How to survive an awkward interview


sign with awkward momentOne of the most intimidating aspects of job searching is the interview. Employers may use a number of different interview formats to put you into different situations to test how you handle pressure, conduct yourself professionally and how you will culturally fit in with the team and organisation.
Here are a few tips on how to survive some awkward interview situations.

Group interviews and public rejection

Rejection is hard enough, but public rejection in a group interview can make us lose that motivation we need to continue on with the job search.  In a group interview you will be judged on your progress throughout the day and the employers will slowly reduce the groups in size eliminating individuals who are unsuitable.

Coping tactics:

Ensure that your ability to work well as part of a group is demonstrated through your ability to think under pressure, deal with stressful situations and work well with others. This will assist you in advancing through the rounds and ensure that you stand a better chance of being successful. If you are rejected, learn from the experience, evaluate your performance and work on any weak areas in order to perform better at your next interview.

Live analysis of your capabilities

Second interviews often present us with a few extra challenges such as written tests / in tray exercises / numerical and verbal reasoning tests and in some cases you might be presented with a test you have to conduct in front of people. E.g. A written test where everything you write is projected onto the wall for everyone to see.

Coping tactics:

Although this is a scary situation, the best thing to do is try to remain focussed on what you are producing. Try to forget that the projection is there and focus on doing your best. In interviews where you’re asked to demonstrate your abilities to an audience it is best to focus on your work as if you already have the job. Be confident that you have the right skills, you have managed to get through the application so now is your opportunity to put into practice the skills you have highlighted through the process so far.

The bar interview

You may be accompanied by a number of other staff members and invited to a bar to conduct your interview which could put you in an awkward position deciding whether to join them in a drink.
Employers do this on occasion to see you in a more relaxed environment to try and get to know you as a person and determine whether you will be a good fit for the team and office dynamic.

Coping tactics:

In scenarios such as this the best thing to do is make up an excuse for not having an alcoholic drink. Politely decline and if you are pushed you can always say that you are driving. If you don’t feel comfortable refusing, just have one drink and ask for a glass of water to go with it to ensure that you keep a clear head for the interview. As informal as this setting may be, you still need to remain professional.

Thankfully these types of situations are rare but it is worth being aware of how to handle potentially awkward interviews. Renovo’s Career transition support is there to help prepare you for any eventuality, no matter how unexpected it might seem. Our personal career coaching will give you the support you need to prepare for any interview, no matter how onerous, so why not contact us to see how we can help you get back into the workplace.

Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email

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