3 Signs Your Interview Isn’t Going Well (And How to Turn it Around)

You only get one shot to make a great first impression. Often times, that “one shot” with an employer is at a job interview. It’s a pretty simple formula, right? Prepare for the interview and put your best foot forward and you’re much more likely to land the job.september-blog-1

But it’s not always that easy. 

Many of us have left job interviews feeling like a million dollars, certain that we are going to receive a job offer…only to get turned down (or never hear back at all). Sometimes the reasons are out of your control; however, a strong interview is critical to increasing your chances of getting the call.

Look out for these signs your interview isn’t going well

Keeping your eyes and ears open during your job interviews can help you identify trouble and steer clear of it – potentially saving your opportunity at the job. These three signs can most often signal that an interview isn’t going well >>

  1. No one tries to sell you on the job. Today’s job market is incredibly competitive. Employers know they have to effectively sell you on their opportunity and company as much as you’re selling your skills and background! If you’re doing a solid job highlighting key parts of your background but the interviewer isn’t trying hard in return, it could mean trouble. Not sure what to look for? When interviewers start to take about company culture, growth opportunities, office technology and other job perks, it’s a good sign they’re interested.
  2. The interviewer doesn’t mention “next steps.” If you’ve ever applied for a job before, you’ve probably heard about “next steps” frequently during interviews. Those next steps could be signaled by anything from salary requirements/history, references or even scheduling follow-up interviews. Some interviewers will give you a timeline to expect follow up >> these are all good signs. If you don’t hear a peep out of your interviewer, it could mean things aren’t going well.
  3. You’re in and out of the interview quickly. Hiring for the right fit puts a huge burden on interviewers – make the wrong choice and it costs an organization significant time and money. That’s why many job interviews can take 20 to 30 minutes or more. Today’s interviewers are asking more detailed, behavioral questions than ever to gauge things like culture fit, ability to navigate challenging situations and emotional intelligence. Job interviews should rarely (if ever) be quick and easy. If you haven’t been asked any difficult or detailed questions, the interviewer might not be interested.

How to turn around a bad job interview

All’s not lost if you recognize some of the above signs that an interview isn’t going well. Keep these tips in mind to try and turn it around:

  • Be upbeat. Nerves can get the best of all of us. If an interviewer picks up on negativity or stress, it could send the wrong message and result in an interview that feels like it’s going downhill. A cheery disposition and genuine enthusiasm for a company and role go a long way toward impressing interviewers. Skills can be taught, enthusiasm and drive cannot – employers know this, so show them that you are excited for the opportunity.
  • Ask thoughtful questions. Don’t just wait until the interviewer asks you if you have any questions. This usually comes at the end of the interview and there isn’t much you can do about it at that point. Listen to what the interviewer is saying and explaining, think about questions before you answer them, then ask thoughtful follow up or probing questions yourself. Prepare some questions ahead of time, but also try to think on your feet and ask questions that demonstrate genuine interest and knowledge of the company and role.
  • Watch your body language. Nervousness really can make a big impact on the message you convey to interviewers. It’s natural to have some nerves, but be sure you’re overriding them and avoiding body language miscues like slouching, which can convey disinterest. A few other body languages “musts” include the basics like smiling, nodding and making eye contact.

Before you can ace your interview, you have to land one! Here at Helpmates, we work with top employers across Southern California. Search our available jobs or contact your nearest office to take the next step in your career.

How to Turn Around Bad Job Interviews

Maybe your alarm didn’t go off that morning and you were running behind. Or maybe you just never quite felt comfortable. There are any number of reasons why your job interview didn’t start off on the right foot, but don’t give up hope just yet. You can absolutely salvage an interview that appears to have gone off its rails.HM Blog Image

Every job interview can be a successful one.

Although not every job interview will result in a job offer, every interview can be successful in one way or another. Here are some common job interview mistakes, along with tips for turning a bad interview into a successful one:

