Had A Bad Interview?

By Siew Ching

Here’s how to bounce back.

You’ve been wanting to get a job interview at this particular company and you finally do! You prepare for it, memorise what you want to say, and make sure your CV is all in order.

Come interview day and you think you’ve got this. But 30 minutes later when you walk out of the interview room, you wonder to yourself – what just happened?

First of all – breathe. Bad interviews happen to the best of us, even when you are prepared and was certain you’d ace it. Blame it on the chemistry between you and the interviewer, or maybe something else threw you off mark like an accident that happened before your interview. It could also just be a case of nerves getting to the best of you. Whatever the reason for your bad interview, here’s the thing – you can bounce back from it and ace your other interview. There’s really no need to wallow in pity and over analyse where you went wrong with the interview. God forbid you reach out to the interviewer and try to explain your situation to see if you can get a second chance! What’s done is done and what’s past is past.

I remember an interview I went for with a newspaper. I was excited because I’ve always wanted to be a news journalist but when I was in the interview room, I knew that would not be the case. The person who interviewed me though wasn’t quite impressed by me. Maybe I wasn’t the right fit but throughout the entire interview, he belittled my experience and was upfront about how I didn’t have the right skills. Needless to say, I bombed that interview and knew even before it was over, it wasn’t meant to be.

Sounds like something you experienced or worry it might also happen to you? If you are a high achiever, having a bad interview might be something you’d find hard to bounce back from. After all, your ego’s bruised and your pride is beaten.

What do you do? Let’s get started.

#1 Let the disappointment pass
No point trying to get over the disappointment ASAP. It is better for your mental wellbeing to feel these negative feelings and acknowledge them instead of brushing them off! Lean into the bad experience and feel the embarrassment of having bombed an interview. Think back what could have gone wrong but don’t over analyse! Just accept the fact that you didn’t do as well as you thought you would for a day or two… then move on.

#2 Still send that thank-you note
Even if you know you have zero to slim chances of getting the job, it’s still polite and professional to send a thank-you note to the interviewer. Maybe you can also take this opportunity to re-answer a question, or at the very least express your appreciation for the time and effort spent during the interview. If anything, at least you’d be remembered as a polite but unfortunately not the right candidate instead of the rude one.

#3 Reflect on what went wrong
Done with feeling dejected? It’s time to think about what went wrong during the interview. First, ask yourself what went well and then what went wrong. It’s important to know that despite the bad outcome there were still some good moments that you can take into your next interview. Identify exactly what went wrong and think of how you can avoid that in the future.

#4 Learn from it
Done reflecting? Now think of what you should do instead with the things you did wrong. Were you nervous and it showed during the interview? Pick up tips on how to calm your nerves before and during the big days. Wasn’t prepared with the right answers? Think of how else you could answer these tricky interview questions better and remember them for the future!

#5 Move on
Finally, focus on your job search and the next interview. Perhaps with this experience you’ll be better prepared. Plus, being asked to attend another interview will give you something else exciting to look forward to so you stop dwelling on the bad interview. Also, the more you practise the better! Use these interview experiences as a stepping stone to the job you really, really want and by then you’d be a pro!

Photo by airfocus on Unsplash.

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