What to do if you mess up during the interview
Let’s face it. Mistakes are part and parcel of our lives. It is inevitable no matter how much we try to make things as perfect as it seems. However, there are certain occasions where you never want to slip or mess up. One such instance would be that job interview for the prestigious job that you are coveting for.
As the stakes are high, perhaps you might find yourself in a scenario whereby you failed to disclose a vital work employment experience with your future employers. Maybe you felt you might have messed it up big time by giving a completely ridiculous answer to a difficult question. Whichever scenario you might find yourself in, it is important that you know the steps to recover so that your reputation remains intact.
Here are 4 steps that you could do as part of your recovery process
1) Don’t think or read too much into things!
The first step is often the most crucial step towards your recovery process. Whether is it acknowledging what you have done wrong or simply reflecting upon how you think you fared, you don’t want to be thinking or reading too much into things. This only helps to prolong your anxiety and causes you to lose confidence in your abilities.
Instead, tell yourself that hindsight is always 20/20. You may think you messed it up but it’s alright, you definitely learnt something there. Most of the time, the interviewer has probably forgotten about your flaws by the time the interview is over. If they are able to overlook such trivial details, why shouldn’t you? Get over it and trust that they will too.
2) Decide whether you need to take corrective measures
Sometimes this can come across as a risky thing to do. This is why it is advisable that you think it through wisely before making a decision on this. Here are a couple of questions that would help you decide on whether you need to take any corrective measures.
i) How significant is your mistake?
People pay attention to significance. This means they want to see or hear something that is worth their time. Thus if people want to hear what you have to say, it has to be something that is concise and not filled with redundant information. For instance, if you forgot to attach one of your tertiary education certificates, it is ok to just let the matter pass unless it is related to the job in which you are applying for.
ii) How am I planning to present my information?
If you plan to share any information that was left out, it is a good thing to note that you might want to keep your information simple and organized. The best thing would be to make things seem as casual as possible if you are attempting to cover up any boo boos with your future employers
If it’s more than one piece of information, try to keep things in a systematic manner. Never share more than what is required; otherwise it may come across like you are trying too hard to impress. The last thing you need is for the interviewer to feel that you are inadequate in sharing your job details with him/her.
3) Prepare a Thank-You note/card
There is a saying by Thomas Fuller that goes “All doors open to courtesy.” This is especially true when it comes to you eagerly wanting a second chance for an interview mistake you made. Even if the interviewers are not prepared to give you another shot, preparing a thank-you card is a simple gesture towards expressing your sincerity and gratitude for the time that they invested in you.
In addition to that, the card can serve as a means of follow up between you and the employer. Most of the time, the employer is probably left with only a vague impression of you after a day or so. By thanking them, you are reminding them of your presence and keep them mindful of you.
Lastly, you can include information that you missed disclosing during the interview in the note. Instead of being upfront over the phone, consider saying things like “I would like to point out as well that I have had exposure in this particular area of my work previously which I believe can benefit your organization.”
4) Learn from your mistakes and move on
As much as mistakes are inevitable in our lives, it is about how we deal with them that makes the valuable difference. You definitely would not want to be caught repeating the same mistakes in your next interview as much as you do not want to be stuck in despair because your self esteem has taken a beating after several interview setbacks.
So the best thing to do is to learn from your mistakes and move on. Practice can ensure that you are well prepared for your next interview. Consider role-playing some mock interview scenarios so that you can be better prepared towards answering some of the interviewer’s questions.
Another tip is to have a mini notepad where you can jot down every single one of your related work experience so that you know by heart with regards to the things you that plan to share during the interview. Again, the key is to be specific regarding the information that you want to share.
We hope these interview recovery tips will help to better prepare you; should you be caught in an interview “disaster” scenario. As the last tip goes, learn from your mistakes and move on. So avoid being disheartened if the last interview doesn’t quite work out as how you hoped it would be. At the end of the day, if the interviewer deems that you have what it takes, then you are still the most suitable candidate for the job.
Paraphrased and rewritten