The Silent Treatment | Important Interview Questions

The Silent Treatment

The silent treatment interview questions can take your anxiety to the next level. No less than a psychological test, knowing how to deal with this question is extremely important.

TRAP: If you are unprepared for this question, you will probably not handle it right and possibly blow the interview.  Thank goodness most interviewers don’t employ it. It’s normally used by those determined to see how you respond under stress. Here’s how it works:

You answer an interviewer’s question and instead of asking another, he or she just stares at you in a deafening silence.

You wait, growing a bit uneasy, and there he sits as silent as Mt. Rushmore; as if he doesn’t believe what you’ve just said, or perhaps making you feel that you’ve unwittingly violated some cardinal rule of interview etiquette.

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When you get this silent treatment after answering a particularly difficult question such as “tell me about your weaknesses”, its intimidating effect can be most disquieting, even to polished job hunters.

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Most unprepared candidates rush in to fill the void of silence, viewing prolonged, uncomfortable silences as an invitation to clear up the previous answer which has obviously caused some problem. And that’s what they do – ramble on, sputtering more and more information, sometimes irrelevant and often damaging, because they are suddenly playing the role of someone who’s goofed and is now trying to recoup.

But since the candidate doesn’t know where or how he goofed, he just keeps talking, showing how confused he is by the interviewer’s unmovable silence.

ACCEPTABLE ANSWER: The silent treatment loses all its power to frighten you once you refuse to be intimidated. If your interviewer pulls it, keep quiet yourself for a while and then ask, with sincere politeness and not a trace of sarcasm, “Is there anything else I can fill in on that point?” That’s all there is to it.

Whatever you do, don’t let the silent treatment intimidate you into talking a blue streak because you could easily talk yourself out of the position.

How would you react to the silent treatment? Has someone given you tips on how to answer silent treatment interview questions? We’d love to know in the comments.

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