How to survive a difficult interview?

Did you ever go to an interview which was more difficult than you expected upfront? Don't get insecure: the recruiter is testing you.

You have probably already been through a difficult interview which made you wonder whether you were really the right person for the job. It is important to try to stay calm under all circumstances. Interviewers have a habit of asking trick questions to catch you off guard. But don’t be put off by questions like: “Do you really think you have enough experience for this job?”

During an interview, the interviewers are trying to get as much information as possible about you. When they ask standard questions, it’s easy to keep your stress levels under control. This is why some of them prefer to go for the direct approach. By asking disconcerting, confrontational questions for which you were not prepared, they can see how well you cope with stress and how you express yourself verbally.

Most start an interview calmly, taking the time to get to know you during the first few minutes. Then they start with the more complicated questions. However, others start with an interrogation, which makes the interview difficult. The golden rule is to stay calm. For example, what would you reply if the interviewer asked the following question: “I get the impression that they’ll be glad you’re leaving your current job.” Take the time to think about how to answer. You should be aware that this is meant to catch you off-guard. They want to provoke you to see how you cope with difficult situations.

It is not always easy, but try to remain professional. Do not try to defend yourself all the time, but react pro-actively to the attack from the interviewer.
For example, you could say: “It’s a subjective impression, I see it differently,” or give arguments to counter the claims made by the interviewer. If they insinuate that you do not have enough experience, do not hesitate to tell them about the projects for which you have been responsible. Do not try to defend yourself, instead react constructively by putting forward your good points. Do not interrupt your interviewer, they are probably trying to provoke you.

Sometimes, there can be a moment of silence during an interview. This is also a tactic by the interviewer, who is trying to see how you will react. If you start to look nervous in your seat, the recruiter will see that you are not at ease in this kind of situation. However, if you stay calm, the person in front of you will see that you can cope with difficult situations. So stay calm and look at your interviewer confidently throughout the interview.

A few little tips:
• Stay professional, even during difficult interviews
• Let your interviewer talk, do not interrupt
• Answer calmly and highlight your good points
• Do not forget the interviewer is using tactics to make you nervous
• A moment of silence is not a problem, stay calm even if no-one is talking!

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