I’m in the interview chair, the panel is staring at me and I just don’t know the answer. My mind is blank and I am starting to panic. The harder I try to think of the answer the more impossible it becomes.
I now have a plan for handling interview panic. Make sure you have yours.
Unfortunately most of us don’t have an emergency panic plan in place.
We prefer to focus on getting our answers right.
Most of our prep involves practising good answers rather than planning for failure.
- We are used to being broadly successful
- It makes us feel better to focus on the positives
- We try to tell ourselves that the interview will go well
You can prevent one bad answer from ruining your whole interview. Here’s how:
Step 1: Project calm.
The panel can’t see inside your head, they only see what you choose to show.
I’ve felt myself blushing before, but it rarely looks as bad on the outside. The panel are willing you to do well and want to see you regain your composure. This will demonstrate your strength.
Step 2: Learn to embrace silence
Many of us feel more comfortable filling silence with noise. Don’t.
Avoid ‘umms’ and ‘erms’ and instead use the silence to take a breath and pause. Resist the temptation to fill the space with random words.
Step 3: Turn the panic into something positive
Nobody likes that feeling of panic, but it is possible to own it and turn it around.
During your pause, let your thoughts settle. Try to find one idea that resonates with you that is relevant or that can at least demonstrate in some way that you are interested in the job. Importantly, don’t dwell on it. You had a problem with one question – don’t let it dominate you for the rest of your interview.