So, you bombed the interview. These things happen.
The question now is: what will you do to learn from the experience and make sure it never happens again? Here are a few helpful do’s and don’ts to ease the struggle.
DON’T: Be Overly Critical
As a career coach, I’ve seen too many people who are convinced that they’ve bombed the interview, only to be contacted for another meeting or eventually offered the job. It’s easy to look at your own performance and see only the negative. After all, you have high expectations for yourself—and you should. But keep in mind that interviewers understand you’re nervous and that the pressure of a job interview is intense, even under the best of circumstances.
DON’T: Ask for a Re-Do
It can be tempting to make excuses for a bad interview. You may even have a burning desire to reach out and ask for another opportunity to win them over. Don’t give in to such ideas. First, you have no idea what the interviewers are thinking. Perhaps you won them over already and your self-doubt will appear unjustified.
If you’ve already lost the position, nothing you do or say now will repair the situation. What’s done is done.
DO: Evaluate the Cause
While avoiding an overly self-critical perspective, try to view the situation with honesty. What really happened? Was there a point when you lost confidence? Was there a specific skill you were lacking? Did you stumble in answering a key question? Identify the critical areas making you uneasy and pinpoint what exactly made your performance lackluster. Perhaps you were ill-prepared. Maybe you forgot to eat breakfast. Or maybe you didn’t understand the role as well as you thought.
DO: Make Improvements
Whatever the cause, you always have the power to improve and do things differently next time. That might mean practicing your accomplishment stories with a trusted friend. It might mean finding ways to overcome potential skill gaps or doing more research ahead of time. Or it could mean simply getting a better night’s sleep and having a hearty breakfast before your next interview. Take responsibility for the situation and don’t be a victim.
Job searching is hard on the ego. Rejection can really take a toll. But don’t allow one bad experience (or even a few) to create an extended setback. Keep moving forward and see it as a valuable lesson.
Likewise, you should never put all of your job-search “eggs” in one basket. Never get your hopes up, even when you appear to be perfect for the job on paper and even when you believe you nailed the interview. You just never know what the company is really looking for. All you can do is give it your best and keep moving forward.