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Awkward interview handshake

Interviewing for a new job can be nerve-wracking.

From the first handshake to the end of the interview, many people find themselves searching for the right thing to say or do. And when you’re already a bundle of nerves, things can have a tendency to get a little awkward.

We’ve put together some common awkward moments and tips to overcome them.

The Waiting Game

Awkward Interview Moments and How to Overcome Them - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

You’ve dressed the part, did all your research and managed to arrive to the interview on time. All of that stressing and rushing just to sit and wait for your name to be called.

You go over your resume one last time but you realize you weren’t paying attention to the last paragraph and have to start over. Eventually someone comes to get you and you have to gather your belongings while trying to maintain a smile and professional appearance as you reach to shake their hand.

Tip: The best approach is to keep calm and don’t be overly rushed. Follow the lead of the interviewer. Shake their hand and introduce yourself before gathering your belongings.

Forgetting the Interviewers Name

Awkward Interview Moments and How to Overcome Them - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

You read their name in an email and maybe even talked to them on the phone already, and they introduced themselves at the start of the interview. But now the interview is wrapping up and you can’t remember their name.

You were planning on a strong close using their name and now you’re freaking out.

Tip: If you can’t remember their name, don’t use it. Thank them for their time and give a strong handshake with good eye contact.

One easy trick you could use to remember their name is to repeat it. When they introduce themselves at the beginning of the interview, repeat their name back to them in your greeting. You can also try to use it one or two times during the interview while you answer questions. Don’t overuse it though. That will just make things weird.

Wardrobe Malfunction

Awkward Interview Moments and How to Overcome Them - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Believe it or not, wardrobe malfunctions are a fairly common (albeit awkward) occurrence.

Maybe you spilled coffee on your crisply pressed white blouse or your stockings snagged. Or your shoe broke, your blouse button popped or your fly was down. You know; the normal day-to-day malfunctions. You fear that you’ll come off as unpolished, clumsy or incompetent.

Tip: If you can fix it without being late or causing any further damage, go for it. If you can’t fix it, hide it by keeping your jacket on or strategically placing your name badge over the stain.

When all else fails, be honest: “I apologize. I had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction on the way here, but I’m prepared and very excited to talk about the position with you.” Remember, these people are humans too.

Distracted Interviewer

Awkward Interview Moments and How to Overcome Them - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

You’re giving a great answer to what you thought was a pretty interesting question and the interviewer starts to yawn, or worse yet, they’re checking their phone or email.

Tip: Again, we’re all human. Most of us are tired and juggle busy schedules. Don’t take a yawn as a sign that they’re bored with you. Instead, stay focused on your answers and add a bit more energy to your responses.

Closing the Interview

Awkward Interview Moments and How to Overcome Them - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

One of the most difficult parts of any interview is the end. It’s usually prompted by the dreaded “Well, if you don’t have any further questions…”

How do you end after that?

Tip: The best way to end the interview is with a handshake and a smile.

Be sure that you have all the information you need like when a hiring decision will be made, when you should expect to hear back from them and if you’ll hear back from them if you get the position or not.

Interviews can be awkward. Take solace in knowing you’re not alone and refer to these tips to get you through your next awkward interview moment.

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