How to Recover from a Bad Interview

A bad interview can happen. Whether the nerves get the best of you, the interviewer is intimidating, or you’re just having an off day. There is an abundance of reasons why things can go wrong. But don’t fret, it really isn’t the end of the world. Here are some basic ways to fix it, as well as ways to move on gracefully.

Fixing it

  • The follow-up email

If your brain is going mental with mortification from your slip-ups, the thank you or follow up email is the perfect place to explain yourself. It’s a good idea not to blatantly apologise. For example, if you missed out on talking about previous job experience that could benefit your chances, find a way to mention it in the email. If your mistake was more prominent, apologise for the singular error, not for the interview as a whole. It’s likely that the whole interview wasn’t one giant stuff up so don’t act like it was and keep your head high. If you feel like you’ve made so many little mistakes but not one huge one, ask for feedback. This way you can gauge what the interviewer actually noticed, and it may put your mind at ease. Feedback will also help with getting a better perspective for future interviews and your initiative to ask for it might just make you stand out in a good way.

Moving on

  • Give yourself a break and don’t over analyse

First and foremost, take a big deep breath, and give yourself a break. Don’t think too much into it that you make your heart rate increase. You can identify what went wrong and think of ways to process how to word it in your follow up email, but don’t give yourself a hard time and wish to go back in time and change everything. It’s happened, and there’s nothing more that you can logically do about it (apart from that follow-up email). Sometimes, when you over analyse, you will make problems out of things that went unnoticed, such as the way your voice cracked when talking about where you want to be in five years, or how long you had to think about answering what your greatest weakness is. These aren’t likely to actually affect what the interviewer thinks of you as a professional so don’t let it get to you!

  • Learn from it, use your mistakes to be better next time, and realise your strengths

If you know and can identify exact mistakes, for example, calling the interviewer by the wrong name or answering a question too vaguely, now you know you have to work on these things. The best tool you can have in your belt after an interview is awareness. Be aware of what went wrong as well as what went right. Give yourself a pat on the back for your strengths and understand that your mistakes can be easily prepared for when leading up to your next interview.

  • If it was nerves, learn ways to settle them

Nerves can get the best of anybody. And sometimes there are events, just like an interview, that can trigger that anxious feeling just by the mere thought of it. So, it’s good to distract your mind with actions of preparation. Here is a blog that can help with that.

  • Take on the ideal ‘this is happening for a reason’

This may or may not be something you find true. Maybe you don’t hold the belief that everything happens for a reason, and that’s totally fine. But in this instance, to help you move on, try and give this mentality a go. If you feel more comfortable with the fact that this job wasn’t meant for you, maybe doors will open with new job opportunities that may just be better for you.