How to get over a bad interview is a question that candidates often dwell on. If you’ve landed on this article, you’ve likely just had a terrible job interview, and you’re feeling pretty low. We understand how badly this feeling sucks; we’ve all been there. While it may seem nigh impossible, now is the perfect time to pick yourself up and find some positivity.
Of course, you can’t change the outcome of a bad experience you’ve already had, but you can take action that will have a positive impact on your future. This article explains how to get over a dreadful experience and give yourself the best chance of getting a job offer next time.
Firstly, keep in mind, we are all guilty of this: The moment we shake the interview panels’ hands and bid them goodbye, we start picking the experience to pieces and overanalysing the entire conversation. We chastise ourselves for minor mistakes and beat ourselves up for those things we forgot to mention. Or maybe we leave the room hopeful after spotting signs we might get the job, but once self-doubt sets in our hopes begin to fade.
So if this is what you’re going through, you’re not alone. However, it’s not healthy to over analyse every single detail. There are more helpful ways to get through this situation to give you a greater chance of success next time. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
Questions to Ask Yourself That Will Help You Get Over a Bad Interview
Was it really that bad?
Whether an interview goes well or poorly, it’s good practice to reflect on the experience while it’s fresh in your mind. That’s why, if you apply for jobs through a recruitment consultant, they will almost always follow up with a telephone call the moment you get out of the room.
Consider what you would do differently next time. No matter how well you think you prepare, there will always be room for improvement. That’s why it’s good to keep an interview journal and make some notes while the experience is fresh in your mind. This way, whether your next round is in two weeks or two years, your notes will come in handy.
Reflecting on your interview experience can help you get to know yourself better and encourage you to make positive changes. However, obsessing over all the mistakes you made is not good for your mental health. Understanding the difference between the two and learning to control your emotional responses to the situation is the key to improving emotional intelligence. Having a high EQ or emotional quotient, as it is also called can dramatically improve your future career prospects.
Is there anything you can fix?
Job interviews are nerve-wracking scenarios. If we’re honest about it, most of us will probably admit tripping over our words or saying something we didn’t mean. However, these are little things that if the interviewers noticed, they would probably forgive if they like you.
The thing to do when pondering how to get over a bad interview is to identify your most significant blunder. You may feel like you made loads, in which case write everything down and focus on the most major. As an example, let’s say you completely disregarded one of the interview questions and rambled on about something totally irrelevant. Ask yourself; what can I do to fix this?
If you feel that you’re the right candidate for the job but there’s just one thing you’re worried about, do you think speaking to the interviewer about it might improve your chances of receiving an offer?
Or was the whole interview a mess from start to finish? Were you late and, as a result, found yourself speaking to the receptionist in an abrupt tone? Maybe you then sweated profusely throughout the interview and irritably answered questions?
If a whole string of events went wrong and it was your first encounter with this company, it’s unlikely that anything you say or do will change their opinion of you. However, if this is the second time you’ve met this employer, you feel your experience with them so far has been positive, and there is one thing you would like to put right, there might be something you can do.
What action can you take?
Once you’ve identified one glaring blunder you would like to address, there are a couple of things you can do. If you applied for the job via a recruitment agency, your consultant should be your first port of call. Explain the situation to them as honestly and in as much detail as you can, and they will advise you on the best course of action.
If you submitted a direct application to the company, write a brief thank-you note which addresses the error concisely. Before you do this, be sure the interviewer was aware of the mistake. Otherwise, you could be drawing their attention to something they might not have noticed.
Maybe you did nothing wrong but instead regret not mentioning something you feel may increase your chances of getting an offer? This is definitely something to bring up in a thank you note or discuss with your recruitment consultant.
How can you learn from this experience?
You can achieve success at job interviews after experiencing failure. The important thing is that you make an effort to learn from your mistakes.
If you haven’t already, list the mistakes you made, and analyse them honestly. If you made any minor errors but feel you are a good match for the job, give yourself a break and cross them off. The hiring manager will most likely put minor mishaps down to interview nervousness if your skills and experience are a good fit.
For any remaining items, determine if there’s anything you can learn from it to help improve your future performance. For example:
- Did you prepare enough beforehand? If not, make a point to do more research next time.
- Did you fail to give examples to any competency questions the panel asked? If so, review your cv and work out what examples you might give if those questions came up again in future.
- Were you late? This is easy to resolve by setting off an hour earlier for your next interview. You can always take a book with you to read in the car if you’re too early.
- How did you come across; were you nervous, or did you fidget? Remember, preparation is the key to beating pre-interview nerves.
- Did you actively listen, or did you find yourself distracted? It’s a well-known fact that our attention spans are getting shorter, but practising meditation can help.
What if you can’t put your finger on anything in particular?
Sometimes when considering how to get over a bad interview, you can’t think of anything specific that went wrong. You might just generally feel that your interview skills are not up to scratch. If that’s the case, at least now you know what to expect next time, so you know what to prepare.
If you generally need to brush up on your interview skills, how about asking a friend or family member if they can help you practice? Alternatively, if you feel silly doing this, it might be a good idea to enlist the help of a recruitment consultant.
Many people don’t understand what to expect from a recruitment agency and will therefore avoid working with them. While they may not provide intensive career coaching, a reputable recruitment agency will give career advice in relation to the role you’re applying for.
What’s more, their knowledge of the industry can take the pain out of your job search by only submitting your CV to relevant jobs. If you’re honest about your lack of interview experience, a recruitment consultant should give you example questions to practice answering.
A Few Final Thoughts on Recovering From a Bad Interview Experience
The important thing after a bad interview is not to over analyse the experience to the point that it drives you insane! Following the above steps can help you get over a bad interview experience and increase your chances of success next time.
We have encountered many interview blunders. The way we handle them is to ask our candidates to explain in an email to us, as honestly and concisely as they can;
- What went wrong?
- What they would say or do differently if they had another chance.
We then forward this to our client to this is an honest account from the candidate, not us. In cases where our clients are on the fence in making a decision, sometimes it helps an employer give the candidate the benefit of the doubt. But while there are no guarantees of winning an employer over, it’s sometimes worth a shot.
It’s worth keeping in mind that we’re experiencing a global tech skills shortage at present. Therefore, employers can’t afford to be too dismissive when candidates make mistakes. However, if you feel there’s absolutely no chance of recovery, the important thing is to learn from your experience and not give up on your job search!
We hope you found this article useful. If you did, please feel free to share it on social media. You never know, it might help others recover from their lousy interview experience, which they will be sure to thank you for!