Empowerment


One thing I try to do for those I help with finding, maintaining or exploring employment opportunities is give them the gift of empowerment. Whether that’s mine to give in the first place I acknowledge could be a point of irony as it turns out for some readers.

However that aside, it’s empowerment that’s up for discussion and pondering. Empowerment is less about what you can do for someone and more about what you can help them learn to do for themselves. This is usually accomplished by sharing skills, supporting the person through their first attempts and weaning yourself off as a dependency. Eventually the person gets to the point where they master the skill or skills you’ve shared and they can readily call upon them themselves with confidence and critically, competence.

Now of course, not everybody wants to be empowered. If you stop and think about this, you will possibly be able to think of situations in which you yourself would rather employ and pay for the services someone else has mastered rather than invest the time, energy and money required to gain the skill. Need help thinking of some? You may take your car in to change over your tires from All – seasons to Winter and back again rather than doing it yourself. You might call in a Plumber, an Electrician or a Painter when their services are required. For even though you could do a little research and learn how to change your tires yourself, get advice at a paint store or learn how to install that new kitchen faucet yourself, many leave the jobs to the professionals.

And how often does the Plumber or the Mechanic call you over and ask if you’d like to watch them work and they’ll tell you how to do this yourself in the future? Probably never; they’d eventually lose many of their customers and might lose their own incomes.

It seems to me however, that when it comes to job searching, writing resumes and cover letters and going to job interviews, that many people who haven’t mastered these skills tend to think they have nonetheless. I couldn’t tell you the number of times someone puts a poorly written document in my hands and does so feeling I’ll give it a passing grade.

There are really two kinds of people who I help in the end; the ones who say, “Just do it for me”, and those that are really interested in knowing the reasons behind my suggestions because they are sincerely invested in wanting to be able to produce good documents on their own. And what makes a good document? One that gets results often, not just once for every 50 handed out. That too is interesting; when someone defends with attitude the poor resume they have which got them to the interview stage once back in 2004. Sometimes it’s best to tell someone you’re available if they open themselves up to your help, do it for them and leave it for now.

So what’s in it for me personally when I’m consistently the Employment Counsellor where I work who always takes the longest when working with someone? It’s true of course. Sit the entire team down, each lending a hand to craft a resume and I’ll take the longest every time; you could win money if you bet on that; it’s just how I work. Don’t get me wrong by the way about my peers; good people and they get results too.

I derive happiness out of passing on the knowledge I have and so whenever I’m assisting someone, not only is my brain occupied in the resume construction but it’s also acutely engaged in passing on what I know to the extent the person themselves is both interested and able to take in. After all, even the most invested person can have other things on their mind and only be able to retain so much at one sitting.

My goal as stated earlier is to empower the person to the point where they can make the modifications necessary when targeting their resume to multiple jobs – jobs that may have the exact same job title by the way. As for job interviews, my goal is to help label a persons skills who may not recognize them for what they are, give them some structure to follow so their words use skill-based language and best market their strengths.

Eventually, the bittersweet moment comes when someone knows enough that they no longer need help. I mean it’s obviously the main goal and this is a moment of great personal satisfaction for me as well as them; I’m thrilled for them. Selfishly though, yes there is a part of me that thinks back and really enjoyed all those moments along the way when they internalized and mastered one skill that made learning the next possible.

Empowerment isn’t for everybody when it comes to job searching. Many remain dependent on others to do the work for them and they may get lucky at an early job interview or it may take many interviews to eventually succeed. When a person is receptive to learning, hopefully they seek out the right person to share what they know.

Now what about you? If you’re looking for work, know whether you want to be empowered or not and sharing this with whomever you approach for help is an excellent beginning.

The Words Unspoken


I’m willing to bet this has happened to you; 5 or 10 minutes after you’ve finished a conversation with someone you recall something you had planned on saying. Or perhaps you think of something insightful and knock yourself for having missed that opportunity to say it. You stop yourself in your tracks and say, “Why didn’t I think of this at the time?”

This differs from the other times when we know exactly what it is that we want to say but for whatever reason we intentionally leave unspoken. It’s also quite different from the times when we blurt out something unintended or ill-advised and we say to ourselves, “Why on earth did I say that?”

