Small Texas Metros, Big Texas Growth

Small Texas Metros, Big Texas Growth

Texas is huge and extremely diverse in terms of population and industry. Some areas thrive because of location and resources, but there’s more to metropolitan growth than that. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas recently released a report comparing key metropolitan areas with populations below 800,000. Our Tyler-Longview metro stands out as a driver of the area economy. The Bank’s full 75-page report is available online, but we’ll summarize key findings below.

Smaller Metros Critical to Expansion

You can’t really compare the Tyler-Longview area to cities like Houston or Dallas. It’s more comparable to metropolitan areas like Amarillo, Beaumont-Port Arthur and Lubbock. Smaller metropolitan areas like these are an activity hub for their region.

The Tyler-Longview area is made up of smaller towns or communities like Whitehouse, Kilgore, Jacksonville and Palestine. Residents of those smaller communities travel inward for jobs, shopping, dining and healthcare because Tyler and Longview provide all of the above. Their investment in Tyler and Longview economies drives further growth.

Small Communities, Strong Personalities

Smaller metros develop unique strengths and characteristics. For example, Amarillo is isolated by geography from the rest of the state, so it developed a self-reliant, independent-spirited economy that started with ranching and developed into industry. Now, CNX Pantex is the nation’s largest facility for building and dismantling nuclear weapons, and the Wildorado Wind Ranch generates electricity for more than 50,000 households.

The Tyler-Longview area has a distinctly different flavor. It’s nestled in the Piney Woods, with area growth kickstarted by the discovery of the East Texas Oil Field. The Tyler-Longview metro area still has a strong energy and mining sector and a health services cluster vital to growth. The energy sector provides 8.2 percent of area jobs, and healthcare employs more than 34,000.

Higher Pay for Outlying Communities

Smaller metro areas provide opportunities for the communities that surround them. People who live around Tyler are close to education opportunities at UT Tyler and TJC, and with a degree comes greater earnings capacity. Longview offers LeTourneau University for area residents looking to develop specialized skills.

As graduates find work in the community, those skills make the area stronger. They take proficiencies and earnings back to their small communities, benefitting a wider geographic area.

At Brelsford Personnel, we’re proud to live and work in the heart of East Texas. If you’re an employer searching for highly qualified staff or an East Texan looking for work, we can help. Find out more about our customer-centric approach or search our online job postings today.

Growth Trends in Tyler and Longview

They may seem like a small corner of a large state, but Tyler and Longview are an important part of the state and national economy. Together, both metropolitan areas had a population of 445,208 at the end of 2017. The area is “a manufacturing hub with an energy underpinning,” according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Let’s look at what makes the area a place where healthcare, retail and manufacturing thrive.

A Little East Texas History

Geographically Tyler and Longview are 40 miles apart, but they’re stitched together by the smaller communities in between. They’re also connected by industry overlap.

Both started out as agricultural communities. In 1870, Longview town founder Ossamus Hitch Methvin sold 100 acres for a dollar to the Southern Pacific Railroad so they’d build their line through his part of town. The next year Longview became the first town in Gregg County, and the Railroad brought growth to the entire region.

In Tyler, fruit orchards thrived until 1900, when disease wiped out over a million fruit trees. Tyler farmers started growing roses, and in less than two decades, provided most of the nation’s supply.

Then, in 1930 prospectors discovered a gigantic oil field around Kilgore. The enormous quantities of “black gold” extracted from the East Texas Oil Field were crucial to the Allied effort in World War II and led to what was, at the time, the world’s largest oil field and pipeline.

The region’s oil led to Tyler’s metal and fabricating industry growth. In Longview, the state’s largest chemical complex developed, along with a brewery and other industrial plants.

Top East Texas Employers

The area continues to experience steady growth, but some industries stand out. Health services employs more East Texans than any other industry, with more than 34,000 employees. In Tyler, UT Health Center (formerly ETMC) and Christus Trinity Mother Frances provide jobs for over 6,700. Longview’s Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center employs 2,500.