  1. Problem: You blew your answer to an important question. Solution: Ask for a do-over. Sometimes you can’t help it – despite practicing your responses and feeling like a rockstar before your interview, you ended up going off on a tangent and mumbling through a response. It happens – but the best thing you can do is to admit that your response didn’t quite come out right and ask if you can answer again. At best, you’ll get another opportunity to share a strong answer. At worst, you’ve demonstrated your poise and confidence to the interviewer.
  2. Problem: You’re so nervous you can’t think straight. Solution: Talk about your nerves. Sometimes no matter how hard we try, we’re just plain nervous during a job interview. If practicing your responses and taking deep breaths hasn’t prevented shaky nerves before your interview, the best way to avoid those nerves taking over your interview is to acknowledge them. Sometimes nerves present themselves physically – shaky hands are a common symptom – and it can be more effective to simply tell your interviewer that you’re a bit nervous, but only because you’re so enthusiastic about the position. But then once you’ve acknowledged your nerves, don’t dwell on them – move on and talk about the great traits and experience you bring to the table!
  3. Problem: The interviewer doesn’t seem interested. Solution: Make a stronger connection. Sometimes we can forget about the human element of job interviews, treating them like a business transaction instead of a new personal connection. If you feel like your interviewer is bored with the interview or that he or she just isn’t interested in your skills, it’s up to you to make a stronger effort to connect. Think about your body language – are you making strong eye contact, leaning in and demonstrating your own engagement? Asking questions can also help bring interviewers “back.” Turn the conversation around to engage the interviewer with questions about his or her role with the company, what it’s like to work with the employer, and other questions about both the interviewer and the company (remember, of course, to keep the questions professional, but on a personal level).
  4. Problem: You just know that the interview didn’t go well. Solution: Talk to your recruiter. Sometimes no matter what steps you take, an interview feels like it just didn’t go well. In these situations, a recruiter can be your most valuable tool. Call your recruiter and talk to him or her about what happened. Be honest about where you could have done better or where you felt you didn’t make the right impression. Bad interviews happen, and when you are working with a recruiter who has a strong relationship with the employer, you have the added benefit of someone “going to bat” for you.

Preparing ahead of time can help minimize bad job interview experiences, but now you have the necessary steps to turn around a less than stellar interview. Are you looking for jobs in Southern California? Helpmates matches professionals like you with leading employers across the region. Visit our job board to view and apply for jobs today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Ambro 

Putting Candidates at Ease During Job Interviews

We spend a fair amount of time here on the Helpmates blog helping to ease the nerves of anxious and eager candidates. And with good reason – searching for jobs can be stressful! When someone is especially excited about a company and role, it can be hard to keep nerves at bay (We’ve all been there – remember the last time you had to interview for a job?).

Helping candidates feel at ease during interviews means better results for your business.HM

Of course, putting candidates at ease is a nice thing to do, but ultimately more relaxed candidates provide better quality responses and overall better interviews. Try these tips for putting candidates at ease, and you’ll be well on your way toward stronger interviews:

  • Prepare them. When scheduling interviews, give candidates an idea of the topics you’ll be discussing. There are two benefits here – 1) You’ll get better, more thoughtful answers from candidates to give you a more thorough impression  and 2) The candidate will feel better prepared when entering the interview and should be more comfortable with the process.
  • Greet them. Ensure there is someone to meet candidates as they arrive and possibly even give them a tour of your office as you get ready for the interview. Waiting silently in a reception area can be nerve-wracking and can result in extra jitters for candidates.
  • Smile often. It’s amazing how much power there is in a smile! Job interviews can make everyone feel nervous and uncomfortable, but a simple smile (genuine and often) can immediately make candidates feel more relaxed. It can help interviews be less stressful for you, too!
  • Set expectations. One of the most nerve-wracking parts of job interviews is not knowing the next steps. If you clear the air at the very beginning by explaining your plans and hiring process (and when candidates can expect to hear from you), you can immediately put candidates at ease by removing that key stressor.
  • Turn off the phone and computer. Candidates have done their research and practiced their responses…what could be worse than delivering a great response to your interview question only to have the phone ring or your email notification ding. Turn off your phone and computer (or at least silence them) before the interview to remove distractions and keep candidates at ease.

Before you can put candidates at ease during job interviews, finding top talent is the hardest part. Helpmates has been providing top talent to companies across Southern California for more than 40 years. We’ll help you get a better return on your talent investment.

4 Ways to Show Enthusiasm in Job Interviews

When you land a job interview after carefully preparing your resume and cover letter, it can feel like you’re so close to the finish line. Yet it can be extremely disappointing and frustrating when you learned you didn’t get the job.

Why didn’t you get the job?Untitled

Of course, there can be any number of reasons why another candidate was chosen. Maybe that candidate is a better cultural fit, or they had a stronger professional background. Or maybe they were just more enthusiastic.

Being enthusiastic about a company and career opportunity can help land you the job.

Genuine enthusiasm about employers and their career opportunities can inspire employers to choose you over another candidate. Over the past few years, publications like Forbes and CNN have cited enthusiasm as a key for employers choosing candidates.

