(MoneyWatch) Ideally, you walk into a job interview and quickly experience some sort of chemistry with your interviewer. By engaging each other, you'll be able to show who you are and learn valuable information about the company. Plus, if they "like" you they'll want to keep you around -- possibly permanently. On the other hand, if the hiring manager seems to wish you would just disappear, that can be a major problem. Let's assume that they haven't already hired someone and aren't just going through the motions. If there's still a chance you could get this job, you'll need to spark some life into the conversation, fast. Here's how:
Shorten your responses
Hiring managers are often meeting with several people in one day, and it's natural that they'll lose interest if you're rambling. Instead, be concise. "State your results first and then two or three sentences that highlight how you achieved them," says interview consultant Heather McNab. Leave extraneous details out. If you're unsure of whether to elaborate, ask if they want you to expand on anything, suggests McNab.
This is another behavior that can bore people, especially human resources reps who might not work in your field. "You can lose their attention when you use words and phrases that aren't immediately familiar to the interviewer (such as technical terms)," says McNab. They can become confused, even if they are interested. "They stop listening to what you say next since they are trying to figure what you mean," says McNab.
Use colorful examples
If your interviewer's eyes are closing, liven up the conversation by showing, not telling, how you'll achieve results. "We communicate in stories, so relevant, tight examples that prove you have achieved solid results may help them sit up, listen and can often disarm an aggressive, argumentative style," says McNab.
Shift your posture
If your interview is leaning back in a bored way, or leaning way forward in an aggressive one, adjust your own posture. "Make a definite shift in your posture to an upright attentive position with a slight tilt forward that signifies your interest in what they are saying," suggests McNab. They just may follow your lead -- and an attitude shift may be close behind.
If you really feel like the interview just isn't working, you might address the tension. "Tell them what you are feeling or observing and take them off the hook by putting the 'blame' on yourself," says McNab. Her suggestion if your interview seems bored: "It seems me that I appear to be boring you." And if they seem argumentative: "I'm concerned that I'm not getting my thoughts across to you effectively and that's I'm frustrating you." She advises following either phrase with "How can I help you make this interview worth your time?" Listen closely to what they say, and take their advice. You just might turn your interview around.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Joxemai