Brookshire Grocery Company calls Tyler Texas home. Tyler also has a Target Distribution Center. In Longview, there’s a Neiman Marcus service center, and Dollar General is building a regional distribution hub.

Technology improvements made it profitable to extract natural gas through hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling in East Texas counties. Energy and mining is still an active sector, providing area residents with jobs that pay 60 percent above average for the area. Machinery manufacturing and fabricated metal manufacturing also supply a significant portion of area jobs.

East Texas vs. the State

Compared to state averages, the Tyler-Longview area is ahead in some areas and behind in others. Area population is older. Twelve percent of the state’s population is 65 or older, but in East Texas, 15.5 percent of residents have blown out 65 candles.

A smaller portion of East Texas is between 25 and 54 years of age. Retirees are moving in because of mild weather and excellent healthcare, with some younger people drifting to larger cities for a more urban lifestyle.

East Texas opportunities in healthcare, manufacturing, construction, retail and energy mean workers don’t have to complete a college degree to find a good job. In the area, 22.4 percent of those over 25 have a four-year degree, compared to 28.9 percent across the state. Fewer residents have a college degree, but the number of high school graduates is higher than state average.

East Texas is rich in opportunity, and employers are looking for workers at all skill levels. Some of those jobs are at Brelsford Personnel. Check out our online postings to find your next job today.

Best News on Unemployment in 50 Years

Best News on Unemployment in 50 Years

The unemployment rate affects everyone. Whether you’re looking for work or not, overall joblessness indicates economic health. In a thriving economy, unemployment is low. After a recession starts, layoffs start, and the job situation doesn’t improve until the economy is healthy again.

The unemployment rate conveys what other combined indicators are showing. If you’re in retail, it tells how many people have paychecks for buying. If you’re looking for work, unemployment numbers tell you how much competition you have.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor gathers data and provides statistics on things like inflation, workplace injuries and unemployment. This past month, their news release on unemployment painted the brightest jobs picture America has seen in half a century.

Unemployment By the Numbers

Unemployment declined by 0.2 in April to reach 3.6 percent. That’s the lowest unemployment rate since December 1969. Employers added 263,000 jobs, a number higher than expected. Plus, the road ahead looks positive. “The job market is holding firm,” said Mark Zandy, chief economist for Moody Analytics. “as businesses work hard to fill open positions.”

All Categories See Improvement

There are fewer Americans out of work, and that spans across demographics. Unemployment fell for people with disabilities and veterans. It also dropped for those with only a high school degree. Unemployment for Hispanics is at its lowest point since 1973. For women, it hasn’t been this low since 1953.

Low unemployment creates opportunities, so minorities and people just starting their careers can get their foot in the door. It also improves gender balance, since women are more likely to find work in male-dominated industries.

Industries With Biggest Gains

Some of the most noteworthy job gains were in professional and business services, construction, health care and social assistance. Professional and business services employers added 76,000 more jobs alone. Of those, many were administrative, support services and computer systems design.

Construction jobs growth is another indicator of a strong economy. Employers in that sector added 33,000 jobs last month. Healthcare grew by 27,000 last month and by 404,000 in the last year.

Wages Keep Climbing

Fewer Americans are out of work, and the ones who get a paycheck are earning more. Average hourly wages for all employees went up six cents just in April. The current average hourly wage is $27.77, up 3.2 percent in the past year.

Find Your Dream Job

Unemployment numbers are low in East Texas, and top employers are looking for you. Check out our online job postings, then fill out an application to experience our fresh approach.

Stressed at Work? Try This Today

Stressed at Work? Try This Today

April is Stress Awareness Month, but you may have been too stressed to notice. The American Institute of Stress says the top cause of stress in the United States is job pressure. Co-worker tension, difficult bosses and work overload all contribute.