Enthusiasm is a critical component of reaching your career goals. Here’s how you can properly convey enthusiasm in your next interview to land a job:

  • Ask for the job. It sounds ridiculously simple, but one of the easiest ways to demonstrate your enthusiasm is to come right out and ask for the job. Or at the very least, tell the interviewer that you are excited and interested in the company and job.
  • Say everyone’s names. This is a small touch that makes a big difference. When you take the time to repeat and say people’s names – everyone from the receptionist to your interviewer, it demonstrates your interest in more than simply a 30-minute interview. To the employer, it can actually send the message that you’re already a part of the team! In addition, it’s simply a nice way to show that you’re interested in people and respect them.
  • Project the right body language. Body language can send many unspoken messages to employers during your interview – some good and some bad. It’s important to be aware of your nonverbal language throughout the interview to ensure it accurately conveys your enthusiasm for the job. Simple things like making eye contact, smiling, and nodding are key. Turning your shoulders so you’re facing the interviewer can also help project the right message.
  • Send a thank you note. This may technically be after job interviews, but thank you notes are still a critical part of the process. After you’ve perfected your interview questions and demonstrated your enthusiasm during the actual job interview, solidify the message by sending a thank you note to your interviewer(s). Choose one key discussion point from the interview and hammer it home here – this is your last chance to “sell” them on you for the job!

Genuine enthusiasm can help you stand out from the competition and land your next job. If you’re searching for jobs in Southern California, be sure to check out the Helpmates job board. We work with top employers across the area, and we’ll help you stand out from the pack!

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Ambro

How to Master Tough Interview Questions Like a Pro

Congratulations! You’ve been asked to interview for the job of your dreams.

Are you excited…or nervous? More importantly, are you prepared?

Interviewing can be really stressful, or quite enjoyable, depending on the preparation you do. Over my many years of hiring, the best interviews I’ve had are always the ones that turn into more of a conversation than a question and answer session. And that happens when the candidate is ready for the interview.

So what do you need to know?

First, you absolutely must do a little homework (and the more senior the position, the more preparation is required). Visit the company website. Get to know their products and services. Understand the company mission. Learn a little about their industry. And most importantly, think about the value you can bring to the organization.

Next, do a little planning to prepare for the following common interview questions you’re likely to be asked.

Common Question 1: Tell me about yourself.

You don’t need to tell your life story. The interviewer wants to hear a few highlights about your background, and the reasons you’d be a good match for the job opening. Don’t be afraid to brag a little. Share specific examples of your successes from prior jobs, talk about relevant classes you’ve taken, and convey your passion for the job.

Common Question 2: Tell me about your greatest success.

With a question like this, be genuine. The interviewer is looking for real examples of your skills, experience and personality traits. Never make up a story. If you don’t have a lot of work experience, talk about school. Was there a group project where you really shined? Tell a story that illustrates your accomplishments and work ethic.

Common Question 3: What is your greatest weakness?

This is the one that seems to get everyone stumped. A lot of people will tell you to take a strength you have and make it into a weakness. An example of this could be, “I just care too much sometimes and I always take my work home with me,” but a good interviewer can spot false modesty. Instead, talk about a weakness you actually have, but when you respond, show you are working to overcome the weakness. For example, maybe you’re a little disorganized, but you started using a planner, and file folders to separate your work, so now you have a better handle on it.

Common Question 4: Give me an example of when you really went above and beyond for a client. 
Or the corollary, give me an example of a time you had a big conflict with a client and how you dealt with it.

This is a tricky question because the interviewer is looking for you to demonstrate behavioral traits from your past. They want to see how you really handle yourself when clients are demanding or conflicts arise. Like the previous questions, the best approach is to be sincere. Have at least a couple of real stories ready to tell. Explain the situation that occurred, how you dealt with the problem, and the results of your efforts. Also, be sure to explain how you followed-up after the event took place to ensure the client was happy.

Common Question 5: What qualities should a successful manager have?

I love this question. It really forces candidates to express how they like to be managed, and it helps me evaluate whether or not the candidate is a good fit for the culture of our organization. To prepare for this question, think of an example of a favorite former boss or professor. What qualities made that person a great leader? When responding, don’t just state what you think works, but tell the interviewer about your examples and why their leadership style worked. For example, you might discuss a supervisor who was great at setting clear expectations, someone who set a great example for the rest of the team, or a person who was very approachable and acted as an effective mentor.

Would you like more help getting ready for your interviews?

As one of the top employment agencies in Southern California, we can help.  Call Helpmates today to schedule an interview to land your next great job.

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