to do this? I’d love to hear about your experience of turning an interview around.