In the situations above, whether it’s words we said and wished we could take back or words we’ve left unspoken, how we feel is similar in some respects. We might feel disappointed with ourselves, and depending on the situation and what was at stake, we can be downright mad at ourselves and say things like, “Ugh! I’m so stupid! I blew it!” And what did we blow exactly? Usually it’s an opportunity of some kind and something we’d really wanted and figure has passed us by; something we had only one shot at.

Job interviews are like this for example. You apply for a job and land the interview. The more you want the job the more you tend to see this as THE job; the big one. It would be perfect in so many ways like salary, location, advancement etc. but the best part is doing what you’d be great at and therefore love the work. With all those things aligning up this job was made for you! Now with all that accumulated stuff making this the ideal fit, you’re feeling the pressure rise to be perfect.

So what happens? You go in brimming with confidence and high expectations. The first little stumble – maybe a question that caught you off guard or a momentary blank – whatever it is becomes magnified in your eyes. Suddenly you feel things slipping away; the job of your dreams moving just out of reach and so you try harder to get to together. With that increased focus you hope to get a firm grip on things and you wish you could hit the pause button and freeze time long enough to recompose yourself; maybe even hit a rewind button and answer differently something you’ve said previously.

But time marches on doesn’t it? And so, you’re shaking hands walking away, the interview completed and you’re dazed wondering, “Where did my thoughts go? I had everything I wanted to say all ready?” If you’re really fortunate of course things didn’t go nearly as badly as you imagine they did and surprise, surprise you get a call offering you a second interview or even the job itself!

However, just as often, it didn’t turn out like you’d hoped because what you didn’t get out and express was key to marketing your strengths and strong suitability for the job. Sure it’s a moment of learning – if you learn from it. If you don’t learn from it, well, it’s really just a mistake.

So how do you go about ensuring that you don’t leave words unspoken? Excellent question! How fortuitous that you should ask now BEFORE the opportunity before you slips away.

Imagine first a personal conversation you are going to have with someone about an important issue. Whether it’s talking about sex with your son or daughter, speaking with your partner about selling your home, moving mom or dad into a long-term care facility etc. Now you wouldn’t just decide to ‘wing it’ and have a spontaneous chat over a meal. That ‘chat’ is going to be nipped in the bud because they aren’t ready for what you’re springing on them, and you won’t have prepared yourself to address the important things you want to bring up.

The best scenario is to plan in advance what your arguments are and to anticipate the counter arguments so you’re prepared. Of course you have to listen attentively to respond to things you didn’t anticipate as well. Your strength going in to these discussions is the homework you did ahead of time so you’ve got your facts ready; brochures for mom or dad about the home, a budget showing the numbers if you sell your house.

So leading up to the big conversation – aka the job interview – do your homework. Write down what qualifies you; both academic and experiential. Name the qualities you possess that make you an ideal fit with the values and goals of the new employer. Ensure you have tangible examples that prove you’ve done what you claim you have done. Please do yourself a favour and be as specific as you can when relating your past experiences; don’t generalize your past good works.

Jot down a word or two that will trigger your memory if you need to do so – so that even if you blank out for a second or so in the pressure of the moment, you can look down, see that word or phrase and remember what it is that you just have to say in order to make the strongest possible case for what it is you want.

Too many people unfortunately let opportunities to say what’s most important to them slip by and we don’t always get 2nd chances.

The Strongest Of The 4 Letter Words


I’m one extremely lucky guy at the moment and I’m smart enough to recognize it. I’ve been touched in a profound way; it came unexpected, came unsought for but I’m so glad it did. I am grateful to have this wash over me and for how it resonates with me.

What am I talking about? Good question. It’s that moment someone enters your life and disturbs it; enriches it; changes you, reminds you of what is best in us. If you know what I’m talking about; if it’s happened to you too then you know of what I speak. If you don’t get it, I’d wish this on you if wishing would make it so.

Now I can’t divulge much in truth without giving away the identity of the person who has had this impact on me and maybe they’d be a little more than surprised to learn I’m writing of this. Their identity isn’t necessary for the telling, for it’s the emotion evoked itself that is essential and the impact on how I move forward.

Ever had that really memorable teacher? That person that ignited your love of learning; they exposed you to music, broadened your vocabulary and fostered a love of reading; nurtured your passion etc. I’ve had 3 of these in my life; Grade 8 and again throughout my high school years. 3 great men; one who turned on my love for words, one for music and the other my love of theatre. How indebted I am to them!

