Job Interview Tips: How to Survive 10 Awkward Situations
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Hunting for a job is a tricky process and may have many pitfalls. Many of us are not accustomed to having these kinds of conversations or handling the power dynamics of a job interview. There can be many scenarios and awkward situations that we need help with.
If you feel there is fog ahead of you due to opacity in the interview process and the multiple rounds, you can simply ask the next steps of the process and the timeline for a decision.
If you think the employer has an elongated set of rounds ahead, request to consolidate them if possible.
Instead of bluffing your way through a question that you are completely stumped with, it is better to be upfront and handle it with honesty and grace. Tell them straight away that you do not know the answer to this question and what similar things you have done which have been effective.
Your life experiences are unique and not identical to what the interviewer is trying to ‘slot’ you into.
If you have to ‘clear your mind’ regarding the companies perception, or bad reviews online, before you make a multi-year career commitment, you can ask in a collaborative way, like: “I noticed there are some concerns online regarding the culture and work hours of the company. I am curious about what your take is on this, and if there is something being done to change it.”
Often, in a multi-round interview, where one gets to meet a variety of interviewers, there can be conflicting information regarding key result areas or training method/duration, and the transition process.
It is great to ask about it while balancing everyone’s views and staying neutral and flexible.
While it is illegal to select based on one’s religion, ethnicity, or plans for children, many interviewers still ask about this as it is not illegal to ask.
Answer with a smile and ask a probing question to clarify the reason this kind of a question is asked, and what is the basic concern behind it, in the guise of understanding the core issue and how you can help with it.
While a majority of prospects have murky pasts, full of setbacks, gap months and difficult to explain scenarios, like getting fired, the employer will still ask and it can be a challenge to answer with ease.
The trick is to be calm and concise, not getting into too many details, not passing judgement against anyone and talking about your learning. Good to practise this one on the mirror first.
From a learning perspective, it is good to have some assignment that the interviewer provides you with, as long as it does not hamper your current work or your work-life balance.
If you cannot do it, be upfront and state your concern in a polite way. Let them know about your limitations and what is currently on your plate.
Asking for a Working From Home option or your own personal office seems like something you should negotiate in advance.
If you are convinced your ‘performance’ was a bad and it happens, you can still try to salvage it. A thank you note/email explaining a few things and showing your interest in the job might help change the interviewer’s mind. Botching up the interview does have a side effect: they would remember you!
Providing an honest reason for your bad performance can help, provided it’s not too long and boring. Do keep in mind that this is an effort from your side, and the rest of the factors are out of your control.
There are some phrases that can be used to enthusiastically ask for the package you want.
“I am really excited about this job and am hoping the salary would be higher! Would you be able to go up to $X?” or something in similar lines, *and then keep quiet.*
There will be an awkward silence, but you have to endure those few seconds, and then the interviewer will have to speak something. This is how you negotiate.
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