Stress doesn’t just leave you feeling frazzled. People cited physical symptoms like fatigue, headache and muscle tension. It churns up powerful emotions. A fourth of workers, 25 percent of Americans surveyed said they have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress.

If you’re one of the 80 percent of Americans feeling workplace stress, you don’t need more statistics. You need stress relief. Here are six suggestions you can implement today.

Start With a Healthy Meal

You can’t fix your boss. If you could work harder and faster you would be doing it already. What you can change is the way your body feels. Instead of bolting down coffee and a doughnut on your way to work, put good fuel in your body. Try yogurt and almonds or a few scrambled eggs. It’s tempting to reach for sugar throughout the day for the quick burst of energy, but that leads to an energy crash. Seek healthier options instead.


Mayo Clinic recommends exercise as an integral part of stress management. Working out releases endorphins so you feel better. It boosts your mood and helps you sleep better later.

People who are stressed report feeling fatigued and like they already have more to do than they can handle. Just the idea of exercise can seem overwhelming. Channel that feeling into physical activity. Use that negative energy and anxiety to fuel movement. Actually visualize your muscle cells burning your stress like tiny incinerators. It will absolutely make you feel better today.

Avoid Office Drama

Almost every workplace has people who like to stir things up. As much as it’s up to you, stay away from gossip and office politics. Getting involved creates stress you don’t need. Instead, work on building or strengthening relationships with people who are positive and encouraging.

Make Breaks Count

When you pause for a break, instead of mindless scrolling on your cell phone, spend time intentionally lowering your feelings of stress. Take a few deep breaths and when you exhale, imagine tension flowing out of your muscles as the breath leaves your lungs. A few times a day, look for opportunities to practice gratitude for a more positive outlook.

At lunchtime, set work aside and concentrate on actually tasting and enjoying your food. When you take a coffee break, pause to appreciate the aroma and flavor of the coffee.

Go to Bed Early

Sleep deprivation increases your risk of chronic health conditions, and it makes you feel sluggish and unmotivated. You get less done, which creates stress. Then you lose sleep worrying about what you didn’t accomplish. It becomes a cycle where eventually you’re not sure if you’re stressed because of lost sleep or losing sleep because you’re stressed.

This afternoon, resist the urge to reach for coffee. In the evening, put away electronics for at least two hours before you intend to sleep. The blue screen light suppresses melatonin, a hormone your body produces to make you feel sleepy. Put work away well before bedtime and just sleep. The next day you’ll be more refreshed less likely to let small stressors get to you.

Apply for a Job You’ll Love

If work stress feels like it’s ruining your life, it may be time for a job change. Take a step in the right direction by browsing our online job postings. If you see one that looks like a good fit, you can apply right there on the job posting page.

Employee Stress – Costs, Causes and Solutions

Employee Stress – Costs, Causes and Solutions

Do members of your staff call in, miss deadlines or seem to struggle to keep up with their workload? The struggle could be tied to their emotional wellbeing. There’s a very good chance some of your employees are stressed, and it’s costing you money.

A Colonial Life Study surveyed 1,506 full-time employees and found their stress level was costing their company billions every week. Yes, you read that right. Every week.

The High Cost of Employee Stress

The U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics says the United States has around 128.5 million adults working full-time at an average of $21/hour. With that many employees, minutes and hours of reduced productivity add up quickly. Here are a few highlights from the study.

  • Over 70 percent of employees report they spend time on the clock worrying.
  • Of those, 28 percent spend less than an hour of paid time worrying about stressors.
  • Half of them – a full 50 percent spend between one and five paid hours thinking about stressors.
  • 16 percent spend between five and 10 hours.
  • Six percent spend more than 10 hours at work stressed.

When they’re stressed, 41 percent say they’re less productive. Thirty-three percent are less engaged. Fourteen percent of workers say they’re absent more frequently and 15 percent say stress makes them start looking for a new job. When employees experience stress, they’re more likely to have health problems, depression, trouble concentrating and decreased motivation.

