How to Take Charge in a Job Interview

The interview is one of the first steps in getting a new job or advancing within your current company. It’s important to have an edge and show that you can be successful at the company.

A controlled interview is an interview that is conducted by a person who has been hired to conduct the interview. In this type of interview, the interviewer will ask questions and provide feedback. Read more in detail here: what is controlled interview.

Vintage job interview 1950s.

A job interview may be approached in two ways.

You take a rather passive approach with the first. You can control what you can on your end — looking properly, speaking confidently, and attempting to offer solid answers — but a lot of the interview’s outcome is up to chance: Is the interviewer giving you solid questions that enable you to explain why you’re a good match for the position? Is he or she sleepy or energized? Is the interview going to be lengthy or brief? You’ll receive whatever kind of interview you go into.

You take command of the interview with the second method. Rather of waiting for an enthusiastic, experienced interviewer to come to you, you make things happen for yourself. Even if the interviewer doesn’t explicitly lead you there, you speak about the topics you need to talk about to make yourself appear like the greatest applicant for the position. You can provide a comprehensive, convincing image of yourself regardless of the quality of the interview.

How do you keep a job interview under control? That’s exactly what we’re going to teach you today.

Make the Most of Your Matches

Marian K. Woodall argues in Thinking on Your Feet that there are two methods to manage an interview:

  1. Determine what facts you’ll need to provide in order to portray a comprehensive picture (plus additional information which will enhance that picture, if time and circumstances allow).
  2. Regardless matter how much information the question wants, provide a fraction of that information in each question.

Basically, you want to figure out what a prospective employer is looking for in a candidate, match those needs to your own experience and characteristics, and then provide as much of that information as possible during the interview.

It’s a good idea to figure out these pairings in the days preceding up to the interview. To do so, Woodall suggests dividing a sheet of paper into two columns. List the talents, experiences, aptitudes, interests, and other characteristics that a prospective employer is searching for in a candidate on one side. You can find this out by reading and digesting the job description, doing some research on the organization, and utilizing your deduction skills. Consider not just the “hard” talents required for the employment, but also the attitudes and interests the employer is likely to seek. A passion for art is not required for a work at a museum, but it will add value to the position; similarly, being a frequent camper is not required for a job at an outdoor shop, but it may go a long way toward making a candidate more appealing. Finally, bear in mind that there are certain characteristics that companies are unable to advertise yet nonetheless seek. A construction business, for example, may be searching for someone youthful and robust, whilst a library may prefer someone calm and mature. Make a list of as many qualities as you can that a prospective employer would be looking for.

Bullet Points Written on White Paper.

Write the skills/traits that an employer is likely searching for in a new recruit on one side of the page. On the other hand, list the abilities and characteristics you have that fulfill those prerequisites.


Now, in the right-hand column, list any experiences, talents, hobbies, or other characteristics you have that correspond to the traits or abilities you described on the left. Some of these matches will be straightforward; the company is searching for computer programming talents, and you know javascript and C++. However, others may need a bit more thinking and ingenuity. If you’re in your twenties and you believe an employer is searching for someone older, put down that you’re mature beyond your years since you gained patience, responsibility, and organization while caring for a sick parent as a child. If you believe the company is seeking for an active young buck and you’re older, mention that you train out 5 times a week and participate in triathlons. If they’re seeking for on-the-job experience and you’ve just graduated, consider projects, community service, and other activities that reflect the same abilities and training.

Before your interview, go through your matches multiple times, and then weave the material from the right side column into as many questions as you can. The interviewers’ questions often make this simple: your experience/skills are relevant, and all you have to do is emphasis and highlight the material that most closely matches what they’re searching for. You don’t have to draw explicit parallels between the job’s needs and your personal characteristics all of the time, but you may if they ask, “What makes you the appropriate person for this job?” “According to the job description, you’re searching for someone with social media expertise. I expanded the company’s Facebook page by 10,000 followers during my previous position.” “I can tell this work takes a lot of physical stamina,” or “I can tell this profession requires a lot of physical stamina.” I still go to the gym five times a week, and this summer will be my sixth triathlon. I appreciate physical challenges and am always up and doing stuff.”

Using information from your matchup sheet to pepper your replies is a simple technique to steer an interview. But what if the interviewer just isn’t asking you questions that allow you to showcase your skills?

By altering the questions to your benefit, you may have more influence over the questions you get.

Make the most of questions by turning them around to your advantage.

