When your interview goes badly …

Filed in HIRING ARTICLES by on October 26, 2017

Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go the way we plan, and interviews are no exception!

No matter how much time and effort you put into getting ready for an interview, something can always go wrong … and quite often does! Maybe you got up on the wrong side of the bed; maybe you can’t take your mind off some personal challenge you’re facing; maybe it is just “one of those days” … you were simply under the weather.

It doesn’t really matter whether you messed up on your answers, actually prepared for the wrong questions, or whether you were overcome by a simple case of the nerves – you can sometimes leave an interview feeling like you’ve really blown it. Here is some good news! There are ways to turn this type of situation around and come out of it with an interview victory! Don’t believe it? Just keep reading!

Here are a few things you should always do after a bad interview:

Take some time to de-stress …

Nobody is thinking right immediately after a bad interview. So take a few hours to relax first – then revisit the experience later. Perhaps you’ll see things in a different light. A bad interview experience can leave you feeling upset and frustrated. Don’t overthink the situation. It’s easy to beat up on yourself and become convinced that the interview was worse than it actually was. Remember, this isn’t your only opportunity … there will be many others.

Don’t overreact …

Sure, you might’ve slipped up on a few questions (and/or the stairs), but remember: minor mistakes aren’t necessarily deal breakers. Once you’ve had some time to deal with your feelings, start by asking yourself: “Is there something I learned from the experience? Was it an issue of timing – was it actually my own fault? Did things start off poorly because I was late? Did I screw up on an answer to an easy question? Miss a chance to show my enthusiasm for the job?”

If you can figure out why the interview went poorly, this can often help you sort things out – either with this same position or by getting your thinking right for your next interview. Once you’ve dealt with the initial embarrassment, gotten over your anger and handled your disappointment– it’s time to identify any not-so-perfect interview moments. Try to learn from your mistakes. Even something as simple as cutting back on coffee (caffeine is often thought to be one of the main culprits for interview nerves) could be the “game changer” for your next interview.

Focus on the positives, too …

There are ALWAYS some positives, and recognizing them is exactly what the doctor ordered to avoid falling into a pit of despair. This will also help to ensure you remember and replay your finer moments at the next interview. Put the bad stuff behind you for a moment: What actually went well during the interview?

As national municipal recruiters, we at Ravenhill Group Inc. know that even in the worst interviews, there just had to be one or two good moments. What about “eye contact”? Did you look your interviewer in the eye? Was your handshake a limp fish or something more vigorous? Do you recall being pleased with the way you answered at least one question? Take a few minutes and reflect on your finer moments, and, for heaven’s sake, stop beating up on yourself over a couple of slip-ups.

Bruce Malcolm

About the Author ()

Bruce's background includes 30+ years of human resource management experience covering all aspects of HR administration with a clear specialty in team building and recruiting. He created and developed the concept of “Ethical Head-Hunting™”. Bruce began his recruiting career in 1971 with Prudential Assurance.

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