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How to Handle an Uninterested Interviewer
Professional interviewing is not a goal for most job seekers. Just what is professional interviewing? It’s when you go on interview after interview without coming close to a job offer. Interview with enough employers and you become quite in tuned to when an interview starts to go bad. How you react and recover will be important to your interview success.
Situation - In the middle of your brilliant response, the interviewer starts to lose interest in what you’re saying. Signs to watch for? A loss of interest includes the interviewer incessantly looking at their notes, eyes wandering around the room or fiddling with miscellaneous objects on their desk.
Stop talking! You may have committed the interview cardinal sin - endless rambling. Interviewers allot a certain amount of time for each interview. If you have been in the room for 20 minutes and you’re still on the first question, your answers are too long. There are some things you can do, mentally, to recover and regain the interest of the interviewer.
First, revisit the question. You may be in the middle of your speech, but are you actually answering the interviewer’s question? If you’re not sure, admit it. “I’m sorry, I want to make sure that I’m answering your question correctly.” This brings your focus and the interviewer’s attention back on track. Remember though, if you truly were not answering the question, re-direct your response.
Second, give the interviewer a break. Listen to the questions and engage in dialogue. There is more to an interview then questions asked and answered. For example, if the interviewer asks about the last time you engaged in a teamwork environment, engage in a dialogue. Offer a compliment. Talk about how you have visited the company website and noticed that teamwork is the foundation on which the organization operates. Most interviewers like to engage in bragging rights. You will get their attention back by giving them the opportunity to share what is important to them.
Finally, a disinterested interviewer will speed through the interview questions. If you cannot get them to slow down, be prepared. You will have an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview. This will be the time to shine that you may not have had during the actual questioning period. Ask the interviewer to describe the ideal candidate for the position. Then listen. Be ready with a list of your skills and accomplishments to match you to their definition of the ideal person for the job.
There are many reasons that interviewers lose interest in the interview. First, interviewing may not be their top priority, but a necessity as the position supervisor. Second, their lack of focus may be a result of your lack of focus. Make sure you respond to the questions asked. Engage in dialogue, give the interviewer the opportunity to brag about the company. They will walk away with a positive impression from your interest.
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