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When the Going Gets Tough: Strategies for Navigating a Difficult Interview

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking experiences, and not every interaction goes as smoothly as we hope. If you find yourself amid an interview that seems to be taking a turn for the worse, staying composed and strategizing to salvage the situation is essential. Here are some tips on what to do if you think an interview is going poorly.


1. Stay Calm and Composed:

As challenging as it may be, try to remain calm and composed. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that a rough moment in the interview doesn't define your entire candidacy. Collect your thoughts and focus on moving forward.


2. Steer the Conversation:

If you sense the interview is not going well, take the initiative to steer the conversation in a more positive direction. One effective way to do this is by asking the recruiter at the end of the interview, "What about my resume stood out to you for this role?" This question not only shifts the focus to your strengths but also prompts the interviewer to provide positive feedback.


3. Highlight Relevant Experiences:

When the conversation is veering off track, redirect it toward highlighting your relevant experiences. Share anecdotes and examples that showcase your skills and qualifications for the position. This proactive approach can help reshape the interviewer's perception of your fit for the role. You can do this by saying something like, “While I don’t have experience doing that in particular, something I did that showcases my problem-solving skills is this…”


4. Learn from the Experience:

View it as a learning opportunity even if the interview goes differently than planned. Reflect on your challenges during the conversation and consider how you can improve for future interviews. Learning from setbacks is an integral part of professional growth.


5. Stay Professional:

Regardless of how the interview unfolds, maintain a high level of professionalism. Avoid expressing frustration or disappointment during the conversation. Remember, the way you handle challenging situations is a reflection of your resilience and maturity.


6. Maximize the Opportunity:

Treat a challenging interview as a chance to showcase your adaptability and problem-solving skills. Employers appreciate candidates who can navigate difficult situations with grace and professionalism. Use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to handle pressure.


In conclusion, a challenging interview doesn't necessarily mean the end of your job prospects. Stay calm, take control of the conversation, and use strategic questions to redirect the focus to your strengths. Remember, every interview, even the difficult ones, provides valuable learning experiences that can contribute to your professional development. Approach the situation with a positive mindset; you might just turn the tide in your favor. For more interview help, check out Resume All Day’s Interview Preparation Guide and 1:1 interview coaching services.




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