A job interview is a stressful experience, and it can be easy to get rattled. Most of us have unfortunately had an interviewing blunder – after all, it’s part of the process. Whether it was a missed opportunity to share one of your skill sets, a question you weren’t prepared to answer, or something completely slipped your mind; it happens to the best of us. So, can you redeem yourself post-interview to save your chances of landing a new opportunity? Here is how you recover from an interview disaster to approach this predicament with grace.
If you catch yourself in the middle of an interview disaster, the first step is to stay calm. Panicking or overreacting will only make the situation worse. Everybody makes mistakes and what matters is how you recover from them. If you make a mistake in an interview, take a moment to compose yourself before you act. If you get worked up or rush to try to redeem yourself, you may dig yourself a deeper hole.
Buy yourself a few moments
If you get yourself in a pickle during your interview, you can do some damage control during your meeting. For example, if an interview question stumps you, you can buy yourself some time instead of panicking, trying to formulate a lackluster answer. To do this, ask your interviewer to repeat the question, ask a clarification question, or even request a moment to think. So, if an interviewer asks you a tricky question, you can stall a bit by saying something like, “That’s a really great question. I have actually never been asked that before.” Even a quick couple of sentences like that can buy you enough time to formulate a response without providing a filibuster answer.
If you make a mistake, redeem yourself immediately
If you do make a mistake, redeem yourself immediately. Whether it’s a question you can’t answer, or you forget to tie in a skill set or project while answering a question, remedy the interview disaster ASAP. For example, we recently interviewed an intern here at JSG. We asked about a certificate listed on their resume, and they couldn’t tell us anything they learned from the course. They sent a follow-up email three days later apologizing again and providing some details on the certification, but it was too little, too late.
They did the right thing by emailing the team and providing some insight on this certification, but they should have done it the same day. In that three-day span, we interviewed several excellent candidates, and unfortunately, this interviewee didn’t make the cut. Therefore, if you find yourself in this situation, the right move is to send an email and clarify a response or provide more information. However, you must do so as soon as humanly possible to recover from an interview disaster.
Learn from your interview disaster
The best way to recover from an interview disaster is to learn from it. It is unfortunate, and depending on the mistake, it can cost you your chances of landing the job. However, as long as you learn from your mishap, it isn’t a complete failure. You will be ready mentally and physically if this situation arrives again and be able to recover from it in the future. The great John Wooden summed this up perfectly when he said, “Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.”
If you are looking for more interviewing advice, review our candidate resources! We have dozens of helpful tips and advice to help you nail the interview and receive that much-deserved job offer.