In the last post, we discussed what constitutes an impromptu interview. An impromptu interview is any interview that you had no way of planning for, for example:
- You meet someone in your personal life that is hiring for a job.
- You are networking and someone appears to be asking you interview questions.
- You receive a phone call from a recruiter that you were not expecting.
When you find yourself in an impromptu interview, you turn on the charm right away. You put yourself in professional interview mode, smiling with good posture and ensuring that you make the best impression you can. You can no longer be casual, no matter how you were introduced to the interviewer. You are suddenly the best applicant in the room. Below are several additional tips for succeeding in an impromptu interview.
Surprise Interview Tips
- State Your Case in 60 Seconds or Less
As soon as you realize that you are interviewing for a job, summarize in sixty seconds or less why you are a great candidate for the job. This will help turn the conversation into what makes you a great candidate, rather than whatever you were doing before you realized you were in the interview. Talk as though you are answering a “Tell Me About Yourself” question (correctly, of course) and make the “interviewer” excited about you.
- Don’t Fudge What You Don’t Know
If you were not expecting this interview, you probably did not get a chance to do any company research. Surprise interviews are one of the few times it is better to admit that you do not know much about the company rather than try to BS about what you might have read online once. The “interviewer” knows that you were not expecting the interview, so they will be less annoyed that you say “What is it your company produces?” than they will if you say “I think I heard your company makes urinal cakes, but I’m not sure…”
- Focus on Accomplishments
This is true of all interviews, but it is vital at an impromptu interview. The interviewers themselves may not have realized they were about to interview a candidate today, so they don’t know what to expect. The more you focus on your achievements, the easier it will be to imagine you as a candidate, rather than a random Joe/Jane that they met at a networking event.
- Stay Professional After it is Over – Maybe Leave
Normally once a job interview is over you leave the company and wait for a phone call, but if you met the “interviewer” at a party or event, you may not be leaving once it is over. In that case, remember that the interviewer’s eyes may be on you at all times, even after the “interview” is over. Stay professional in case they are watching, and consider leaving the event if you have nothing left to accomplish in order to ensure you leave on a positive, professional note.
Surprise! You’re Hired!
You never know when an interview is coming. That is why it is a good idea to always be ready to answer difficult interview questions, in case you are put on the spot at a surprise/unexpected interview. As soon as you start applying for jobs you should be learning how to interview for them so that if an interview opportunity arises you can seize it.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Prepare for interviews long before you have one scheduled.
- Once you realize an interview is being conducted, be professional for the next 24 hours.