How to recover from a downhill job interview
One of the worst feelings you could have is walking out of an important job interview with the sense that things didn’t go quite according to plan. You may not have anticipated certain questions, or perhaps you may have felt that you never connected well with your interviewer. Each job interview is a learning experience, a building block on which to create a solid foundation for another job interview. If you feel as if the interview started going downhill quickly, keep in mind that it may have been designed to do that and that you may have fared better than you thought. Here are a few tips on how to recover from an uncomfortable interview and how to prepare for the next one.
All Is Not Lost
First and foremost, every job interview is a learning experience, including the ones that didn’t go according to plan. You can use the experience to boost your interviewing skills by taking a step back and critically analyzing the events that transpired. Keep a positive mindset, as everything happens for a reason. New opportunities are waiting for you, something even better than you anticipated. Since job seekers tend to go long periods of time in between interviews, think of your last interview as a stepping stone to something greater.
In today’s world, job seekers have access to incredible amounts of information. A great first step to take is to research the company you have your next interview with and find out how they operate. Do they work locally, nationally or globally? If you have been given the name of the interviewer, check if they have a LinkedIn profile to see how they describe the work they perform. Knowing as much as you can before your next interview will make you feel confident and knowledgeable.
Be Tough on Yourself
This doesn’t mean you should beat yourself up over a poor performance. Instead, try to think of weaknesses that an interviewer might ask you about. It’s very easy to highlight your accomplishments, but job seekers are often put into an awkward position when they are asked about their weaknesses. By thinking of two or three things that you could personally improve on, you will be prepared to answer these difficult questions. This will allow the interviewer to see that you are introspective – a highly desirable quality of any good candidate.
Read the Tea Leaves
Your interviewer might have a certain kind of energy. Were they rapid-fire and straight to the point? Or were they more relaxed and casual? Being able to match the style of your next interviewer is a great way to make an instant connection. Establishing rapport early in the interview goes a long way making you an attractive candidate. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about them or the job itself.
Expect the Unexpected
If you came out of your last interview with the expectation that it would have been conducted in a certain way, you unknowingly put yourself at a disadvantage. The best mindset to have on your next interview is to understand that anything could happen. Let’s suppose you have an interview scheduled with someone, but when you arrive you are greeted by multiple people that will take turns asking questions. If you weren’t expecting this, you may have gotten nervous. Try to think of unusual scenarios so that you won’t be surprised if you encounter them.
It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to every question. Ask the interview to repeat something you didn’t understand, or that you need more time to think of the answer. They’ll appreciate the honesty.
No one expects interviews to be easy. If you feel the interview went poorly, take comfort in the fact that the job or the people working there may not have been the best fit for you. Somewhere, someone is looking for the exact talents that you possess. If you follow these tips, you will be able to quickly dust yourself off and be prepared for the next challenge that awaits. Interviewing is a seldom practiced skill, so think of each interview as an invaluable learning experience, no matter what the outcome!