There you are, sitting across from the interviewer when it becomes shockingly apparent that things are not going well. Maybe you were caught off guard by an early question or completely blanked on the well-crafted answer you had prepared. Or maybe you just weren’t as prepared as you thought you were. Regardless of the reason, you can feel the job slipping away. But don’t panic. It is possible to recover.
To help you face your next interview gone awry, here are three tips that can turn your bad interview into a great one.
Often, we are our own harshest critics. It is possible that what you perceived as a major faux pas isn’t as bad as it seems. Give yourself a break and relax.
If you were in the middle of an answer and realized it wasn’t coming out the way you planned, don’t be afraid to backtrack and regroup. Take a breath, and ask if you can begin again. Everyone has bumbled through an interview question or two, so asking for a mulligan isn’t out of the question. Just remain calm, shrug off the slip-up, and give it another go.
If you finished an answer and only later realized it wasn’t great, you have a few options to help turn things around. First, if a subsequent question allows you to touch on the previous subject, you can use it as a course correction for the previous response. As long as you don’t contradict yourself, the additional supporting material will help your original answer be seen as a part to a larger whole, and not an answer on its own. Otherwise, if your other answers were strong, one fumbled question likely doesn’t spell disaster even if you leave it be.
We all make mistakes; how we deal with mistakes is more important. If the question has passed, and the answer wasn’t what you had hoped, that doesn’t mean your next one can’t be highlight reel worthy. Put the past behind you and focus on the question at hand. If you nail the remaining questions, that may leave a stronger impression than one or two that were mediocre. Aim for a strong ending to the interview and your previous errors may be non-issues.
At the end of an interview, most candidates are given the opportunity to ask questions. Depending on the topic, you may be able to use this as an opportunity to start a conversation that allows you to recover.
Alternatively, use this time to show you’ve done your research before coming in. Questions that dive deep into the company mission, idiosyncrasies of the work, or plans for the development of the position can help you end on a strong note. Well constructed and thoughtful questions demonstrate you took the time to understand what the job is all about and might make an interviewer inclined to think some of the previous missteps were the result of being nervous instead of ill-prepared.
Once an interview is over, there isn’t much that can be done to change the outcome. However, you can always reflect on what went well and where you could improve, and use that information to help your performance on the next one. Interviewing is a skill, and it takes practice to get some of the nuances down. Consider a rough interview as a stepping stone towards a great one, and you may find that the experience wasn’t so bad when considering the big picture.
If you are looking for more interview tips or are interested in exploring new employment opportunities, Validity Solutions can help you get to where you want to be. Contact a leading information technology recruiter and see what is available in your area today.