Now as an Employment Counsellor and Workshop Facilitator, I’m the one in a teaching, mentoring and instructing role. Over the years I’ve had the good fortune to work with and assist people who have had varying degrees of an impact on me; some less some great.

I have to say though, I’ve never been moved by one such person in this way. Now, I’ve heard their stories over the years; tales of heartache, despair, abuse, trials and challenges. All real and valid, all impacting on me in varying degrees. So I would have thought by now that my reaction to yet one more person with a story would come with my usual care and concern. However as I say, I’m profoundly shaken; and I love it!

Now it’s not that I love a good story and the story is the thing; hardly! No, the story is someone’s life; fact not fiction. It’s their reality; the good the bad, highs and lows; someone lives that story and pens a new page daily. I’ve found myself excited by the person not just the story; because I’ve been gifted with implicit and unreserved trust; invited in to their private space; shared things and heard words meant for my ears only and I’m so privileged and humbled with that act. It reminds me I’m in the right place; still moved; still alive and attuned. How fortunate I am to be in the right place at the right time. I love it when Life does that!

If you work with people in a helping capacity I sure hope you’ve been touched similarly to the degree of which I speak. It brings out the best in us; our humanity when we get stirred to our core. This feeling is a good thing while at the same time unsettling and disruptive. One moment we’re in control and the next we find ourselves impacted and affected; re-forged and changed for the better.

When you’re trusted by someone who has their entire life been let down, betrayed and given up on by those around them, trust is golden. It’s humbling to be welcomed in, respected and yes the word needs saying, to be loved.

Love is such an exciting and dangerous word isn’t it? Some reserve it for  partners, their children or parents. Ironic that we find it inappropriate to say we love someone we help in our professional life, yet it’s our very love for helping  such people that draws us to our lines of work. We sing in songs to make love not war, write of love in poems as being the very best in us. We put love on bumper stickers, but it’s wrong to tell a person they are loved when you know that’s the one thing in life they need to hear and experience more than anything else. Maybe they haven’t been loved – really loved – all along; maybe they feel incapable of attracting sincere love; without demands; love that can stare at them blindly.

It can be misconstrued, misinterpreted, confuse and disorient. It can be wonderful and validate. It’s the strongest of that which is the best in us. I’m so grateful for this; seeing past imperfections just as others see past my own.

We tell people to search for work they’d love, find people they’d love to work with, invest in professions they’d love to advance in but then fall short when it comes to telling others how much we love them for who they are, how they make us feel, how much we feel loved by them. I do love my job, love many of the people I work with and yes love what this individual brings out in me. Love is layered, strong and complex yet when laid bare it’s simple and vulnerable.

May it happen often to you and you be the better for it!

 

 

“I Don’t Like Boasting About Myself.”


When it comes to preparing for job interviews, a great number of people I help tell me that one of their biggest problems with the process is that they find it hard to talk about themselves. They say that from an early age they’ve been taught not to boast about themselves and so to sit down and tell an interviewer how great they are is hard because it’s just not something they are comfortable with.

Fair enough. Now while I don’t advise being boastful to anyone preparing for an interview, I do look and listen for reasons a person may not have a history of excelling in the interview process and so if this is a widespread issue it needs addressing.

What’s really needed to overcome this situation is a re-framing of what it means to articulate ones strengths and then market these strengths as assets to be desired by the employer. Keep in mind that the employer, as represented by the person or people conducting the job interview, is evaluating each applicant against the company’s needs. The candidate(s) who most closely fulfill those needs are the ones offered employment.

So you have a problem with boasting about yourself? Excellent! I couldn’t agree with you more so please don’t think I’m going to try to convince you that in job interviews you should make an exception and do exactly that. Let’s be clear however what boasting actually is though shall we? Boasting is exaggerating ones abilities beyond what they truly are.

The major issue with boasting is that you have to live up to whatever claims you make, and if you said, “I’m the best Plumber in the entire mid-west”, what kind of proof could you offer up to make this claim as an empirical fact? Unless they have some event pitting all the people in that trade against one another to determine the very best, you’d be hard pressed to have people just take you at your word.

Don’t be boastful then. Yes mom and dad and/or your childhood teachers were right.

However, I do advocate and strongly advise that you market yourself in the same way marketing firms promote products and services to we consumers. Not only do they tell us what products are, they would have us believe that the benefits of those products are so good that we simply have to have them. They promote the products often and in a way that attracts the attention of those to whom they see as their target audience. Their goal? Be memorable and prompt you and I as the consumers to act and purchase the products.

