How To Regain Control Of A Derailed Interview

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You've sent applications to dozens of employers, posted your resume online and taken all the steps you can think of to find the job of your dreams. At last, your diligence pays off and you begin to land a few interviews.

Remember that when you're invited to interview for a position, the hiring manager already feels you're qualified for the position. But truly connecting with your interviewer can be tough, and conversations don't always go as planned.

Here are a few signs the hiring manager may be losing interest in you - and how to turn the interview around:

1. They only ask questions from their prepared list

A hiring manager always prepares for an interview by developing a list of questions. They'll usually begin to digress from their list by asking follow-up questions to your answers to build a clear picture of your potential for the job.

If they begin to lose interest, however, they may begin to "stick to the script" and run through their list of questions without asking for much elaboration.

How to turn it around: Change tactics - answer their questions, but also ask some of your own. Ensure the interview is a two-way conversation. Engage the hiring manager. Lead the conversation in a direction that allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of the industry, company and your skills.

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2. They become easily distracted

If your hiring manager becomes distracted during the interview, it's a surefire sign they're losing interest. Do they glance at their computer when new emails come in? Does the amount of eye contact they make with you dwindle? Perhaps you catch them glancing at the clock or other work on their desk. You need to bring the focus back to your conversation immediately.

How to turn it around: You should've researched the company and industry when preparing for this interview, and now's the perfect time to leverage this information to sell yourself.

Comment on a piece of pertinent industry news and ask how it affects the company. Draw connections between market trends and how they might affect the company's services or product line. These topics make an impact on the interviewer's job, so it's a good tactic to grab their attention.

3. They stop taking notes

When a hiring manager stops taking notes during an interview, this indicates your responses are leading them to believe you're not the right candidate for the job. They'll be recounting the details of the interview to company management, so detailed notes on their top candidates help them make a case for hiring you.

How to turn it around: When a hiring manager stops taking notes, don't panic. Keep an eye on what interests them throughout the interview. What responses do they take notes on and when do they stop?

Highlight the skills and experience they find most intriguing, even if you feel those topics aren't your strongest attributes. Guide the conversation back to those points and expand on them as much as you can without pushing it too far.

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4. They don't ask how you would use your experience for the benefit of their company

At the end of the day, a hiring manager's job is to find potential employees who can make a contribution to the company. If they aren't sure you're the right person for the job, they may not initiate a conversation about your experience and skills in relation to the job.

How to turn it around: You should be proud of all your professional accomplishments, but emphasize the ones this company needs. Did the job description mention they need someone who can make killer presentations? Guide the conversation in that direction. Are they looking for someone with the ability to work well in groups? Give examples of how well you've done in the past.

Always bring the conversation back to how you can be an asset, as all companies are looking for someone who can provide them with solutions to their problems. If they don't bring up your potential, you need to make it part of the conversation.

5. They don't mention a second interview or future communication

The end of the interview is usually when the hiring manager will discuss the next steps in the interview process. This includes when you can expect to hear from them, whether there will be a second interview, and any further information they might need. If they don't offer opportunities for further communication, it might be a sign they're on the fence about you.

How to turn it around: Let the interviewer know how interested you are in the job and the company. Ask when you can expect to hear from them or inquire about the next steps. Be polite and confident in your inquiry and it'll impress upon the hiring manager that you're serious about the job.

Within 24 hours of the interview, you should also send a formal email to thank them for the opportunity to interview. Not only is it courteous, but it also keeps your conversation fresh in their minds.

Not every interview is a smooth conversation. If you find you aren't connecting with your interviewer, it doesn't mean you won't get the job. It just means you may have to work a bit harder to impress them. Steer the conversation in a way that casts you in the best possible light.

What do you think? How do you try to turn tough interviews into outstanding job opportunities?

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Robyn Melhuish is the Communications Manager at MedReps.com, a job board that gives members access to the most sought-after medical sales jobs and pharmaceutical sales jobs on the Web. Connect with Robyn and MedReps.com on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
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