Interviewing is already stressful enough, but how do you handle it when an interview is just obviously going wrong? Here is some insight on how to handle it, and how to keep a bad situation from getting worse.
There are multiple reasons why an interview could take a left turn; the interviewer didn’t read your resume or is clearly not interested in speaking with you, they don’t think you can do the job, or maybe you didn’t prepare. Whatever it may be, there are things you can do in the moment to cut the tension.
Reset yourself. Take a deep (but quiet) breath. Try to center your calmness and be prepared for what you’re going to say next.
“I’m sensing this isn’t going well- do you feel the same way?”
Although this may feel even more awkward to say, it will actually give you clarity on what’s happening in the moment so that you can redirect the conversation to be more beneficial for the both of you. If the interviewer disagrees, you can say “Great, I’m just feeling nervous then, let’s continue”. On the other hand, if they do agree, you can then ask how to get things back on track, and if there is anything you can clarify for them from your previous answers.
It might be even more difficult to address the tension, but remember that you are two adults having a conversation, and are both interviewing each other. Addressing it also shows that you have the maturity and social skills to deal with an awkward situation. You want to leave the interview with clarity, not with more questions.