The trickiest question asked (or should I say not asked?) is actually a non-question – or what we call as the ‘silent treatment’. Ever faced a situation when you just finished answering the previous question and looked at your interviewer in anticipation of the next question – and all you got was an awkward silence? At times, this was made even worse with a despaired look on the interviewer’s face.
It tends to make you nervous and is basically, meant to unveil your reaction under stress. You won’t come across this ‘question’ too often and so, the chances are that after having nailed all other questions, this is, where you fumble.
Having myself faced it a couple of times, I have discovered a few ways to nail this one, which I would like to share here: While a majority of us end up trying to fill in the awkward silence with mostly a nervous blabber, sharing all possible information, I would do better.
If the silence is following my answer to a question, I would ask my interviewer politely, “Is there anything else I can fill in on that point? That is all there is to it.”
Otherwise, this would be the time I demonstrated how cool and calm I can choose to stay any time I wish. In fact I would look at it as an opportunity to catch my breath and relax. However, I’d take care that my body language doesn’t speak otherwise. For example, I wouldn’t avoid eye contact with my interviewer and won’t fidget. In fact it can be a good idea to frame a few relevant questions I may want to ask my interviewer since, as much as they want to assess me as a future employee, I would also want to understand if I would be a job-fit in that organization.
I would love to learn about your experiences. It would be great to find out more ways to crack this tricky one.