Employee Stress Causes

You can’t do much about stress from personal relationships or other outside factors, but it’s possible to reduce workplace stressors. Employees feel stressed by situations that are unpredictable, uncontrollable or unfamiliar. They also report stress when performance expectations are ambiguous or feel unattainable. Key factors include:

  • The need for long hours or work overload
  • Personal life struggles caused by work overload
  • Feeling excluded from decision-making processes
  • Struggles with administrators stemming from unclear expectations, different communication styles or poor management
  • Physical discomfort caused by the workplace environment

What Employers Can Do

The first step is becoming aware of problems and making emotional health a priority. Look for signs of employee stress like frequent sick days, moodiness or declining productivity. Then, ask employees for feedback.

Acknowledge the reality of stress and its impact on daily living. Then, seek out ways to relieve some of the pressure.

For employees that are stressed over earnings, employers might provide help understand benefits or resources for financial planning. If work causes physical discomfort, invest in improving office ergonomics. Help employees better handle stress with contests around healthy habits or opportunities for daily physical activity.

For most employees, just feeling supported by their companies will be a huge stress relief. When they have resources and support, they are better equipped to deal with stress to stay productive and engaged.

Find Your Zen at This Tyler Event for Professional Women

Find Your Zen at This Tyler Event for Professional Women

This April 30, the Tyler Executive Women’s Network hosts “Lean In to Your Zen,” their third annual Lean In event. Working women in East Texas have the opportunity to develop relationships, connect with a mentor and receive fresh insight on how to manage all the things on their plates.

Why Lean In to Your Zen?

The American Psychological Association finds women still experience more stress than men. While both genders feel pressure in daily living, women are more likely to say their stress is on the rise. Twenty-three percent of women say their stress level is extreme, ranking it at eight or higher on a 10-point scale.

Why do women feel more stress? Much of the time, women have more domestic responsibilities. Many of us have been socialized to feel we should say yes to anything we’re asked to take on.

Plus, as Lean In recently released, there’s still a gender pay gap. On average, women in the United States receive 20 percent lower pay than men. The gap is even greater for minorities. The disparity creates financial stress.

The stress isn’t going to go away. The goal of Tyler Executive Women’s Network (TEWN) is to unite professional business women and entrepreneurs for professional, educational and emotional support. You don’t have to be a member to attend April 30. If you’re a woman who works or has worked in the past, this event is for you.

How This Event Can Help Find Your Zen

Carmen Carpenter, President of Trent Technologies Inc. is chairing the event along with Anna Malone, Vice President and Financial Advisor at Regions Investment Solutions. Carmen says the event is geared toward empowering women — to help them balance work, life, career and relationships.

The evening will involve candid interviews with women of different ages and career stages. Here’s what you can expect:

  • The Millennial Entrepreneur – Allie Martin Wilson is owner of Allie Martin Weddings & Events as well as Pour Me Bars. She has been operating her planning business since 2006, which she started at the mere age of 20. Allie has executed over 600 events in her 13 years in business, from weddings and fundraisers to corporate conferences for the Governor’s Office of Louisiana. Pour Me is a turn-key bar service serving all of East Texas at hundreds of events each year. Allie lives in Whitehouse with her husband, Shawn, and their four fur-babies. She’ll share what it’s like to start a new business and how integral technology and social media can be to the process.
  • The Seasoned Professional – As Executive Vice President of Retail at Texas Bank and Trust, Danielle Webb has had firsthand experience with intense stress in the workplace. This Generation Xer is living proof of the benefits of healthy living. Danielle offers insight on fitness and finance specifically aimed at working women.
  • The Mother-Daughter Duo – KLTV 7 News Anchor Jennifer Hines is a familiar face for East Texans. She’s an award-winning journalist, wife and mother of three daughters. She sits down with her mother, Carol Calkins, a retired senior partner from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). While at PWC, Ms Calkins held national positions in the Tax group, was co- chair of WorkLifeQuality and officed in both Dallas and NYC. She is the mother of two, stepmother to one and grandmother to five. She currently serves on the National Foundation Board of LSU. The two will contrast the struggles professional women today face compared to what women experienced in the past.

