You may not think of yourself as an “awkward person,” but that doesn’t make you immune to those uncomfortable interview moments every job seeker faces. Your interview confidence can be shattered in an instant when the hiring manager falls silent. Keep your spirits high and ace the interview questions with our interview etiquette tips.
Embrace the Weirdness
Experts say that leaning in and waiting out the silence is more natural than trying to force a conversation. Awkward moments happen, and experience tells us that trying to fight it can make both parties more uncomfortable. Give a polite smile and wait patiently for the next question.
Take Inventory of Yourself
If you’re experiencing more than five awkward moments during an interview, check yourself. It’s possible you’re creating an uncomfortable situation. How? You may be so eager to answer the questions that you risk sounding too rehearsed or robotic.
If you really feel something’s not right, or the silence has just gone on too long, don’t be afraid to take action.
If the silence is happening for a reason:
Often there will be a pause because action is required. Handing over your resume, having the recruiter review your portfolio, this can all make for potential lulls in conversation. If you notice them pausing on a specific section of your interview materials, ask about it. Offer a moment to discuss their concerns by saying, “Is there anything about my social media campaigns you’d like me to address?” This will give the hiring manager an opportunity to either compliment your abilities or raise any concerns regarding your experience.
If you’re not sure what the awkward moment is for:
Don’t panic. Moving on from silence can be awkward, but confidence is key. If you’ve just answered a question, try expanding on your thought a bit. Circle back to add an additional remark that can point your discussion in a new direction, or ask a follow-up question about the topic. An interview doesn’t have to be a stressful interrogation, so feel free to ask your own questions when appropriate to show you’ll make a valuable team member.
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