Interview: Pauses and Silences are Okay

There are going to be a lot of periods during an interview when there are going to be pauses in conversation or flat out silence. This can be initiated by you or the interviewer and in most cases either is not an indicator that something is amiss.

You can ask for a moment to think of an answer and during this time there is most likely going to be complete silence. This is fine and perfectly normal, don’t get distracted because no one is talking, use the time you have asked for wisely and think of the best answer or example you can give.
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If the interviewer is taking notes (and most likely they are), be comfortable with the fact that there is going to be pauses in between questions and they try and write everything down. This is actually a good thing because it means they have liked what you have to say and want to remember it when they are later making a decision on who to hire. Don’t feel the need to fill this space, let them continue writing and wait for the next question.

If you have answered a question and it is met by silence and the interviewer is not writing anything done, you may be at a loss as to what you should do. It could signal that the interview is expecting more information or they are not satisfied with the answer. You won’t know unless you ask, “Do you want me to elaborate on that?” If the answer is no, just patiently wait for the next question to be asked.

Don’t worry that the interviewer is not praising you on your answer to each question and continue onto the next one. They do not want to give you an indication of how you are doing during the interview and are trained to be neutral when responding to answers, if the respond at all.