Like those commercials, you too should walk away from any job interview feeling that you’ve made an impression on the interviewer(s). You want to be memorable and the best way to accomplish this is to sell them on how having you join the organization is going to benefit them.

Make no mistake about this; you can accomplish this whether you are shy and naturally a reserved person or a confident extrovert. It’s not about how loud you are but rather how well you communicate  what it is that will as I say benefit the company. Are you a solution to their problem? Will you bring stability to the position? Is your combination of experience, education and personality going to mesh with those who you’ll work with better than any other candidate?

So how do you go about selling yourself without being boastful? First off, know yourself. No seriously! No one has taken the same path in life to get where you are right now, so what have you done, learned, overcome, struggled with in the past, achieved, accomplished, been noted by previous employers and co-workers as your strengths and desirable attributes? If you shared this information with an interview in a matter-of-fact way, you’d be marketing yourself not boasting about yourself.

Try this out loud: “I am a ________.” (Name of your profession.) Now say this out loud: “I am a good ________.” Now say out loud, “I am a very good _______.” While most readers will find they were able to state their job title in the first sentence with relative ease, the number of people who were able to go on and say they were good and then very good at it drops off as the one word accelerates the degree to which you state your high worth. So would you be able to say, “I am an excellent ___________?”

Understand that a company ideally wants to hire the best candidate for a job opening. They count on applicants to share with them the information they’ll need upon which to base their hiring decisions. Even if they don’t ask it outright, they are constantly thinking, “Why should I hire you?” It’s up to you to give them examples from your past which prove you have the skills you say you do – and examples by the way keep you from making claims you can’t support (boasting!).

Think to yourself: Okay here’s who I am; these are my strengths. I’ve accomplished these things and here’s what others have complimented or appreciated about me in places I’ve worked. I’m a good fit for this job based on my personality, attitude, qualifications and personal motivation. You’d be well-advised to show some enthusiasm for the position too.

Boasting and marketing are not the same thing. Market yourself dear reader!

 

Interviews: Asking Nothing Yourself Looks Bad


A key recommendation I always make when preparing people for upcoming job interviews centers on asking some questions of your own. Whether you are extroverted and confident or naturally shy and reserved, you would be well-advised to pose some questions during the process.

In our economic times, out of necessity there are a growing number of people who unfortunately find themselves in the position of applying for work they aren’t entirely or, let’s be honest, even moderately passionate about. For example, the well-educated Physician who finds credentials obtained internationally aren’t recognized in the country they now reside in so they look for a job to pay their bills outside of Healthcare. At the other end, a General Labourer who has never felt true passion for any job they’ve ever had period, who’s once again testing the job market looking for a job.

Then too there are the folks who are extremely excited about upcoming interviews and the opportunities they represent; a chance to do something and make a real difference in the world they know. For example the recent graduate who is excited at the prospect of putting their Business Administration Degree to use looking at an upcoming interview with what they see as their dream employer.

In either of the two situations above – and any other scenario – as I say, I believe asking questions yourself at an interview is not just a good idea but absolutely imperative should you wish to positively influence those interviewing you and increase the odds of receiving a job offer. Of course the opposite is just as true; ask no questions at all and you leave a poor impression and significantly reduce the odds you’ll land the job.

I’ve said many times before that I stress framing the job interview as a conversation where both parties involved agree the topic of conversation is an opportunity; a job for you and a potential new co-worker for them. So imagine a conversation where you asked questions of the other person in an effort to get to know them better and they in return asked none of you. You’d be left with the strong impression that they aren’t interested in you or even getting to know you. The same is true in a job interview scenario; ask no questions and you’re really saying, “I’m not all that interested in learning anything you could tell me.” So why then would an employer hire someone who has no interest in either them or learning more insights into what the job entails, the atmosphere you’d be working in etc.?

For starters, prepare a few questions ahead of time. Before you stress about how you’ll come across or how to exactly phrase the question itself, just identify what you’d most like to know that you haven’t been able to determine through some research. Are you most interested in knowing the hours of work, any overtime requirements, the percentage of time you’d be expected to be on the road vs. in the office, whether or not the organization promotes from within or the style of the person you’d report to? Jot these things down first; don’t worry how to ask, just write down all the things you’d really like to know that might influence your decision to accept the job or not.

