Running into the unexpected at interviews

YOUR NERVES CAN FEEL FRAZZLED ENOUGH before and during interviewing without smacking into unexpected roadblocks or making faux pas.

When it comes to smacking into the unexpected at interviews, a career counseling client told me that just before walking into an interview, he spilt coffee on his shirt and tie. Ouch!

Then there was the job candidate who was so nervous that he threw up in the middle of an interview. Double ouch!  Still another job applicant told the Daily Mail Online, “I burst into tears during the interview because my dog had just died.” That almost happened to me as I explained in a previous post about Gabby, my much loved and ailing cat,

Gabby passed away in our apartment an hour before I was scheduled to testify before a union arbitrator. Still fighting back tears when called to the stand, I covered for my feelings by sharing what had happened and how sad I felt. The arbitrator and lawyers for both sides understood the situation and emphasized with my feelings.

The poor job candidate who broke into tears while interviewing might have handled his unexpected situation the same way. Most people appreciate when you express your feelings honestly.

While interviews are not confessionals and job candidates are well advised to keep their personal feelings to themselves, there are times when it’s okay to share them—this includes when you feel ill or highly anxious beforehand.

What unexpected experiences have you experienced at job interviews? Please share them with Your Career Service in the comments section below.

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RANDY PLACE is a career strategist and author of “Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach.”

About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.