When Your Interview Goes Badly

February 27, 2013  |  
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Interviewing isn’t easy and even your best efforts to prepare can leave you feeling less than confident when you leave the room. Here are some bad circumstances that you can recover from to make a great impact on your interview.

Situation 1:
The interviewer is not interested in what you are saying. The signs are obvious: laid back, doesn’t smile while speaking, keeps looking at his watch when he thinks you’re not looking, barely looks at you, appears bored, looks around and has a disappointed facial expression.

This isn’t the time to continue talking or hope that the interview ends soon. It’s time to start working on bringing the interviewer back to the interview. Take a moment and ask questions such as: How long have you worked for the company? What do you like about working here? People enjoy talking about themselves and this makes the room less tense. Listen to what they’re saying because it can lead to great follow-up questions and help you to better understand the company.


Situation 2:
You are visibly nervous. Without nerves we aren’t human beings. But how can we control the nerves during an interview—especially with the sweaty palms and your throat becoming hoarse?

You arrive for the interview and the first person you see is the receptionist. You are provably feeling a little anxious so to help control your nerves start a conversation with the receptionist. You’ll find that you are beginning to relax and feel more at ease. Also, don’t forget to smile and take lots of deep breaths. If the receptionist is occupied, take this time to review your notes—make sure you are well prepared.


Situation 3:
The interviewer asks difficult questions and enjoys putting you on the spot. The person doesn’t look friendly, affecting your confidence and causing you to give a terrible answer.

If you felt you gave a wrong answer, try to take a deep breath and rephrase your answer. You can even say, “Can I repeat that in a different way?” Use that time to remain cool and confident and give a winning answer. Remember, it’s about how you recover which will make more of an impact that how you messed up.


Situation 4:
The interviewer mentions that there are a lot of other good candidates—and may even say that there is a long line for the job.

During the interview, one may ask the interviewer if they see them as a future employee at the company. If the interviewer mentions that you are a good candidate but there are others more qualified, this is when you switch into high gear. If there are certain skills that you are lacking, explain to the interviewer that you would like to elaborate more on your areas of expertise. Maybe you didn’t highlight them enough or at all during the interview and now is the time to make it count! Explain why you will fit well in the company. If you are under qualified, ask the interviewer if there are any other positions that better suit your qualifications.

If you were unable to save the interview at all there is still hope! The first thing to do is analyze what went wrong. Write a thank you note (or recovery letter). This is your chance to set the record straight and take back the initiative. Put together a hard-hitting letter using 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 that you could possibly be a good fit.

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