Janice, a client of mine told me of a recent interview with a legal firm. She said from the minute the interview started, he talked about himself the whole time. She now knows that he is the managing partner, he drives a Lexus and has an antique corvette that rarely gets out of the garage. Intently she listend to him go on about his ski trips and exercise routine, thinking eventually she could use this information to build a rapore with him.
The opportunity to talk never came. He only asked one question, “Why should we hire you?” What do you think she should have done? The interviewer was clearly conservative, and had set opinions on how women should behave. If Janice had foribly taken control of the conversation, do you not agree he would have reacted defensively. Sadly, in the end, he would most likely make his decision based on the looks of the applicant, how intenlty they listened, and their resume. Clearly a case where body language is going to play a key role.
On the other hand, should Janice want to work for a law firm that apparently lets its laywers exercise questionable practices? A job’s a job, isn’t it? In these hard time you can’t be choosey. Besides, some of life’s best lessons are learned in the muddy trenches, if you can sort the dirt out.
Janice had to make a concious decision to let the interview slip away. When you are faced with this situation, yah best be ready with a plan. You can use “parlor” tricks like dropping your portfolio and making enough of a ruccuss retrieving it that you can interject comments about yourself during the breif hecitation that would follow your slip up. Interupting with a simple “excuse me, but…” may show the interviewer you’re not a push over who is going to just sit there while the opportunity melts away.