Before I give some tips, I want to share a personal story with you. Recently, I have been sending my resume places, checking my email, and doing what you do when you’re on the job hunt.
After doing so for a period of time, I had a quick phone call with a lady and she forwarded my resume to their employment director. Initially, I was looking at an internship with them. That afternoon I got what I thought was a robocall from a suspicious number. For some odd reason, I decided to pick the phone up and answer it. It was the employment office wanting to interview me right then. This experience taught me several lessons and I wanted to share those lessons with you.
Always say yes to an on-the-spot interview. When you are called and asked to interview “right then” it’s known to the interviewer that you are talking “on the fly”. The person interviewing you knows that you are unprepared.
Pull from experiences and give examples. When I was asked about my organizational skills, I pulled from the top of my head that I had transferred 90 credits into my target college. I called it an “organizational feat”.
Think on your feet. This is the whole purpose of the interview. You are thinking on your feet and having to be quick. There were several questions during my interview that I was not expecting. One of them was, “What gets you up in the morning?” I had no idea what to say, but I pulled a few, “Well, I am an extrovert - so naturally what makes me happy is people.” From there I concluded out loud and in my mind that “People get me up in the morning.” Thinking on your feet can be a challenge, but I always find it entertaining what I say.
Make time for the interview, even if you can’t. I was headed out the door with my family to eat out when I got the phone call. I proceeded to wave them on and made time for the interview. Sure, I did not want to wave my family on (they ended up waiting for me), but interviewing was what was important at the point.
Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone that you are not. Be yourself. If you can’t think on your feet, or you are befuddled by it all- roll on. Answer the questions as best you can. If you try to be someone that you are not, you will end up making a fool of yourself really fast. Do not be fake, but be yourself.
Answer honestly. After answering a question I realized that I may have not understood the question.. Oops! But, at least I was able to show that I was honest and wasn’t trying to paint a picture that didn’t exist.
Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm goes a long way! Even if you’re just shooting answers and trying to answer them, be excited about the answer. This shows that even though you weren’t prepared, at least your excited to be interviewing and excited about the job and the company.
Be thinking of a question or two to ask them. I got to the end and they asked if I had any questions, I should have had some. I had fumbled the entire interview only to realize that I hadn’t listened well and needed to have some questions. I thought of one or two, but they weren’t the best. I ended up just saying I would have questions later.
Thank them for their time. Thanks goes a long way these days. Show that you are grateful that they took the time to interview you.
Lastly, when you get off the phone, breathe. Take a minute to think over everything and maybe jot down a few important facts you want to remember. I will say that as unprepared as I was with the interview, it went really well. I talked with my family about it afterwards, and they got a laugh out of all my answers to the questions. I will say that the interview paid off. I learned many lessons about how to handle situations on my feet. I hope that this has been helpful to you and that you can be “prepared” to be unprepared for an interview on the fly. It is not an easy task, but I think companies like to do it to see how you perform and handle “on the fly” situations. I’m sure having an interview like this depends on the job you are applying for, but it’s a good “skill” to be able to “think fast” and interview on the fly. In case all of y’all were wondering, I did get the job. They called me back not too many hours later and offered the position to me. My thinking on the fly must have gone over really well for them. It’s exciting to be in the phase of life where you are looking for jobs, interviewing, and never knowing what is next around the corner.
Written by Peyton Holliday