3 Common Interview Traps to Avoid at all Costs

3 Common Interview Traps to Avoid at all Costs

Source: This article was originally published on CNBC.
Written by: Courtney Connley, CNBC Make It

Even the most well-prepared candidates face unexpected hurdles when interviewing for a new job.

However, unforeseen interview traps can be a great opportunity to show a company your ability to navigate any challenging situation gracefully. Think about the process from the company’s point of view. Hiring the right person is incredibly hard, which is why companies try to get beyond the standard Q&A by using all sorts of ‘techniques.’

There are three common interview traps every job seeker should know how to find their way out of:

1. The long wait

Some employers will intentionally test your patience and emotions before the interview even begins by having you wait in the lobby for an unexpected period of time. The intent is twofold.

They want to see how you handle anxiety. Stay calm. The other objective may be less obvious: They want to see how you treat the receptionist. Remember, your interview begins as soon as you arrive. Greet the receptionist with a warm, polite introduction and a smile, just as you would the hiring manager.


2. The awkward silence

It’s not uncommon for there to be a gap in conversation during an interview. You’re waiting for the hiring manager to introduce the next topic, and instead, they say nothing. While a brief silence might feel awkward, it’s sometimes a deliberate effort to force the interviewee to speak up and take control.

The first time this happened to me was when I was an MBA. I almost fainted, it was so bizarre. But then I remembered a tip I’d once heard: Smile like nothing is the matter, and ask, ‘What else can I tell you about myself and my work experiences?’ I tried it, and on we went.


3. The multi-person interview

One of the most common interview traps is having a candidate meet with multiple people at once. It’s intended to put you in an awkward position, especially when it’s a surprise, or a good-cop, bad-cop set-up.

In this situation, you want to be sure not to fold under pressure. That’s the whole point. Stay poised, and make absolutely sure you give each person in the room equal eye contact and attention. When you say goodbye, say goodbye to everyone, using their names.

Job interviews can be difficult even without the unexpected traps that might be laid for you. That’s why you need to be ready to side-step these three like your dream job depends on it—it just might.

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator, and public speaker. Through its online MBA program, the Jack Welch Management Institute transforms the lives of its students by providing them with the tools to become better leaders, build great teams, and help their organizations win.

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