How to Fix a Bad Interview (Yes, even that bad...)

So, you blew the interview. There are a few ways to fix it.

You blew the interview. It happens. Overslept? Made an accidentally offensive statement? Hungover and your mind is completely blank? Most everyone has blown an interview, chalked it up as a mistake and moved forward, washing their hands of it. That is the real mistake.

I’ve hired people who have no-showed, flubbed any and all questions, who asked when I was ‘due’.... and not just because I believe in second chances, but because amends were made.

So, you blew it. Before giving up, try one of these ways to fix it:

  1. Apologize. Immediately. Missed the bus and were 25 minutes late? Apologize profusely and offer to come back at another time - knowing their time is short. If you are well qualified for the position, you still have a decent chance. Did you say something you knew was wrong the second it came out of your mouth? Apologize quickly, sincerely, and move on. Don’t harp on it. Did you realize you kept calling Margaret by “Peggy”? Apologize. Admit to being nervous, make it clear you KNOW her name is Margaret, and move on.

  2. Send a note. A physical card is great but can take time - an email is fast, efficient and lets me know you’re not sitting on your mistake. Apologize for whatever infraction you committed and offer to interview again, at ANY time the manager is available. Also, acknowledge that they may not want to take the time to do that. Be available, but understanding  and conscious of their time commitments. And then dash off that physical Thank You note.

  3. Acknowledge that you blew it, and ask for feedback. A quick email asking “Other than the unfortunate incident, was there any other feedback you can offer me?” Whatever the response, the opportunity is yours to use. If the response is “Nope, you seemed great until you burped in my face.” Then take the chance to remind her why, stomach gasses aside, you are highly qualified. A simple “I am so sorry about that, it was incredibly embarrassing, especially since I never got to tell you about my solution to your marketing problem.” And then tell her exactly how you’d solve that major problem if you had a chance to be hired.

  4. Ask to keep in touch. Send a note along the lines of “I know I accidentally put my giant   foot in my mouth, but I would still love a chance to work with you in the future. Would you be open to keeping in touch for future opportunities?” If they say no, thank them for the time they did give you. If yes, send relevant news articles or social posts occasionally. Their view of your egregious error will most likely dim, and if you are qualified for a position they have in the future, you are already a contact.

It all comes down to: if you give up, you lose. If you give it just one more shot, you’ve got a chance. You wouldn’t have been called in for an interview if you weren’t qualified. They want to hire you. Let them know that if given the chance, you can be a star employee.

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