Win A Pageant

14: Handling Tough Interview Questions

episode-14-featured-imagePageant interviews aren’t designed to be easy. In fact, I believe they are far more difficult than job interviews.

Federal laws prohibit employers from asking questions like ‘do you have children and ‘are you a US citizen’ – questions that could lead to discrimination.

But, pageants are a wide-open space of all sorts of wild questions. Some pageants do have rules. For example, Miss America doesn’t allow for talents to be performed and Miss International doesn’t allow for political questions, unless brought up by the contestant. To know what the rules are for your pageant, simple ask your director if there are any questions that are off-limits. Most pageants allow for anything.

Therefore, crazy questions are asked. And you need to be prepared to deal with them. But, that doesn’t mean you’ll always have a slick answer to every question.

Just as in real life people ask all sorts of dumb, offensive, provocative, inappropriate and rude questions when you’re least expecting it – so, you have to be prepared to react. 

Some examples of these Tough Interview Questions are:

+ Confusing Politics: “Do you think Congressman So-and-So was wise to make his announcement prior to the election, or should he have waited?”
+ Personally Offensive: “Have you ever felt insecure about your body weight?”
+ Leading of Path: “What kind of mom do you want to be?”

You may have been asked other questions, sometimes they slip out awkwardly and sometimes they are designed to throw you off.

Now, here’s what you need to know: you don’t have to answer the question, but you do have to respond. 

You don’t have to answer the question, but you do have to respond.

What I mean is that you don’t have to answer the question directly, but you should provide some reply to at least acknowledge that you’re still in control of the room. 

There are 4 ways I teach my clients to respond:

#1 – answer the question directly if you want and you feel comfortable answering

#2 – answer what they are actually asking instead. If they are asking “Do you have lots of free time?” you may answer, “If you’re wondering if I have time to be a titleholder, the answer is Yes. I have structured my future to allow for flexibility so that I can easily accomplish the tasks I need to as the titleholder if I’m selected this weekend.”

#3 – “I don’t know about the situation your referencing. If you give me a few more details, I’d be happy to share my opinion.”

#4 – “I don’t feel comfortable answering that question in this setting.”

As a career counselor, I trained my students the same way, they could answer the question, answer the question behind the question, or choose not to respond.

The choice is yours. Remember that you are in control of the interview room, so keep it together and pointed in the direction of your crown.

That, ladies, is how you win a pageant. 

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