However you feel about your interview when you walk out, you should be able to take comfort from the fact that nothing went catastrophically wrong compared with the above examples! Still, you may be feeling extremely down about your performance and unable to rest until that long-awaited phone call comes through, especially if you desperately want the job.
Here are some steps to take if your interview doesn’t go to plan:
- Stay positive. Perhaps you’ve given up halfway through the interview because you sense the interviewer isn’t impressed by you. Whatever happens, stay positive, do your best to answer the questions and smile. You don’t know what they’re thinking and you have nothing to lose by giving it your best shot. You may well be able to turn things around right then and there.
- Leave with decorum. Even if you felt like you messed it up, smile as you leave and stand up straight. Be polite to anyone you encounter on the way out, even if you feel like breaking down into floods of tears.
- Take some deep breaths! The interview is over and regardless of how well (or badly) it went, it’s time to relax. Grab a coffee and read a chapter of a good book, or give a friend a call and get any concerns you may have off your chest.
- Set half an hour aside to evaluate. The last thing you’ll feel like doing after a difficult interview is going over it in your mind, but you’ll be doing it anyway, so you may as well be constructive. Think about the things that went well and commend yourself for these. Think about what didn’t go so well and ask yourself why. Did you slip up on a particular question, or was the whole thing a complete disaster? The latter is unlikely, so get to the crux of the problem. Identify the key issues and list them. What could you have done better?
- Make amends where appropriate. Perhaps you called the interviewer the wrong name or drew a complete blank on one of the questions. If you think it might help, drop the interviewer a brief email thanking them for the opportunity and explaining whatever it is you messed up on or could have done better. The chances are, the interviewer won’t be as critical as you are of yourself, so this probably isn’t necessary in most instances.
- Put it out of your mind. This is easier said than done, but all you can do at this point is wait. And wait. And wait. Try to keep yourself busy with other things so you don’t get too hung up on the outcome. Pray about your future and give your concerns to God.
- Be gracious. If you’re offered the job, make sure any grey areas are cleared up, for example hours of work, salary or bonuses. Thank the hiring manager and accept if the terms are favourable. If you aren’t offered the job, be courteous anyway. It’s quite acceptable – and useful – to ask for feedback, but don’t burn your bridges by being rude or ungracious.
- Stay in touch. It may be worth asking for your CV to be kept on file, or emailing the interviewer thanking them for the opportunity and wishing them all the best with the successful candidate. Small touches like this could keep you in their minds should a more suitable role crop up. After a suitable interval, it may be worth getting in touch again and reminding them you’re still interested. It won’t do any harm to connect with key personnel on LinkedIn and Twitter so they remember who you are.
- Learn from your mistakes. Just because that particular interview didn’t go to plan, it doesn’t mean you won’t be successful on another occasion. Get some practice in the areas where you could have done better so you’re more confident the next time round.
- Apply for other jobs. Don’t give up hope. The right job is out there and it’s time to get back on the horse! Look at this interview as a one-off blip and move on.