In the past on an interview my mind has gone blank on certain questions and I was silent for about a minute. Is there anything that can be done to prevent this situation?
Silences in job interviews seem like they last for hours when your mind is racing for an answer but all you draw is a blank. Not only is it embarrassing but it can kill the interview.
The easy answer is that you need more experience interviewing — and more practice and rehearsals before big interviews. The more you rehearse the less likely you will draw a blank … and even in those cases you should have some system down to give your mind more time to think, such as asking the interviewer to rephrase the question,
or rephrasing the question yourself and asking the interviewer if that was what he/she had in mind. As a last resort you could ask "Could we come back to that question later in the interview?" You will probably lose a few points but no more than if you were never able to respond to the question.
Many employers are split on this next piece of advice so take it with a grain of salt:
If you carry a portfolio with you to your interviews, or bring in a notebook, keep a sheet of paper front and center with a few memory aids that you can glance at to jog your memory.
Keep in mind that some interviewers might find this practice as odd.
Back to the practice. The best way to prevent blanking out in an interview is to ask a friend to serve as the interviewer and fire questions at you. You should also research the most common interview questions for your particular industry, and get a handle on how to use the S-T-A-R method to your advantage. Best of luck!
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