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3 Job Interview Tips from Miss Utah

There are few things worse in a job interview than fumbling for an intelligent answer to a question. Miss Utah learned this lesson the hard way during the Q&A portion of the Miss USA pageant. (We're sorry, we mean Miss USA Scholarship Program.)


The Question 

"A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?"

The Answer

"I think we can re-relate this back to education and how we are continuing to try to strive [pause] to [long pause and BIG SMILE] figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem. I think especially the men are and seen as the leaders of this and so we need to try to figure out how to create education better so we can solve this problem. Thank you."

No, thank you, Miss Utah. 

The Lessons

Miss Utah bombed her question in fewer than 70 words, causing the judges to question whether she was the right person for the crown. (Spoiler alert: she was not. The crown went to Erin Brady, Miss Connecticut.) So, what can we learn from this devastation?

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Before your interview, make a list of questions you are likely to be asked. Then, answer them. Write down key words, phrases, or numbers you want to highlight in your response. Practice answering the questions out loud. Don't memorize a script, which can make you sound rehearsed and robotic, but be careful about relying on your improvisational skills. 

2. Maintain your composure. If your interviewer stumps you with a question, don't panic. Take a breath, smile, ask for clarification if necessary, and then give your best answer. If you don't know what to say, answer as best you can, but concisely. Rambling is the first sign that you might not know what you are talking about. 

3. Wear your best sparkly earrings. If all else fails, they could distract your interviewer enough to hide the fact that you were a little bit clueless. I mean, probably not, but it's worth a try. 

We think Miss Utah should have read our report on the gender wage gap. Citing a credible source and defining the wage gap causes could have gone a long way in helping her secure the crown. Maybe next year, Utah. 

Tell Us What You Think

Miss Utah failed to solve the gender wage gap. Would you have done better? Leave a comment and, in 70 words or fewer, tell us how you would have answered the question. Best answer receives a crown**!

**Not really. But you will receive our undying admiration and respect. And we'll write your name on a piece of paper in the shape of a crown. 


More from PayScale

5 Things NOT to Say in a Job Interview

Fallacy of the Gender Wage Gap

High-Paying Jobs Have the Biggest Pay Gap

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