8 tips for getting over every job seeker’s worst nightmare.
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It’s every job seeker’s worst nightmare.
You’re in an interview for a job you really want and it all starts going wrong.
Whether it’s your phone ringing or you giving the longest, most irrelevant answer to an interview question ever, once things start going wrong it feels like there’s no way back.
But there is.
It is possible to get things back on track and limit the damage during the actual interview. There are also some follow-up steps you can take after the event to rectify the situation and to move on with your job search regardless of what the outcome of the bad interview is.
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Even if you’re convinced you’ve made a massive mistake in the middle of your interview, keep calm and carry on. The interviewers may not have even noticed, or if they have, they may be willing to allow it depending on how the rest of the interview goes.
Control your emotions
Even if you feel like bursting into tears because the interview is going so badly, keep yourself in check. Keep things in perspective—it’s only one job interview, not a fight to the death. If you really are emotional, excuse yourself to the bathroom so you can take a moment.
Avoid dwelling on your mistake
Yes, you made a mistake, but if you keep thinking about it for the rest of the interview, you’ll be distracted and that will make matters worse. Put the mistake out of your head by listening carefully to what the interviewers are saying. This will help you remain in the moment instead of thinking about what just happened.
Don’t try too hard
If you overcompensate your error by trying too hard, you’ll tighten up and will probably go on to make more mistakes. Instead, focus on executing your original game plan for the interview and try to keep your breathing even.
Do NOT vent online
You may think there’s no way in a thousand years that interview landed you the job, but that’s still not an excuse to jump on Facebook and rant about the experience. Firstly, you never know- the interviewers may still be considering you and therefore may be monitoring your social media presence to see if you’re professional online. Secondly, other employers you’ve applied to may also be checking your online profiles.
Send a ‘thank you’ note
No matter how embarrassed you are after the bad interview, take the time to at least email a ‘thank you’ note to the interviewers. It can’t logically make matters worse and is a simple sign of acknowledgement and politeness or at worst, just think of sending a ‘thank you’ note as an act of closure.
Get in touch with new thoughts
The last thing you may want to do after a disastrous interview is to email the interviewers with new thoughts or ideas about the interview topics. However, by emailing them with things that occurred to you after the event, you may be able to salvage the situation. In the clear light of day, your thoughts will be more lucid and can give the interviewers a more accurate idea of who you really are.
Focus on the other job applications you’ve made and how you’re going to improve upon your interview technique. If learning from your interview mistakes helps you to ace the next interview you get, the bad interview will have been worth something.Free Bonus
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Nisa Chitakasem is the founder of Position Ignition – a careers company dedicated to taking you to the next step in your career. For free advice, guidance and information on careers visit the Position Ignition Career Blog or find Nisa on Twitter @PosIgnition or Facebook. And for tips specifically on job interviews, see Position Ignition’s eBooks Getting Started with Interviews and How to Ace the Interview.
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Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.