Three tips to avoid that “awkward moment” at interview

Last Thursday, I facilitated a great session with some of our MBA students where we discussed interview technique.

As well as discussing the importance of getting your one-minute career story to flow, we also talked about how to demonstrate commercial awareness.

There are a number of current affairs which really polarise public opinion right now. So, how do you best demonstrate your excellent grasp of what’s happening in the world, and relate it to the role you’re applying for, without running the risk of a potential awkward silence after offending the person interviewing you?

Here’s three tips to get you started:

Tip one: research your interviewer

If you know who’s interviewing you, take a look at their LinkedIn profile in private mode and try to glean some information from their Twitter account. Ideally you’re looking for common ground to establish rapport quickly in the first part of the interview. Be careful of not straying into too much detail, and keep it professional throughout.

Tip two: never, ever offer your own political opinion

Try not to give away your own personal view when discussing the current political and economic challenges that are in the news every day. Even a seemingly innocent throw-away line could irk your interviewer. Likewise, keep emotive language to an absolute minimum e.g. don’t use “crisis”, “turmoil” etc.

Tip three: rehearse your answers and relate them back to the role you’re applying for

Phrases that may help you include: “the increased economic uncertainty following the UK’s decision to leave the EU” and “the political situation currently playing out in the US”. Consider how these current affairs might affect your chosen organisation’s clients, staff, suppliers and research & development and rehearse your answers out loud in a mirror to observe your body language.

By extending your research to include looking at your interviewer, as well as the role and organisation, and rehearsing a few scenarios to refine your wording and how you’re coming across, you should be able to demonstrate strong commercial awareness without any awkward pauses.