Take a minute and picture this: You’re in a job interview for a position you’re really excited about. One of your interviewers—who happens to be the Director of Marketing—is currently ranting and raving about the recent website redesign they went through.
They threw a lot of dollars at this project, they totally revamped their branding, they gathered tons of feedback on the functionality—so on and so forth. Long story short, she’s made it obvious that she’s pretty proud of this new website they just launched.
Then, she drops a bomb—a question that sends a rollercoaster of nausea barreling from your stomach all the way up to the back of your throat: “So, I’m sure you’ve looked at our new website. Tell me, what would you change about it?”
Your mouth goes dry and a cold sweat tickles your forehead. How can you possibly wiggle your way out of this? Honestly, is there even a right answer to a question like this one?
Confession time: This is a true story. As a matter of fact, it’s a personal story—this exact thing happened to me when I was interviewing for a full-time gig that I desperately wanted.
So, believe me when I say that I know firsthand just how panic-inducing this scenario can be.
Being prompted to provide suggestions for improvements in an interview—regardless of the position you’re going after—can be a tough situation to navigate.
On one hand, you want to demonstrate that you bring a lot of expertise, brilliant suggestions, and all-around value to the table for this employer. After all, it’s an interview, and most people make hires because they believe that person can make a positive difference at the company.
But, on the flipside of that coin, you’re hesitant to critique anything. You don’t want to come off as condescending, high and mighty, or overly critical.
So, what do you do? How can you prove that you have great ideas—without straight up bashing what the company is already doing? Implement these five steps, and you’re sure to make it as painless as possible.
1. Don’t Panic
I won’t even try to deny that this dreaded question is enough to inspire quite a bit of anxiety. So, I know that this first tip can seem a little counterintuitive (or, honestly, impossible).
However, think about it this way: The interviewer is the one posing this question. And, he wouldn’t do so if he didn’t want you to actually answer it with a thoughtful, constructive response.