Everyone has experienced it, if you haven’t yet, you will. You leave a job interview and you feel like you’ve completely bombed it. The next few hours or days are spent beating yourself up and abandoning that opportunity. If your talents are extremely valuable to the organization and they really want you, the employer might overlook small mistakes. However, if they’re on the fence about you, or you aren’t in the strongest position compared to other candidates, the mistakes might not be fixable. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try:
1. Reflect on the experience
First, figure out what went well. It allows you to look at the negative aspects with a less defeated attitude. If you have a bad feeling about the way things panned out, identify exactly what went wrong.
2. Learn from it.
Wallowing in self-pity is everything but productive. Make a list of the mistakes you made during the interview, learn from them, and do better next time.
3. Learn to forgive yourself.
It’s normal to feel uneasy after something doesn’t go as well as you hoped, but don’t let it discourage you from reaching out to the employer to make things better. Accept your mistakes and move forward.
4. Explain what went wrong in a follow-up thank you note.
Don’t make excuses, but do acknowledge your blunders. For instance, if you believe your responses were off target, explain in your letter admitting to misunderstanding the questions. Make sure you only draw attention to the mistakes your 100% certain the employer caught, you don’t want to bring attention to anything that might have been missed.
5. Use the thank you not to add anything you might have forgotten to mention.
The thank you note is another great opportunity to highlight anything you may have left out. Certain work experience, education, or a connection to the organization can be highlighted here along with other strong points that went well during the interview.
6. Inform the employer of any outside distractions.
If you were in the midst of a serious life event and you feel like it effected your interview performance, it’s okay to call or email the employer afterward to explain. They may take this into consideration when they assess the interview.
7. Never apologize for a bad interview–but do say sorry for specific slip-ups.
Keep in mind that you don’t know what the employer is thinking. Maybe the interview wasn’t as bad as you think. However, circumstances such as calling the interviewer by the wrong name, but you didn’t realize it till later, might warrant an apology in your e-mail.