There will be something for everyone in these discussions with women from our community across generations. Along the way, event attendees have the chance to win stress-busting door prizes like aromatherapy candles, facials and more.

When and Where to Lean In to Your Zen

The event is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Tyler Conference Center at 5701 South Broadway in Tyler. Check out the Tyler Executive Women’s Network Facebook page for event details. Tickets are $30 and will be available through Eventbrite soon.

2019 Energy Summit of Northeast Texas Recap

2019 Energy Summit of Northeast Texas Recap

The ninth annual Energy Summit of Northeast Texas broke records. Early this April, 35 sponsors, 450 attendees and speakers integral to the oil and gas industry joined together at the Green Acres Crosswalk Conference Center in Tyler.

The Energy Summit’s Purpose

The Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors the annual Energy Summit of Northeast Texas. The event’s main mission is to bring key industry experts to an East Texas audience and to provide a well-recognized regional energy event. It has become possibly the most visible regional energy conference, and it draws a bigger crowd every year. This year’s speakers were as follows:

  • Ryan Sitton – Commissioner of the Texas Railroad Commission
  • Mark Mathis – CEO of Clear Energy Alliance and creator of industry documentaries SpOILed and Fractured
  • Paul Hart – Editor-in-Chief of Hart Energy

Attendees also heard from a local industry panel that included Nick Pollard, VP of Business Development for Tanos Exploration.

Energy Summit Audience

About half of the people in attendance were core industry professionals. The second half was a mix of business leaders, government and civic leaders, accountants, lawyers and other business professionals.

One of the many great things about the annual Energy Summit is that you don’t have to be a geologist to benefit. The event is for general audiences who are interested in learning more about the value of the oil and gas industry, the jobs it creates and how it generates investment dollars.

The Impact of Texas on Global Energy Markets

The theme of the event was The Impact of Texas on Global Energy Markets. Speakers shared a number of facts that prove how integral the oil industry is to our state, nation and planet.

  • Jobs – Not many people realize that oil and gas direct and indirect jobs are a third of the Texas economy.
  • Rainy Day Fund – The economic stabilization fund, more commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund receives billions of dollars from crude oil and natural gas production taxes. Other states have similar funds, but Texas has by far the largest. Lawmakers use those funds for things like education funding, teacher raises and disaster recovery.
  • Technology and Innovation – Houston is the technology center for the world’s oil and gas. Continual technology innovation there and across the state spills over into other industries and sectors.

The United States, particularly West Texas’ Permian Basin is now the largest oil producer in the world, even above Saudi Arabia and Russia. We’re a net exporter of oil. We’re also becoming the largest exporter of natural gas in the world through Texas LNG facilities on the Gulf Coast.

Creating a Better World

Ryan Sitton, Commissioner of the Texas Railroad Commission pointed out how the oil and gas industry improves quality of life for all levels of society. The last few years especially the industry has provided Americans with affordable gasoline. If it weren’t for Texas oil industry’s success, gasoline prices would likely be much higher.

When gas prices skyrocket, it affects everyone but not to the same degree. The single mother of three working for minimum wage feels the pinch much more deeply than a family with two adults making professional-level salaries. Low gas prices benefit everyone, but people who are struggling need those extra pennies and dollars for essentials.

Natural gas also provides affordable energy for all levels of society. It’s an affordable way to cook and heat homes. It’s also good for the planet.

Natural gas is a fossil fuel considered a “bridge” to more sustainable energy sources like solar energy or wind energy. It’s clean burning. Natural gas from Texas keeps both prices and emissions low while we explore and introduce other forms of alternative energy.

