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CAREER RESCUE Try to learn from an awkward interview

April 14, 2019

Q: I had the most awkward interview in my entire life a couple of weeks ago and am still trying to get over it. I have never had an interviewer ask so many questions while being so rushed for time. Toward the end, I just knew I didn’t get the job even though I matched all their qualifications. What could I have done better? Any suggestions will help.

A: Awkward interviews are bound to happen the longer you are in the job market. They happen to the best candidates and can be great sources to learn from if you don’t emotionally beat yourself up over it.

Job searching can be hard on the ego. Everyone knows that it takes time to get an interview, much less the feeling as though you are being judged during the process. Obviously, you are being screened as to whether you fit in the work culture, have the right skills and can produce results.

But one of the greatest lessons from an awkward interview is what you observe from the interviewer. An interview is a two-way street and it’s important for you as a job candidate to be aware of the interviewer’s behavior. Interviewers can have rough days as well; however it might be helpful to take a different view of your interview.

In all honesty, interviewing a potential candidate who could help the company grow and add value should be a good thing instead of rushed event.

You might have had the perfect qualifications for the job, but the interviewer can reflect the employer’s culture. Even though this was the first time where you felt awkward, please pay attention to your inner voice, which can serve as a guide as to whether they are the right employer for you.

Here are some suggestions to consider in turning an awkward interview into a learning event. Reflect on the meeting with some questions. For example, what happened outside of the rushed meeting that gave you a dreaded sense of not getting the job? How did you feel when communicating with the interviewer? Could you have been more concise with your answers? Did the interviewer’s style of questioning create more pressure for you? Did your tone of voice or non-verbal language change as the interview progressed?

After some self-reflection on your part and pondering the interviewer’s behavior, learn from it, let it go and use your awareness to become a stronger candidate that will help you make good decisions. When contemplating, this might not have been the best opportunity for you after all.

Kimberly Thompson is a board-certified counselor. Send questions to kim@careerrescue.com or Houston Chronicle, P.O. Box 4260, Houston, TX 77210. Visit her blog at www.blogs.chron.com/careerrescue.