A job interview is your one and only chance to make a strong first impression as a jobseeker. If your performance is not up to par, you run the risk of wasting your valuable face time with a potential employer. By learning to recognize the signs indicating that you are losing the interviewer, you can take action to improve your performance on the fly.
Interviewers stop paying attention in a job interview for a variety of reasons. They may have realized that you are not a good fit for the company because of experience or personality – both things that you can do little about. They may also be bored by your answers or tone of voice, which you can control. If you notice any of the following behaviors, change tactics by asking a question, using hand gestures for emphasis or adjusting the inflection of your voice.
Changes in Interviewing Behavior
Most interviewers ask questions and take notes at a consistent pace throughout a job interview. If you notice that the interviewer has stopped taking notes for a long period of time, it can indicate that he has lost interest in what you are saying. A sudden change in the pace of questioning can also be a sign that you are losing the interviewer; he may be speeding up to end the conversation sooner.
When you are giving engaging, interesting answers during a job interview, the interviewer pays careful attention. If he picks up his phone, answers emails, opens Facebook or begins texting, it is almost certain that you have lost his attention. The same applies to a person who constantly checks the time or glances down at a computer screen.
Bored Body Language
No matter how hard an interviewer tries to be interested in every applicant, he is only human. If you are not holding the attention of the room, the interviewer may involuntarily express boredom. Be on the lookout for body language that indicates boredom: crossed arms, negative facial expressions, wandering eyes, staring off into space or looking out the window. In contrast, an engaged interviewer often leans forward and meets your eyes.
Most job applicants come in with questions about the company and the job. If an interviewer answers your queries with answers that seem intentionally vague, it is often an indication that the job interview is not going well. This is particularly true when it comes to information about hiring dates, job benefits and the next steps in the interview process. Many interviewers offer generalizations or unspecific answers to avoid raising expectations of unsuitable job candidates.
In the end, it is not possible to salvage every job interview. When your dream job is at stake, however, it pays to look out for signs of boredom and take quick action to rectify the situation.
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