Event Planning Team

It took a huge effort on the planning team’s part to bring this event to East Texas. Brelsford Personnel’s own Gates Brelsford served as Chairperson, but he says he thinks of himself more as the “coach.” Alongside him worked Ben Morgan, Greg Jean, Ernie LaFlure, Scott Baker, Brent Jasper, Doug Brown, Claude Figueroa and Chamber Members Tom Mullins and Henry Bell. Mr. Brelsford credits the team with the Summit’s record success.

At Brelsford Personnel, one of our specialties is professional and administrative oil and gas positions. We place candidates with energy companies in substantial Northeast Texas energy companies. Browse our online job postings or get in touch today.

How to Thrive Even if You’re Stuck in a Dead End Job

When work starts to feel like a hamster wheel day after day, it can lead to burnout. Maybe you’ve worked to the highest position possible within your organization and your company doesn’t offer any more opportunities for growth. Or, maybe you applied for a promotion and failed.

When there’s nowhere to go and no change in sight, the future stretches ahead of you endless and bleak. However, most people can’t afford to go home and stay there while they figure out what to do next.

That’s where we come in. Brelsford Personnel helps East Texans find jobs they love. While you’re waiting, here are ways to breathe fresh energy into every day while you work toward a better future.

Step Back

You may not be able to quit, but take a break to invest in yourself and your future. Carve out some time on a weekend or take a day off for reflection and research.

When you don’t like your job, you can develop tunnel vision. All you can see is what’s holding you back. Maybe you feel like your boss and co-workers are always stifling your creativity or the nature of your work is too mind-numbing. You feel strangled because you have to have the benefits or the income to support your family. The more you focus on the problem, the bigger it looms.

Intentionally step back and start looking for the solution. You know you hate where you are, but where would you like to be? What’s your ideal job? What skills do you already possess and which ones do you still need to get it? Set attainable goals and start researching the steps that would get you there.


There’s always a demand for highly skilled employees. If you’re not qualified for the job you want right now, do something about it. Take advantage of training your employer offers. If you hear about a workshop or seminar that would add to your skillset and it’s not on your manager’s radar, ask to attend.

You might need to go back and finish high school, attend a trade school, pick up an associates or bachelor’s degree or get your MBA. It all takes time and effort, but you become of more worth to employers. Plus, you’ll feel hopeful instead of stagnant.

Slide Laterally

If you can’t move up, can you trade places? There might be another position within your organization that has different responsibilities and requirements. Even if you have the same pay, you’ll learn new things and have a fresh daily routine.

Get Moving

Literally move more. Set a timer and do something to get your blood pumping every hour. Jog in place behind your desk. Go for a brisk walk around the parking lot. Find a way to work in physical activity and both your brain and body will feel invigorated.

Apply Somewhere Else

Brelsford Personnel has been successfully placing qualified candidates with top Texas employers since 1988. View our current openings and if you find one that looks like a good fit, register with us today.

Job Search Differences Men vs. Women

Job Search Differences Men vs. Women

Men and women don’t approach the job search in the same way. As East Texas employers and employees seek to eliminate gender inequality, it’s important to recognize the thought processes that go into job application. There are things both genders can learn from each other.

Biggest Job Search Gender Difference

Previously we had the chance to interview former Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass for an upcoming Tyler Executive Women’s Network event. She pointed out how women tend to think they’re not qualified enough or that they need more skills to apply for a position.

They typically look at the list of job requirements and if they can’t check off every one of them, they think it would be a waste of time to apply. When women don’t apply, they say it’s for reasons like the following:

  • I didn’t think they would hire me because I didn’t have all the skills on the list. I didn’t want to waste my time and energy.
  • I felt like submitting my application would waste the hiring team’s time. It would be inconsiderate since they had already made it clear what they were looking for.
  • I didn’t want to put myself out there when it seemed I might fail.
  • I thought there were probably more qualified people out there. I didn’t think I could perform the job as well as they might be able to.

