You’re sitting there in the interview. Your interviewer is staring you in the eyes. You have had an adequate interview so far but you are nervous. You know you struggled on a few questions and completely aced some other ones. It’s starting to get to the end of your job interview and you are feeling nervous. The hiring manager could go either way. You know you need to do an amazing job on these final few questions.
The interviewer asks you a question:
“Tell me about a time you had to solve a problem and you made a mistake.”
You answer quickly:
“Well, I remember this one time when I was working for DataCore, and they asked me if I could complet this work for them, but then I realized I couldn’t because I didn’t have the administrator code, so I had to request help from the IT department and they couldn’t send someone over, but then… I mean…. I… uh….”
Done. You realized you just told a story that had nothing to do with the question. You blew it. You blew it because you spent no time thinking about the question. Your nervousness caused you to answer too quickly.
It’s Okay to Think
This is a tremendous problem in interviews. Applicants get nervous and think they need to be quick. They try so hard to answer the question that they do not stop and think about the answer they are about to give.
It is okay to take a few seconds to think. The interviewer understands. When they ask you a tough question, they are not expecting you to have the answer on the tip of your tongue. In fact, they prefer you have to think about it, otherwise you are will seem to rehearsed.
When you are not sure how to answer a question, take a few seconds. Think about the answer, and think about how the answer will affect your interview chances. That extra time you spend on your thoughts is time that will help you avoid mistakes from rushing to your answer.