How to Recover from a Bad Job Interview and Get the Job

Posted: 11.24.2015
It can happen to anyone. For one reason or another – a late arrival, botching answers to key questions, failing to establish a rapport with the interviewer – you had a bad job interview. Although the proverb is true, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, you do have an opportunity to make up some of what you lost in your bad job interview.

Before and During the Interview

You don’t need to wait until an interview is over to take the initiative and put things back on the right track. If you’re running behind schedule that day and you think there’s a chance you’ll be late, there’s no harm in rescheduling the interview. Rescheduling, even on the same day, is better than showing up late with an excuse. It can help you avert what could have been a bad job interview and give you a chance for a fresh start.

Make sure you don’t overstate your weaknesses. After all, you’re trying to put your best foot forward here. If you ever find yourself saying something that seems a little too personal or a little too negative toward you or others, try not to go there. If you can’t avoid it, try to bring the conversation back around to something that positively affects your ability to do the job.

At the end of the interview, feel free to ask the interviewer if you can add to any answers you gave that you feel could have been better. Most interviewers will give you every chance to make a good impression and will gladly allow you to firm up your responses after the fact.

 It may be that you end up with an interviewer that you just don’t click with. Does it seem as if you’re never quite on the same page? First, it’s important to remember that it may not be your fault; this person may be distracted by other things on their plate, or they may just be having a bad day. If you’re interviewing with more than one person, just relax and do your best in the next interview. Otherwise, there are a few things you can do after the interview to try to regain some rapport with your prospective employer.  

After The Interview

If you just finished the interview and you’re convinced you bombed, first give yourself some time. Take a walk, and clear your head. Try to put the interview into perspective.

Obviously, things like arriving late are indeed negatives that will count against you, but others are less clear cut. Did you really stutter your way through the most important questions, or are you remembering it to be worse than it was? Were you really caught flat-footed by a particular question? Were there several things that were on the tip of your tongue that you were never able to express?  Did you feel like you and the interviewer never really connected? Answer these questions, and you’ll be able to tell yourself whether the interview was as bad as you first thought.

Analyzing Your Mistakes and Moving Forward

If you’ve carefully considered what occurred in the interview and you’ve come to the conclusion that you did indeed perform badly, it’s time to get to work. The first thing to do is to analyze what went wrong.

If you simply didn’t click with the interviewer, but you’re confident that you otherwise performed well, it’s important to keep in contact with the hiring manager. You can do this by occasionally asking for updates on your application status, as well as by sending him or her relevant articles you come across that you believe will be of interest. It’s important not to overdo it though, as appearing desperate can hurt your chances. 

If you feel you answered some questions incorrectly or incompletely, go back to your answers, and write down all the things you wish you’d said in response to each question. For example, if you were asked to describe one project where you took charge and completed the work in a unique or outstanding way, and you weren’t able to remember the specifics, take the time to write down everything you can remember now that you’re not under the gun. Do your best to find relevant statistics to back up your answers.  

Once you’ve got everything assembled, it’s time to write a thank you/recovery note. Aside from being a common courtesy, this is a way to follow up your bad job interview with concrete examples to back up your less than stellar answers to the interview questions. Put together a concise, hard-hitting letter using verifiable facts to back up your case wherever you can. When your prospective employer receives the letter they will know, even if you didn’t show it in the interview, that you very much want the job and further, that you’re uniquely qualified for it.

There are any number of reasons why you can have a bad job interview and many ways you can end up landing the job regardless. Above all, communication is key, whether before, during or after the interview. No matter which recovery technique you use, confidence and faith in yourself goes a long way toward showing the employer that you are truly the best person for the job.

By Cecile Peterkin-- a charismatic and inspiring woman, is the founder and president of Cosmic Coaching Centre (CCC). Through the Centre, Cecile provides a host of coaching solutions for Career, Leadership and Life development. Her way of helping others leads to a comfort level welcomed by her clients giving relationship stabilization immediately.  Her approach is to go above and beyond just coaching her clients.  It’s an investment to their well-being.  Experience Cecile’s coaching at:
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