Okay so you’ve got a few or a good number of things you could turn into questions. Take each thing you want to know and write it down as a question. Are some of these things you’ve put down more important to you than others? If so, put them in the order which for you personally goes from the most important to the least; the things that would be nice to know yes but aren’t critical to accepting or declining the job if it was offered to you.

If you took these questions to the interview, be listening attentively so you avoid asking one of these which they’ve previously answered. When you listen closely to the interviewer and keep your eyes open to your surroundings, you may discover during the interview itself that your interest is piqued about something you see or hear and this could also form the basis of a question you didn’t think of previously.

Here’s another thing that can be helpful. Once you’ve asked a question and the interview is answering it, focus on them and listen. After they’ve answered, think about making a comment building on their answer. “I like that; I agree that promoting people from within the company gives everyone the opportunity to advance with a sound understanding of the company from the ground up. My second question is…”

Questions to avoid tend to be those that reveal or suggest problems. If you only ask about health benefits and sick leave, it strongly suggests you may have an undisclosed health issue or your own. If you only ask about money and advancement, you appear to be only self-invested and looking beyond the job you are actually applying for right now. Make sure you emphasize that this is the job you are motivated to achieve and dedicate your energy to in the here and now and that you’d like to believe at some point in the future you’d be in a position to take advantage of other opportunities as they arise.

So here’s a question (ironically); what do really want to know?

 

My Job Is A Privilige


I am an Employment Counsellor employed with a large municipal organization in the Greater Toronto area of Canada. While I provide help and support to people on people from all walks of life around the globe on my own time; through this employer all those I assist working with the Municipality are exclusively on social assistance.

Now I have to tell you that I consider myself to be an upbeat, positive individual and I do my very best to work with enthusiasm front and center at all times. Some of my personal friends and acquaintances wonder that the job must by its nature be depressing at times, constantly working with this population. I tell them they couldn’t be further from the truth.

It is a true privilege I find myself in to be in this position; to be looked to for support and guidance regarding looking for employment. However, what makes this particular job unique and what new employees soon learn upon taking the job, is that dealing with unemployment is only a fraction of what the work entails.

One of the things I truly love and have come to value highly are the back stories that each individual shares with me when I work alongside them. Now in some organizations the scheduling of appointments is so tight that all an Employment Counsellor can really do is focus on building a resume and any talk outside of past work histories is severely limited. Success is measured by how many people you saw in a day, a week and a month. It might look good on a stats sheet, but these are real people with fascinating backgrounds; backgrounds that are currently impacting on their ability to get and keep employment.

I am so grateful that I came to work in this capacity later rather than earlier in life. By the time I landed in my current role, I’d already worked in Retail, Recreation, Social Services and the Non-Profit sector. I’d been an Executive Director, on the front line and in positions of authority. I been promoted, let go, resigned and worked in both jobs and careers over my prior work history. All of these gave me the gifts of diverse perspective, empathy, understanding, appreciation and resiliency.

Where I am now is indeed a privilege and I’ve found a way to draw constantly on my own past experiences for the benefit of others who hope to move forward. Some people say you should never look back if you want to move forward, but I know that it’s only when you look back that you see others who could use the hand you extend as help moving forward too. Now I’ll never be financially rich in the role I’ve taken but I didn’t set out in life to accumulate the biggest bank account balance I could in the first place.  I am enriched on a regular basis and thankful to be where I am. With respect to finances though, I must say I’m not wanting.

It’s truly an honour and a rare privilege when other people come into your life and trust in you enough to open up and share some of themselves. I have found that the level to which they confide in me requires a corresponding amount of empathy, honest concern and interest in them; not as a client but as a person; a fellow human being. Often the stories I hear are dark, fraught with pain, abuse, loss, trust broken and betrayal. These are the real experiences of real people and therefore their realities however. Maybe these people have never had someone in a position of authority actually care to listen to them with only the best of intentions in mind; a person who isn’t out to take what they share and manipulate it for personal gain. Who knows?

I tell you this however; these are remarkable people who have resiliency of their own. As fragile as they might be in some respects, they are also people of incredible fortitude and determination in others. They are good and decent people deserving of chances; be they second, third or fourth ones. They are skilled, qualified and if given a chance to demonstrate their value with the right employer will prove themselves to be among an organizations finest.