We shared Woodall’s suggestions on how to reply to tough inquiries in our tutorial on answering difficult questions. The goal is to change the question or flip it around so that you may speak about anything you choose. Several of her methods are effective for dealing with interview questions that don’t give you the opportunity to present yourself in the best possible light:

Reframe the Problem

Focus on a component of a question that will enable you to showcase one of your matches if you don’t believe it’s a good idea to talk to that section of the topic. Take “one word from the question (typically not the major theme word) that you are eager to speak about, and [create] a solid, supported answer around it,” adds Woodall.


So, let’s imagine an applicant doesn’t have the advanced degree that a post typically requires, and they’re asked:

  • “This position necessitates a thorough understanding of the topic matter for which you will be constructing exhibitions. It is also necessary to take initiative. In what ways do you show such characteristics?”
    • “One of my biggest assets is my initiative,” is a solid example of a good response. I have a strong desire to learn all there is to know about a topic, and I’ve always been able to teach myself new skills rapidly. For example, after graduation, I spent the summer teaching myself both Spanish and French.”

Construct a Bridge

You may use this strategy to create a link between the question and what you truly want to speak about. This method is similar to focussing, but the difference between the substance of the question and your response is more pronounced.

The key is to move as easily as possible to your talking points so that the shift isn’t too uncomfortable or obvious. To do so, recognize the importance of the question’s topic first, and then seek for a logical pivot point toward the aspect you believe is more important:

  • “Tell me about a time when you handled a project from start to end on the job.”
    • “While on-the-job experience is vital [recognizing its value], experience in other areas might be as helpful [pivoting].” Last summer, I was in charge of a well-building project in Africa. Not only did I have to manage a team and understand the different working methods of its members, but I also had to deal with cross-cultural issues. In many respects, the job taught me how to overcome hurdles comparable to those I’m likely to face in this one. For instance…”
  • “I note that your CV has a year-long gap here. “What were you up to at the time?”
    • “That year, I had to deal with some family troubles.” However, as you can see, the work I accomplished both before and after that year is directly related to the obligations of this job. For instance, when working at Acme Co., I was in charge of…”

Utilize a Funnel

With the bridge approach, you pivot completely away from the primary topic of the query. However, there are occasions when you just want to reduce the scope of the conversation while still encouraging follow-up questions and more debate on a certain topic. You may do this utilizing the funnel strategy by identifying the bigger problem and then using narrowing phrases to draw the interviewer’s attention to the specific region you wish to highlight:

  • “What work experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?”
    • “I’ve worked in the hospitality industry and as a customer service representative, but the five years I spent leading an after-school program for at-risk adolescents is the experience that most closely matches what you’re looking for.”

Make Use of Your Closer

The last technique to take control of a job interview is to make the most of the closing moments/questions.


“Is there anything more you’d want to say?” asks the interviewer at the end. Highlight a few of the matches from your initial worksheet that you didn’t have a chance to mention during the interview. “You said in the job posting that you’re searching for someone who has editing expertise. Editing the company’s mailings and blog articles was part of my previous work.”

“Do you have any questions for me?” they could inquire. Ask the most effective of the regular kind, but also one that enables you to bring up one of your yet-to-be-mentioned opponents. “I noted that the job description said that this position needed some graphic design expertise,” for example. Redesigning Acme Co.’s website was my favorite aspect of the work, and we even received an industry award for it. What graphic design duties will this employment include?”

The idea is to avoid making the interviewer feel like they don’t have good interviewing skills or putting the organization down in any way. “I saw that the job description referenced graphic design, but you didn’t ask me about my expertise in this field,” you wouldn’t say. “I observed your company’s website is in desperate need of a revamp,” for example. I’ve worked in this field before and would be pleased to assist.”

To summarize, taking charge of a job interview entails:

  1. Knowing what a possible employer is seeking for in a candidate in terms of talents, experiences, attitudes, and so on.
  2. Identifying how your own abilities, experiences, attitudes, and other characteristics align with the needs.
  3. Weaving these matches into as many of the questions you’re asked during an interview as possible, even if it involves rephrasing the question and providing information they didn’t ask for!

You don’t have to go into an interview passively, hoping for an interviewer and a series of questions that will enable you to explain why you’re the best guy for the position. Come prepared, take charge of the situation, and create the perfect interview for yourself!



The “interview questions” is a question that can help you take charge in your job interview. The best way to answer this question is by using examples from your past experience.

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