You did it! You’ve landed the interview! You wrote the perfect resume, you dazzled during your phone screen, and they want to meet you! You are in the final stages of a new career. Everything is looking up. Then, it happens….You feel the nausea in your stomach as you realize you may have lost your shot…You think you blew it, you think they hate you, and you aren’t getting along with the hiring manager…Don’t give up yet- there is still hope to turn it around!
Let’s step back for a second and think about how we got here:
- You’re late: You allotted an hours time to get there so you could show up early to make a good impression. Instead your gps sent you down a road that no longer exists and you show up late….Don’t panic! First things first, call as soon as you realize you won’t be there on time. Tell the receptionist who you are interviewing with and explain the situation. Offer to reschedule the interview to accommodate his or her schedule. Everyone gets lost and at the end of the day, your interviewers are people too and they will understand. To prevent this: check multiple mapping websites and pick the best route. Bring printed out directions even if you have a gps!
- You don’t know the answer: You studied, you prepped, and you even checked back to your college text books. Then the hiring manager comes at you and you draw a blank. There is something to keep in mind here: this might be on purpose. An interview is not only a technical test but a personality test as well. The hiring manager doesn’t necessarily care what you say but rather how you say it. If you find yourself stumped, take a deep breath and ask him or her to repeat the question. Take a second to think it through. If you are still unable to come up with an answer, be honest! Get started with your best response and see how it flows. Don’t make anything up and the hiring manager will appreciate your honesty.
- There is a personality clash: You grew up in Chapel Hill, you drive a light blue car, your dog is named Ramsey, you named your son Roy… You step into the office for your interview and there it is: a Blue Devils poster staring you in the face during the whole conversation….Ok, most of us can overcome something like this but personality clashes may be a bit harder. Remember: just because you didn’t get along does not mean you didn’t get the job. Most higher level executives are going to look at the situation be more concerned about how you will mesh with the team rather than him or her specifically. Also, don’t take his or her attitude personally. Remember, they are just people! Hiring managers have stress and deadlines and this may come across as standoffish during a conversation. Keep it light and stay positive. Smile a lot and laugh as much as is appropriate.
At the end of the day, an interview is kind of like a first date…Neither you nor the hiring manager really knows how the other one feels so don’t automatically assume that you blew it! At the end of the interview, even if you think it went poorly, take the initiative and ask where to go from here with the process. Ask for a business card and send a follow up email. If there is anything you wanted to elaborate on in terms of your skill set that you weren’t able to touch on, now’s your chance! Let him or her know that you’re interested in moving forward and most importantly: thank him or her for their time! Don’t be afraid to send friendly follow ups in the next coming weeks either. Initiative and confidence are invaluable qualities in an employee and there is no better time to start than the interview.