Picture this… you have revised and proofed your resume and cover letter 20 different times and finally submitted the application to your dream job. You feel a sense of relief because the hard part is over, right? Wrong! Next thing you know, you get an email to schedule an interview and the relief and excitement you felt after submitting your application materials slowly goes away and you have a new sense of worry in your head. Prepping for an interview can be nerve-wracking and the interview itself can sometimes be challenging. There are several different things you can do to prepare but what do you do about the dreaded awkward silence that can creep up in an interview?
There is no doubt that awkward silence is killer in any situation but during a job interview, the silence can feel like torture and really make us sweat. During the silence, a million thoughts might come across your mind such as, should I say something else or sit here quietly? Here are a couple of things you can do to dodge awkward silence in interviews.
Don’t break the silence
Silence may be uncomfortable, but it isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes we panic and think that breaking the silence during an awkward gap is the right thing to do, but that can make things even more awkward for both parties. Silence can be a natural part of the conversation and is bound to happen. Show them that you are still engaged in the conversation by keeping eye contact and smiling.
Sometimes it’s hard not to squirm as we sit there in silence awaiting the next question or comment, but the hiring manager will take notice if you fidget in your seat. It’s okay to be nervous, just make sure you stay calm and composed which not only makes you look less nervous but mentally it will help you stay on track and focused.
Provide further explanation or clarification
If the silence is getting to be too much, ask the hiring manager if you need to expand on an answer you just gave. They may just be pondering your response and taking note but if they take an extra amount of time to move on, they may just need more information from you. If you catch them going back and reading your resume or taking a longer amount of time reading it, you may want to ask if there is something you need to clarify on your resume or cover letter.
If you are interviewing for a position, there is no doubt you may have some questions about the position or company yourself. Asking questions can create a natural dialogue that can help to avoid awkward silence and transition into a smooth interview or further conversation. You don’t have to wait until the end of the interview for the hiring manager to ask if you have any questions, if you feel in the moment that something needs to be said, it may be time to ask a question or two! If you think your interview went poorly, check out this article about how to save an interview to hopefully gain some insight on properly redeeming yourself!