If you’ve got a case of the pre-interview jitters it may be because you’re feeling unprepared or you’re worried that the interview won’t go smoothly. But, is it better to have a more challenging interview than one that is all smooth sailing? In some cases, yes!
When a job interview is going smoothly because you’re prepared and relaxed, it’s probably a good thing. But, when a job interview is going smoothly because you’re being asked only easy questions, it may be an indication that the employer is no longer interested in hiring you. If you are continuously answering simple questions and aren’t offered the opportunity to connect your skills and experiences with the position you’re interviewing for, it may be because the interviewer doesn’t feel that you’re the right fit for the company.
Can you turn an interview like this around? Of course you can! Use the following three strategies to combat soft, easy questions and make sure your skills are explored a little deeper.
1. Expand: Maybe they’re asking you easy questions but that doesn’t mean you have to give easy answers. An interview is your time to display your experience and skills and relate them to the position you’re applying for. Take this opportunity to expand on the easy answer and squeeze specific examples, achievements, and skills into the interview. This may be enough to impress them or it may lead to more complex follow up questions that let you dive a little deeper and improve your chances of getting hired.
2. Question: If they’re not asking the right questions, you need to! Although questions are often saved until the end of the interview, that doesn’t need to be the case, especially if you notice that the interviewer is only asking you easy, surface level questions. It’s time to be assertive! Say you have a question, frame that question with an example of your previous experience or skills, and then ask it. An example of this would be, “I have a question, in my last position I was expected to use my knowledge of X and Y to accomplish Z on a daily basis. Would this be a frequent responsibility here?” or “I have a question, in my last job I did both collaborative, team work and plenty of solo projects that I had to take ownership of. Would this position be more team-based, individual, or a balance of both?” This is a great way to re-engage your interviewer and get your interview back on the right track!
3. Check Your Body Language: When you start getting easy question after easy question, take a moment to notice what body language cues you’re giving off. If you’ve got your arms folded or you aren’t leaning slightly into the conversation and nodding to show you’re listening or making frequent eye contact you could be eliminating yourself from the role solely based on perception. Make sure you’re giving off open, friendly, attentive body language cues and your interview may turn itself around!
Sometimes you don’t want the interview to go smoothly, particularly when it means you’ve only been asked the easy questions. But, if you notice this happening to you in your next interview, you now have three strategies that can quickly turn the interview from surface-level to deep and meaningful. The more in-depth and conversational your interview, the more likely you are to actually get the job. Good luck!