Five Steps to Recovering from a Bad Interview
Most of us have had that moment. You know, that moment when you leave the interview and think about all of the responses that you should have given, the nerves that you let show, and the questions that you wish you would have asked. The unfortunate truth is that you will leave some interviews feeling like you have completely ruined your chance at getting the job offer. Whether you are still new to the interview process or you were simply off your game that day, bad interviews happen. And when they do, you need to know how to recover quickly.
- Take a deep breath: It is normal to rethink every response immediately following your interview. But before dwelling on every answer that you wish you would have phrased differently, take a deep breath. Keep in mind that you are your own worst critic in this scenario, and chances are that the interviewer didn’t notice the small blunders that you made.
- Address concerns: After you have taken a moment to evaluate your interview, it is time to write the interviewer a thank you note. Along with thanking them for their time and consideration, use the thank you note to address any areas of concern that they may have had as well as any areas that you do not feel you adequately addressed during the interview. This isn’t the time to write several paragraphs attempting to fix every inadequate response you gave; rather, this is an opportunity to add any information that your nerves prevented you from relaying to the interviewer.
- Learn from your mistakes: No matter how poorly you feel that your interview went, take it as a learning experience. Consider what your biggest obstacles were. Were nerves the biggest obstacle, or were you unprepared for the questions that they asked? Take note of the areas that you struggled with most as well as the questions that you were uncomfortable answering so that you can better prepare yourself for future interviews. If you are fortunate enough to have an interviewer that provides feedback, take their constructive criticism seriously so that you can perfect your interview skills.
- Practice: Once you know what areas you need to improve upon, create a list of questions that you felt needed the most improvement. Find time to rehearse answers to these questions so that by the time you have your next interview, the answers sound conversational. I have found that practicing with a friend or fellow professional in your field is helpful, as is using your commute time to rehearse any difficult interview questions.
- Move on: Don’t let a bad interview deter you from applying for more jobs or making a career move. Take what you have learned and move on to other job opportunities being more prepared and confident.