And they’re up against it aren’t they? It’s not just a lack of employment they’re working to change. In addition to finding a job, they often have to overcome abusive, traumatic relationships with controlling partners and ex-partners. Their housing is often substandard, their reliance on food banks well documented, their abilities to live within the constraints of a fixed poverty income tried and tested. Along with all of this they must overcome a stigma of being a social assistance recipient.

Would you be surprised to hear that many are highly educated? You’d be surprised to learn a lot of things as am I. How I learn is really by putting myself in position to listen without judgement, exercise some patience and empathize; create the opportunity for them to take or pass up to share to the level of their individual comfort. This helps me often get to real barriers of course that I see in the way of moving forward with employment, but I feel it really helps them as a person first.

This may not be your dream job but I’m grateful it’s mine.

 

 

 

 

It’s The End Of The Job Interview…


Unless you’re blindsided with an abrupt end to the job interview process, I’m guessing you can sense when things are wrapping up. Whether you hear the interviewer say, “Just one more question…”, or “Well that just about does it” you can sense the end is drawing near. So in those last couple of minutes what should you do?

One thing you shouldn’t do is plan on playing things by ear and winging it. The people who tend to make things up on the fly typically don’t succeed well; these are the folks who 5 minutes after they’ve left the interview room say to themselves, “Oh I forgot to say…!”

What you say does depend on two critical things: 1) As the interview winds down are you still interested in competing for the job based on what you’ve heard and experienced and 2) Has the interview gone positively or not up to that point? This is the challenge for any applicant; continue to answer the questions and stayed focused on the process you are involved in while simultaneously detaching yourself so you can constantly evaluate how things are transpiring.

Let’s assume first that the interview is going well and that you really like what you are hearing and seeing from the employer. Your confidence is high and you want this job more than you did when you first came into the room. Ah yes, the ideal scenario! In this case, you want to leave expressing your enthusiasm for the job and what it entails. As you wrap up, what you really want is to know how the process moves forward. Once you walk out of the interview you’re in the dark otherwise.

Certainly offer your hand with confidence and a smile, making contact as you do. Leave them with a final closing statement: “You’ve done an excellent job at raising my anticipation and excitement at the prospect of joining your team. I’m confident that in choosing me as the successful applicant for this position we will have a productive and mutually beneficial relationship. I look forward to hearing from next Tuesday as you’ve said. Thank you!”

There’s assertiveness in the above statements. It’s not all about you or them but rather the start of a mutually beneficial relationship. You’ve complimented them on raising your anticipation of working there and who doesn’t like to hear they’ve done a good job themselves? You’ve also reaffirmed the timeline they’ve indicated and used your manners by expressing your thanks and appreciation.

Let’s look at another scenario. You’ve become disenchanted with the job opening as the role is explained to you or you’ve picked up that for whatever reason this isn’t going to be a good fit. Should you continue with the interview and waste both your time and theirs or sit through what are the final few minutes out of some kind of respect for the process? My advice is to end things and leave with dignity and class. “If I may, I have great respect for your time as you go about finding the right person for this position. For this reason, I feel it only fair to say that from what I’ve learned today, this isn’t going to be the best fit for either of us but I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have met you.”

You may find this catches the interviewer by surprise and they might ask what’s changed. The situation is reversed now from what is often the case where the applicant is rejected and wants to know why or what they could do in the future to better compete. In this situation it is the interviewer who might want feedback. It’s up to you what if anything you say, but I will tell you that I’ve counselled people for some time to use this strategy and every so often if the employer is really impressed with the applicant up to this point, they make some concession in a negotiating effort to retain the person’s services. More responsibility, a title that fits better, re-packaging the compensation package.

One thing to bear in mind as well with the above is that while this particular opportunity didn’t come out in the end as the best personal fit, you might wish to apply for a different role with the same company or re-think things in the future and reapply for the same position. So best to ease out of the interview process with gratitude for their time and with some class.

Every so often when I hear from a person who has just left an interview, they tell me that they forgot to ask something which is really significant to them. They had expected to ask a certain question if the information wasn’t given to them but they completely forgot. What to do? Why not pick up the phone, ask to speak with them directly and ask your question? You can do that? They won’t think you’re daft? No. Interviewers will generally appreciate the fact that you’re still very much actively engaged in the thought process. In some cases you might email them with your question. Express your thanks first for the interview, indicate your keen interest and ask your question.

By the way, if you feel you’ve messed up and are losing the job you really want, be frank with the employer. Give them your best pitch with sincerity and learn from the experience; as you should with every situation.