That Awkward Moment When…

When preparing for an interview, it’s a common practice to psych yourself up: “Everything is going to be great! I’m going to answer every question perfectly!” It’s a wonderful way to build confidence, but it is also good practice to prepare for when things don’t go as well as hoped. Alyse Kalish from The Muse wrote an excellent piece on potentially awkward moments during an interview, and how to recover if they happen to you.  You can read the full article here:

Awkward Moment 1: You say something mean or rude about your previous employer
Recovery: More often than not, this happens because words come out wrong. Simply apologize and clarify “Oh, I’m so sorry, that didn’t come out right. What I meant to say is…”

Awkward Moment 2: You forget the word for something
Recovery: Don’t make something up! Just work around it and shift the focus to what is important- the topic is more significant than the name of a class or piece of lab equipment.

Awkward Moment 3: You swear
Recovery: Apologize and redirect! “I am so sorry, when I talk about XYZ I tend to get excited.  Essentially, …” For the rest of the interview, remember to breathe before you answer to prevent your excitement- and word choice- from getting ahead of you.

Awkward Moment 4: A question from out of the blue
Recovery: Reassure yourself (internally) that it happens to everyone. Ask the interviewer to give you a moment to think through your response.

Awkward Moment 5: There’s a lull in the conversation
Recovery: Don’t feel compelled to keep talking. Many times employers need a moment to take notes, physically or mentally. Take this opportunity to breathe and psych yourself up for the next question.

Awkward Moment 6: Your phone beeps, bings, or rings
Recovery: Resist the urge to answer it or type a response! Apologize, turn the volume- or better yet, your whole phone- off, and put it back in your bag or pocket.

Awkward Moment 7: Wardrobe Malfunction
Recovery: Clean up or fix the issues as best as you can, and make a joke to the interviewer. “Looks like my coffee would rather join the interview than stay in the cup!” Then, don’t focus on it again. Bonus points if you have a stain remover stick or an extra pin at the ready in case this happens to you!

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