Three signs you’re losing control …

… and three ways to get it back

  1. If a recruiter asks more than once whether you have any questions, chances are she’s already formed an opinion about you and is trying to wrap it up. “Ask for a glass of water,” says Jackie Johnson, manager of MBA recruiting for the investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. Dramatic? Perhaps. “But it’ll help you collect your thoughts,” she says. It also creates the impression that the interview has a first half and a second half. Shine in the second half, and you’ve got a chance. “I’ve definitely had people who I wasn’t sure about at first but who made a strong comeback,” says Johnson.
  2. Should you draw a complete blank, ask the interviewer to rephrase the question. “People are scared to ask this, because they think they’ll look stupid,” says Johnston. “That’s not true. And even if you do understand the question, you’ll have a moment to collect your thoughts while they rephrase it.”
  3. “There’s a time in every person’s interviewing process when they’re rambling along and they suddenly say to themselves, ‘I have no idea where I’m going with this,’ ” says Gail Wasserman, a former VP of public affairs at American Express and managing partner at the Maloney Group, a New York management consulting firm. “Pause. Check in, and say, ‘Have I answered your question?’ “

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