Recovering from interview disasters

Job interviews can be extremely stressful and nerve wracking, so it is not uncommon for people to experience disastrous moments, which leave them wishing the ground could swallow them up. You have probably already heard every interview disaster story out there, from realising an answer you gave was completely inappropriate to completely forgetting key pieces of information about yourself, but at the end of the day it’s not about the mistakes you make, but how you recover from them. Here we will provide a few tips on how to recover from interview disasters.

Dont panic its not that bad....
Try not to over analyse your interview disasters.
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Don’t over-think your mistakes
People have a tendency to rehash every single detail of an interview immediately after it has ended and start panicking about everything from, whether they answered the questions well to whether their handshake was firm enough.  The fact is that the more you think about the questions and your answers, the more you will dwell on any little mistakes you did make, which will make you feel embarrassed and incompetent.

At the end of the day you cannot go back in time and change your answers or give a firmer handshake, so there really is no point in worrying so much! Most of the time the things you feel you said or did wrong will have had far less of an impact on the interviewer than yourself. Resist the urge to send an email explaining you were nervous or that you missed out certain pieces of information, as this will only highlight your mistakes to the interviewer. Instead try to let it go!

Perform damage control
Although we have just stated that you should not send an apology email to the interviewer, highlighting your mistakes, there are a few things you can do to help to correct minor mistakes that you did make during your interview.

For example, if you forgot to mention a relevant job or an internship that could have helped you to get the job, drop it into a casual ‘thank you’ email to the interviewer. It is likely that they will email you thanking you for attending and letting you know when you should expect to hear from them. In your email back, thank them for their email and use the information you forgot to mention in your interview as a way of re-affirming why you believe you would be the best candidate for the role.

Alternatively you could get your references to perform damage control on your behalf. If you forgot to stress certain responsibilities you had in previous jobs during your interview or missed out important pieces of information, contact your references as soon as possible so they know to mention them in their phone call or email with your prospective new employer.

Learn from your mistakes
The most valuable piece of advice we can offer in this article is to learn from any interview mistakes you do make. Turning a negative into a positive is the best way to deal with an interview blunder, as it will help you to prepare well for your next interview and ensure you do not make the same mistake again.

Whilst over-analysing your mistakes is not recommended, you may want to consider how you could answer a similar question next time or what you could do to calm your nerves prior to your next interview e.g. breathing exercises. If you realised that you forgot to include important information in your answers, next time you may want to consider jotting down a few bullet points to take with you into the interview. Most of the time interviewers will be more than happy for you to bring a notepad into the interview, as it will show that you are prepared and serious about the job role.

Keep calm and carry on
Don’t panic if you slip up in your interview. Keep calm and carry on!
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Keep calm and carry on
Most of the time, individuals do not realise they have made a mistake until after an interview has taken place, but of course there are also times when you immediately regret something you said and want the ground to swallow you up whole. If this happens to you, our best advice is to keep calm and carry on! Try to remain poised and confident whilst you listen and consider the interviewers next question. Do not dwell on your previous answer or try to correct it, this will only make matters worse. If there is a point later on in the interview, where you can refer back to your answer or clarify it, do so without making it too obvious to the interviewer that you are correcting yourself.

Unless you have nerves of steel, it is expected that you will make mistakes in interviews every now and then. You are only human after all and the interviewer will understand the pressure you are under. When it comes to recovering from interview mistakes and disasters, the key is not to be too hard on yourself. Try and see your mistakes as a learning curve. This will make every interview that little bit easier, as you will know not to repeat past mistakes.

Image credits: Lee J Haywood & atomicShed

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