No matter how “seasoned” you are in the job market, interviews can be frustrating. More importantly, we’ve ALL left an interview and suddenly recognized where we might have spoken incorrectly or begun to doubt how we did. No matter how long you’ve been working, or if you’re only just not starting down the career path, here are some smart ways to handle interviews when your dream job’s on the line.
Rattling off insightful answers is great to impress the crowd, but how do you handle an oddball question when an interviewer flashes a mischievous grin, then asks “If you have 1,000 unread emails and can answer only 200, how would you determine which ones to answer?”
How do answer that?
Job interviews are inherently stressful and the stakes are often high, but often, the calmest minds prevail. Rather than getting frustrated with tough questions, consider what your interviewers are looking for. With oddball questions, your interviewers are likely as interested in seeing how you respond under pressure as they are in the answers themselves. So stay calm.
In the above scenario, you can start your reply with something like, “Oh, great question! Of course, our time is finite. I’d first focus on emails concerning high-priority projects.”
With the above answer, you’re offering compliments, acknowledging limited resources, and demonstrating that you can make good decisions.
By now, you likely already know you should be well-rested for the interview. Ditto for offering concise answers and balanced confidence. You should show up early and be appropriately dressed, of course.
It’s also wise to dig around online to see if you can learn about the company culture. The interviewers want to ensure you’re a good cultural fit.
You should also take some time to outline some insightful questions of your own. Often, interviewers will ask you if you have any questions. This offers you a chance to go above and beyond. You might try something like, “What’s your favorite thing about this company?” Now you’re digging deep and demonstrating genuine interest.