A Hewlett Packard internal report also found in Harvard Business Review says men apply for a position when they meet 60 percent of the requirements, where women only apply if they meet them all. It’s an eye-opener when women realize there are likely people applying who are less qualified.

Rules vs. Guidelines

Tara Mohr, author of Playing Big: Finding Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message surveyed more than 1,000 professionals of both genders to compare their thought processes during a job search. She found women thought not applying for a job when they didn’t fit all the requirements was playing by the rules. Men are less likely to view the qualifications as rules at all.

If men had more than half of the required qualifications, they felt they could “sell” their ability to do the rest. Women listen to an inner voice that tells them they’re not good enough while men are less likely to hear that message.

Who is Right?

It’s important to note that when employers post job descriptions, it’s not only a wish list. They don’t just think it would be nice to find someone with most of the skills, but much of the job description will be actual requirements.

We’re not saying apply for positions you don’t have the skills for and hope to fake your way through the hiring process. That creates problems for both the employer and employee. Women are right to take job descriptions seriously.

However, if a job looks like a good fit, don’t hesitate to submit your resume for fear someone else might be better than you. Your skills and personality could be exactly what that employer is looking for. Men are right to approach a job with confidence if they know they have the skills.

Other Gender Differences

A Fairygodboss study found men and women use different resources in their job search. Men were more likely to use social media and LinkedIn. Women were more inclined to consult friends and family or job review sites.

Men and women have different motivation for seeking new employment in the first place. Men say they apply for a new job because they want more money or a promotion. Women are more likely to move because they have personal life changes and want more work/life balance or are looking for a position that’s more meaningful and challenging.

Brelsford Personnel has decades of experience placing both men and women with some of the best employers in the area. We have one-on-one conversations with applicants to fully understand their qualifications and career goals. For employers, we don’t suggest a candidate until they meet the majority of the qualifications – tangible and intangible. Find out the Brelsford difference when you get in touch today.

What to Do When Your Mind Goes Blank During an Interview

What to Do When Your Mind Goes Blank During an Interview

It’s probably the experience interviewees fear most. The recruiter or manager asks a question, you open your mouth and take a breath to answer, and suddenly your brain has nothing but white noise.

You wonder if that rushing noise in your ears is the sound of all your positive expectations going down the drain. For many, the degree of their feelings of panic seems directly proportionate to how badly they hoped things would go well.

The Best Prevention

The best way to keep it from happening is to prepare ahead of time. Research the company interviewing you so you have a good idea not just of their products or services, but also their values and culture. Read common interview questions for positions like what you’re applying for and practice your responses.

However, the brain is unpredictable. Let’s talk about what you can do if you walk in prepared and still find yourself fumbling for words.

Take a Deep Breath

A brief silence isn’t going to ruin your chances of getting the job. Take a deep breath and focus just a second on releasing the tension you’re holding.

If it makes you more comfortable, say something to the interviewer like, “Oh, that’s a great question. Let me think about it for just a minute.” Often releasing some of the pressure and providing a response will help you relax enough you can think clearly again.


Ask the interviewer to repeat the question. Sometimes he or she will phrase things differently so you better understand what they’re asking. Another option is to repeat back what they said and ask if you’re following their train of thought. Both choices give you precious seconds to think and possibly additional clues.

Check Your Notes

The information might be right in front of you on your resume or notes, so don’t be afraid to use it. Be honest and show you can keep a positive attitude. Say something like, “My mind just went blank, let me have a second to double check.”

Use What You Know

If you give yourself a break to relax, you’re sure you understand the question and you still don’t know the answer, draw from what you know about the job description, the company and your skills. Give the best response you can. If you can relate your answer to your key skills and how they transfer to the job you’re applying for, that’s better than panicked silence. If you still aren’t sure, ask to come back to the question later.

Find additional information on preparing for your interview in our article on interview tips and on our resources page. For your next employment opportunity, see our online job postings.