How To Recover From A Terrible Job Interview


You studied the company, you put on your most professional outfit, you went through all the talking points in your head, you prepared thought-provoking questions, and then you completely blew it.

Terrible job interviews leave a horrible taste in your mouth. A ton of different circumstances can bring this about, and not all of them are in your control. But a lot can be done to remedy an interview flop.

Rather than moping and suffering from post-traumatic interview depression, here are the things you can do to recover.[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]

Forgive yourself.

It’s not okay to beat yourself up over an interview that went awry. Everyone makes mistakes, and experiencing a bad interview is not the end of the world. Forgive yourself and accept that you are human. Things don’t always go as planned, and you can learn from the bad experience.

Chalk it up to a learning experience.

Take a deep breath and reflect on the bad experience. Write a list of things that you think you need to improve upon while they are fresh on your mind. Then, learn from the mistakes that you made. Make a conscious decision to be better prepared for the next interview opportunity. Also, don’t forget to make a list of what went well and that you should continue to do.

Be proactive and follow up.

Throwing a pity party sounds like a perfect idea when you’ve just demolished your chances of being hired because of a terrible interview. However, it is a better idea to be proactive with immediate damage control. Send a handwritten thank you note to your interviewer.

You can always add things that you wish you’d said in person in your follow up message. Keep your reply brief and polite. After all, you don’t want to mention any mistakes in your thank you note.

Send out the SOS.

Your references are your lifesavers after a terrible job interview. Contact them immediately.  Share the short version of what happened. Ask them to mention key information, if you forgot to share it. Also, ask them to emphasize your best qualities to help offset the lousy interview.

There’s a chance it wasn’t as bad as you imagined. By shoring up your other resources, you may still have a shot.

Make the weaknesses strengths.

Remember the things you did wrong, and make sure they never happen again.

For example, if you forgot the interviewer’s name or called them by the wrong name, there is little that can be done to correct that faux pas. The interview is over, and you will probably never forget that interviewer’s name ever again since you know you blew it big time. However, you can strengthen your memory by learning new ways to remember names of people you’ve just met.

If you were late to your last interview, it is time to buy a reliable watch, and practice being punctual or show up an hour or two early to make sure you are on time. If you couldn’t find the location of the interview and this caused you to be late, next time do a dry run so that you can find the place and know how long it takes to get there.

There will be other opportunities and you have to make sure you don’t mess them up the same way.

Ask for another interview.

If you really feel like you blew the interview, call the interviewer and ask for a second shot.

Some interviewers will give you a redo, while others will not. This is a risky move, but you might earn yourself some brownie points for courage. It’s not unheard of and there are a bunch of ways to approach this. Gambling on a second interview might even land you the job.

Go back to the drawing board.

If the interview went badly and you don’t get a chance to redo it, you are going to have to endure another one somewhere to be able to land a job.

If you had pinned all your hopes on that one interview, then it is time to start searching job boards. Attack this process with even more energy than before. While big aggregators like Indeed are helpful you need to be on all industry-specific search sites as well as your local job sites. If you find a position that piques your interest, start the networking process to find out who you know that knows someone who can refer you personally for the job.

Make your own luck.

Although lucky charms and superstitions don’t really bring good luck, it never hurts to have a pre-interview routine. Wear your lucky shoes, a favorite piece of jewelry, or tuck a four leaf clover in your pocket. Do something to make you feel like a winner. These confidence boosters will help you overcome your case of nerves at the next interview.

Realize it’s not the end of the world.

Being too hard on yourself can cause you to be more nervous than ever next time. Putting extra pressure on yourself can cause memory lapses and jitters. It is best to find ways to relax before job interviews. Read a book or exercise early in the morning before an interview. A quick jog or eating chocolate can release endorphins that make you feel confident and positive. These happy feelings can give you an inner glow that will last throughout the interview.

Choosing to recover from a bad interview is the first step to moving on toward the next interview. Stop the pity party before it starts, and learn from your mistakes. Then, throw yourself back into the job search. After all, you still need a job.

[guestpost]GUESTPOST: Susan Ranford is an expert on job market trends, hiring, and business management. She is the Community Outreach Coordinator for New York Jobs. In her blogging and writing, she seeks to shed light on issues related to employment, business, and finance to help others understand different industries and find the right job fit for them. Gravatar:[/guestpost]

What do you do to overcome a terrible job interview?