Recovering from a bad interview – 4 easy steps
Realistically, no matter how many tips we give you on how to ace your interview… you will still mess it all up from time to time. So we’re taking a different route to tell you how to recover from a terrible interview.
Few people walk out of an interview completely confident that they nailed it. Most people are humble and modest, and often unsure if they answered all of the questions appropriately. This is a common feeling. However, there are also instances when a candidate walks out of an interview completely aware of the fact that they bombed the interview.
This is unfortunate – but it’s not the end of the world. It may seem hard to believe, but you can recover from a bad interview. Hiring managers are completely aware of how nervous you might be, and they can often be very understanding.
You may have been their favourite candidate prior to the interview, and if that’s the case, they will be more open to your attempt to implement some post-interview damage control.
Let’s break down what you need to do to get yourself back on the shortlist.
Don’t Over Analyze
If you are already not confident in your interview performance, chances are you will now find something wrong with every answer you gave. You will break down your words to the smallest details and determine that there was something wrong in everything you said. Stop it.
Review the interview from a high level and determine what your biggest mistake was. It usually comes down to one answer that was either wrong or not strong enough. Make this one answer your focal point, and outline a better response with the details you should’ve mentioned in the interview.
Reach out to the hiring manager with a casual email explaining that your nerves got the best of you and that after leaving the interview, you wanted to clarify one of your answers. You can then let the hiring manager know the stronger response and hope they will erase the original one from their memory.
Thank You Letter
Whether you gave a great interview or a terrible one, you should be sending a thank you letter to the interviewer the same day. In the case of a bad interview, the thank you letter is a great time to attempt to redeem yourself. Keep the tone of the thank you letter calm but professional, and jokingly mention that you were nervous.
This is also the perfect time to include details or information that you did not mention in the interview – that you wish you did. Let the hiring manager know that you’ve given a particular question of theirs some more thought, and then express the additional details and information to strengthen your original answer.
You will also show the hiring manager that you are interested enough in the position to continue pondering the questions afterwards, to ensure you gave the best possible answers.
Learn From It
The worst outcome of a terrible interview, is a streak of terrible interviews. Don’t let one bad interview knock you off your game. Whether you are being called in for a second interview with the same company, or a first interview with an entirely new company, you must keep your nerves calm and erase the bad experience from your memory.
If you constantly dwell on what you did wrong in your last interview, you are bound to repeat the mistakes as they will be on your mind. Instead, learn from your past mistakes and create a resolution plan to ensure these mistakes do not occur again. Then enter the new interview with a fresh mind and a fresh game plan on how you will wow the hiring manager.
Don’t Give Up
If you walk out of a bad interview and never attempt to contact the hiring manager about the position ever again – you have admitted defeat. You and the hiring manager both know that you didn’t give a great interview performance, but if you never attempt to redeem yourself, the hiring manager will assume that you have given up and will move on to the next opportunity.
By maintaining contact with the hiring manager and providing additional details and responses to rectify the initial mistakes you made in the first interview, you will prove to the hiring manager just how much you want the position. Your persistence and ability to transition a negative situation into a positive one will also translate into preferred qualities for a successful candidate.
I said the steps would be easy, and they definitely are. All it takes from you is the ability to suck up your pride and realize that you need to provide a better impression than what you gave in the interview. Admitting you gave a bad interview is the first step – then you can follow the four I’ve mentioned to do your best to clean up after yourself.
Will this work every time? Definitely not, but if you really want that position, then why wouldn’t you try?
If these steps still aren’t working and you constantly find yourself in this position after every single interview… it may be time for some interview coaching. We have experts that can help!