Bad Job Interview: How To Bounce Back!

Girl is feeling down after a bad job interview

Have you ever had a bad job interview? You know the one where you feel like you completely dropped the ball? Yeah, that one. Feeling down after a bad interview is part of the game and is bound to happen to you at some point or another. In this short read, we’re going to dive into tips on how to bounce back from a bad job interview.

Reflect

One of the best things you can do after a bad interview is grab a notepad or even a Word doc and write down what YOU believe went well and what didn’t. What were the highs and what were the lows of the interview? Do you see scope for improvement for your next interview? Think about it this way, if you could repeat this same interview, what would you do differently? Be self-critical here, after all, you are trying to improve your chances of getting a new position.

Learn

As mentioned above, there will be times that you feel depressed after having a bad interview. The best thing you can do here is Learn from this shortcoming. Learn about how and what you will do differently next time to increase your chances of success. These two points, reflect and learn, go hand in hand. Once again, be self-critical and try to find areas for improvement. Keep in mind that interviewing is hard, and it is a practiced skill; one that most don’t take time to hone. To interview well takes time, dedication, and persistence. Rule of thumb – each and every interview you go into should be better than the last one!

It happens – Time to bounce back

You will bomb certain interviews. It happens to the very best, even the practiced interviewers. It could be from an off-day, lack of affinity and connection with the interviewer, lack of proper preparation for that particular interview, or a completely unexpected curve ball in the interview. It happens and it is common to feel bad about an interview that goes this way. But, no time to dwell on this shortcoming. Reflect and learn from it so that in your next interview you will come out stronger and more prepared.

Possible follow-up email

Although this is not a typical approach I’d take, it may work in some circumstances. Let me explain. Sometimes you have an off-day. You might be under the weather, possibly lost a loved one, or some other unforeseen circumstance happened that affected your interview performance. If this happened, consider dropping the interviewer a short email explaining the case. Make sure after a BRIEF explanation you also reiterate your strong interest in the company and job. If you really feel like you are a strong candidate for the position and you have what it takes, try your luck with a short email. Why not? You already believe you have the NO, so it doesn’t hurt to show your interest, explain the circumstance, and request another short interview at the company’s convenience.

Forgot to mention something – Send a post-interview thank you with the information

Have you ever had an interview and afterward you think, “Why didn’t I say this or that?” Or maybe the interviewer asked you a specific question and you feel like you delivered a sub-par answer. No worries here; drop the interviewer a short email. First, take the opening line to thank him or her for their time. Next dive into the details and explain the part you deem important that was left out earlier. Once again, only send this if you feel like it will really help your case.

I recall interviewing for an EdTech startup and they asked me a question that literally came out of left field; i.e. I was not expecting it and was not 100% prepared to answer it. Although this had not been a bad job interview per se, I felt like my answer did not hit home and was less than adequate. So, I wrote the HR Director that interviewed me. Turns out I got called in for the next interview. Moral of the story, sometimes even after a bad or not so good interview, you can spin things in your favor.

Sometimes you nail it but don’t get the job

Sometimes you didn’t have a bad job interview, in fact, you nailed it. You feel like you absolutely did your very best, answered every question to the letter, and deserve the position, only to find out that you weren’t selected. At this point you are probably feeling down about this interview and it is totally understandable. There are many explanations for this: perhaps your competition was just slightly better than you, or maybe HR was looking for a different skill in your background; or maybe there are just politics at the company, and this position is going to be frozen. You never know. Take it as a learning experience and move on. There is something better out there for you.

Low and behold, you got the job even after a bad interview – HOW?

Yes, this does happen – you get the job after a bad interview. Sometimes, even after an interview that you didn’t feel strongly about, you might have been better than your competition. Maybe the pool of candidates was small to begin with, or maybe you had some skill that was essential for the company. You never know. You can never 100% count yourself out of an interview process until you hear back from them. Sometimes you’ll be surprised!

The luck factor

Despite not believing much in luck, I say it does play a part in the interview process. There will be circumstances where you are in the right place at the right time. You submitted your resume that fit just perfectly with an open position. It could also be that there was a great connection with the interviewer, and he pushed your interview process ahead. On the flipside, sometimes you are not chosen for a position and you cannot imagine why. The only thing left to say after reflecting and trying to learn from it is, the position wasn’t right for you.

Wrap up

Having a bad job interview happens. The most important thing is, what are you going to do about it? Take the opportunity to learn from your shortfalls. Reflect on it, stay persistent, stay hungry, and keep at it. With every interview you have, you get better and better at the skill of interviewing.

Have you had a bad job interview in the past? How did you bounce back from it and what did you learn? Share with the community so we can learn from your experience.

For more tips on job-hunting and interview tips, check out the CareerPrep Youtube Channel and the CareerPrep blog.

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