Dos and Don'ts of Handling Interview Silence

April 30, 2008

You're at a meeting or job interview. You've just answered a difficult question or made an important point and are met with an unmovable silence. You wait, growing a bit uneasy, but the room remains deafeningly still.

Most candidates rush in to fill the void by talking a blue streak. They'll do anything to end the silence, so they begin to qualify and expand on their previous answer hoping to hit on something that will fix the problem.

This most often results in candidates offering more information than they need to - information that is irrelevant, even damaging, to them and their cause.

Whenever you are confronted with silence, the best strategy is to refuse to be intimidated by it. Remember, some people use silence as a test to see how you respond under stress. Remaining calm will do more to defuse the situation than a stream of chatter.

This week's tip contributed by Carlyn Burns, president of Prolyn Executive Search, striving to deliver the best in high-value, quality and efficient recruitment services exclusively in the window and door industry, nationwide.