6 Ways to Survive a Bad Job Interview!

September 23rd, 2013 | Articles, Interviewing | No Comments »


Not every job interview is a grand slam. At the end of some interviews, you might feel that the most prudent way to have spent your day would have been to sleep for another five hours or just vegetate in the warm glow of your favorite television series. In spite of some of the initial negative feelings, the experience wasn’t in vain though. Instead, if you can follow these rules, you can make a bad interview worthwhile and coming out the other side with new knowledge.

1.) Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Self-abuse gets you nowhere. If you walk out of the interview feeling disappointed, that’s one thing but if you start to lambaste yourself the moment your conversation with the hiring manager ends, you’re missing the whole point. Your mistakes don’t define who you are. The only difference between successful and unsuccessful people is that the successful ones try to understand their mistakes with an objective perspective; there’s no growth if you just wallow in your failings and throw in the towel.

2.) Identify What You Did Wrong

Should you have researched more about the position? Did you crumble under pressure? Were you underdressed for the job interview? Go through every aspect of the whole process and objectively dissect the ways you could have done better. Write them down so you can create a road map for improving your interview skills in the future: quantifying your mistakes can help you avoid making them again.

3.) Acknowledge What You Did Right

On the flip side, give yourself credit for what you actually did right. It’s almost impossible for you to have done everything wrong during an interview. Start simple (did you show up on time or have your resume ready and printed out?) and build from there. You’ll find out that you may not have failed as badly as you originally believed. Plus, it’s reassuring to know that you don’t have to learn everything from scratch.

4.) Send a Thank You Letter

Even if you feel there is no chance you’ll get the job, send a thank you letter. An honest and grateful letter shows you are conscientious in a way that can help you recover some lost ground. That way, if you find another position with the company in the future, you have a better chance of earning a second shot. Apologize for any mistakes in the job interview without apologizing for the interview itself. Instead, try to elaborate, explain what you intended to say, and be thankful for the opportunity presented to you.

5.) Follow Up

Just because you don’t believe the interview went well doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow up. The hiring manager might have seen potential in you despite any interview hiccups. Additionally, you don’t know how the other candidates performed; your interview may be the standout among a long and sad string of interview gaffes. So, send the hiring manager an email or give a call to show you’re still interested in the position. It could pay off in unexpected ways.

6.) Get Back in the Game

Don’t follow the temptation to sit on the bench for a few innings. Get back to applying and lining up new interviews immediately. Put the lessons you’ve learned into practice as soon as you can. That way, the sting of your mistakes are still fresh and your inclination to avoid them will be even greater.

And who knows, that next interview of yours may be the one you’re glad you attended.

by James Walsh

[Photo Credit]