So, you botched an interview, your mind is racing thinking about all of the mistakes you’ve made. Your heart beats faster and you start to sweat. By now, you are mad and you blame yourself. Does that sound familiar? But what can you do? It has happened to the best of us. Just because you feel you’ve messed up royally in an interview, that doesn’t mean that all is lost. Here are some tips and tricks to recovering from a botched job interview.
Take some time to go over the interview. Don’t just consider what you did wrong, that will only make you feel worse, also focus on what you did right. This will help to prevent you from over analyzing and over reacting. For example, say you were nervous and you were talking way too fast. This is a small detail. The interviewer may not have even noticed even though it was obvious to you. Remember, that interviewers expect people to be nervous during an interview.
Don’t respond the moment that you get home from your interview. Take some time to calm down so that you do not make another mistake in your haste to fix the problem. Consider whether or not the problem is worth bringing more attention to. If so, what is the best way to address the issue?
If you did make a big blunder that the interviewer couldn’t help but notice, make a plan to correct it. All is not lost. Think about what the mistake was and about how you can fix it without making yourself look worse. Often times the best way to fix a mistake like this is through a concise, well-crafted communication. Or perhaps, you could just fix the problem. For example, say that you bumped into the interviewer’s desk and broke their picture frame. Try sending a new picture frame to their office with a simple note. If possible, replace it with a better one than the one that you broke so that they feel like they are coming out ahead. You’ve just turned a bad situation into a good one.
Only focus on correcting the big mistakes, the things that the interviewer would have definitely noticed. After all, you don’t want to inadvertently call attention to a mistake that the interviewer did not pick up on. No one is perfect, so the interviewer does not expect the interview to be perfect either.
A thank you note is a great option to fix a misstep. Keep the focus of the note on thanking the interviewer and only dedicate a few lines to addressing the problem. This will help to keep the tone positive. Thank you notes are also a great place to add in information that is crucial to getting the job that you may have forgotten to mention during the interview. Let’s say that a big part of the job that you are applying for involves making PowerPoint presentations and you completely forgot to mention that you are a PowerPoint wizard. Try slipping it into the thank you note. You could simply say something along the lines of “I’m excited for the possibility of getting to use my PowerPoint skills in a setting in which my creative and interactive presentations will be appreciated”. This lets them know about your skills without bringing attention to the fact that you forgot to mention them.
In most cases a formal apology is not necessary, especially if you can fix the problem with a concise comment. However, if you did something that was extremely offensive or physically damaging such as spilling tremendously hot coffee in the interviewer’s lap, an apology may be the best course of action. If that is the case, remember to be sincere, honest and concise.
One thing to keep in mind is that interviewers are people too. If you were distracted due to an emergency or another life-altering event, consider sharing it with the interviewer (if it is not too personal). This may even highlight your human nature or the fact that you have values that the employer may be looking for. For example, if you were distracted because you were worried about a sick family member, that shows compassion and family values. These may just be the characteristics that your potential employer is looking for. Either way, chances are that he or she will understand.
The most important way to optimize an otherwise unsuccessful interview is to learn from it. It may sound cheesy but, it can be extremely helpful. The same holds true for successful interviews. Always learn from them, the knowledge that you obtain will only strengthen your interviewing skills and improve your chances of landing the job. Remember, a bad interview does not mean that you’ve blown it. It is still possible to recover and even get the job.
Angelica Dudenhoefer is the Marketing Coordinator at Drake & Company, a staffing firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Drake & Company specializes in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire administrative, clerical and legal placements. Since 1978, Drake has reached beyond skills and qualifications to match candidate personalities with a company’s culture. You can connect with Angelica by email or on LinkedIn and you can find Drake & Company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+,Instagram and Pinterest.