How to turn a bad aviation interview around

As we’ve said many times on the AviationMatch blog, it’s a fact of life that interviews are stressful.  Being prepared and practicing relaxation techniques can help with interview nerves, but most people, at some point in their job search come across an interview that just doesn’t go well.  In this blog post, we want to help you plan for a situation when you’re in an interview and you can feel it turning bad. 

Here are our Top Ten Tips to help you turn a bad aviation interview around and bring it back under your control:

  1. Stay calm. Easier said than done perhaps, but the key to turning any situation back into your favour is staying calm.  How you stay calm will depend on your own preferred relaxation strategy, but it’s hugely important to take a deep breath, stop speaking for a few seconds and collect your thoughts. 

  2. Backtrack and rephrase. If you feel like you’re digging yourself into a hole with what you’re saying, take time to backtrack on what you’ve said and use different words.  It may be that a response you’d hoped would come out positively came out in a negative way or it could be that you’ve gone way off beam with an answer.  Either way, a brief apology, followed by the answer you really wanted to give should save the day.

  3. Ask questions. If you’re in an interview and you feel as if every question you’re asked is a criticism or a sore point, a good way to take control back into your own hands is to ask questions.  Even if your interviewer doesn’t invite a question, seek out an appropriate moment to ask if you can raise a question.  Asking questions will switch the power back to you and allow you the opportunity to lead with the information you want to share.

  4. Pull the subject around. If you don’t feel as if it’s appropriate to ask a question, try to pull the subject around to the subjects on your agenda in your responses to questions asked by your interviewers.  Lead your reply with a direct answer to what you’re asked, but look for ways to weave positive points into your elaboration. 

  5. Face adversity square on. If you’re asked about something negative or asked to justify something, face the challenge square on.  It’s best to be straight and admit a weakness, but balance it up with a strength or a positive point that you can use to compensate.

  6. Buy time. Pausing is a great way to buy time in an interview.  While a pause shouldn’t be too long, there is no reason why you can’t inject a short pause into the conversation in order to buy you time to think on your feet.  If a short pause is insufficient, don’t be ashamed of asking for a couple of minutes to gather your thoughts.  You’re better to feel a tad embarrassed by doing that than regretting battling on under sufferance afterwards.

  7. Use your body. Even if you feel as if your words are selling you short, make sure your body is sending out positive vibes.  Body language is hugely important at interview and even if you’re feeling like everything around you is collapsing, with the right body language, you can lessen the impact.

  8. Send another response by mail or letter. In many cases, it’s only when we replay an interview in our heads that we realise that we’ve made a faux pas.  If this is the case, then don’t be scared to drop an email to your interviewer to clarify your point.  While this mightn’t necessarily get you to the top of the candidate list, it won’t do you any harm if you plan it well and word it carefully.

  9. Get over it. If all else fails, all you’ve had is a bad interview.  No one’s dead and no one has been truly harmed in the process.  Yes, your pride might be sore for a few days, but look on the positive side, have a laugh about it and move on.

  10. Brush yourself down and start again. Whatever else a bad interview does to you, don’t let it get you down.  Make sure you learn from the experience and get back in the ring.  Next time you’ll be even better, that’s for sure!

If you’re on the lookout for an aviation job, why not upload your CV today to get headhunted by top airlines and aviation companies as well as receiving job alerts that tell you when new jobs that match your criteria are posted on our site? 

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