Escaping the Awkward Interview and Turning it into a Positive Experience
What to do when the position you've applied for isn't all it's cracked up to be
Awkward interviews. We’ve all had’em.
You sit down with your leather bound notebook and lucky silver pen that your grandmother gave you when you graduated college, excited to meet your potential future employer. As the interviewer begins to explain the responsibilities of the position, they are not at all what you had in mind. On top of that, you soon realize there’s no way that you could work for this person. Thankfully, right now you have the leeway to not take the job, should you be extended an offer.
What do you do?
Do you ride out the interview and pretend you’re genuinely interested in working at this company? Do you politely indicate that you’re not interested and add, “Thank you for your time?” Do you run screaming from the room, forgetting your lucky pen on the table?
Okay, so definitely not the latter. You can’t forget your grandmother’s pen.
I tend to take path number one: expressing interest in the job right through to the firm handshake at the end, conjuring the best actor inside of me, in part hoping I will have a change of heart about the position and/or the person interviewing me.
Still, that doesn’t mean in the moment I haven’t felt awkward and wanted to leave as soon as professionally possible.
At no point in my young career did I think that I’d go head-to-head with a CEO in a standardized math test in an interview for a part-time marketing internship; but I did, trying to forget that the last math class I took was in high school.
I never thought a secretary would encourage me only seconds before my interview to “be loquacious” (or chatty) because “the other candidates have been kind of mousy.” I wanted badly to tell her that since the primary products of the company were grilled cheese sandwiches, perhaps these mice were just hungry.
I certainly didn’t expect to be told by another interviewer that if I were smart, I’d forget about my writing degree and get a real estate license.
Of course, all situations are unique, and maybe you need to take the first job you’re offered. Hopefully, though, you’re able to have some autonomy in your next move.
Even if you’re certain that you won’t be taking the job no matter what, showing interest in the job will not only sharpen your interviewing (and acting) skills, but could even lead to a different offer that you weren’t anticipating.
And, at the very least, you can always write about it.
Monster Wants to Know: What are some of your most awkward interview stories? How did you handle them? Did you take the job? Share with us in the comment section.