So you don’t feel great about an interview you just had—now what? No matter how much you prepare, some interviews simply go terribly, so it’s up to you to choose how to react, and which next steps to take. These pointers can help guide you through any post-bad interview slump.
Before rushing to any action, take some time to reflect on—but not obsess over—what actually went wrong in the interview. It’s important to cool down from any frustrations or anger you felt immediately after the interview and avoid over-analyzing the minutiae of each answer.
For more minor mistakes—such as being too vague about your weaknesses or forgetting to mention a volunteer experience on your CV—there’s no point in stressing over it, nor does it make sense to bring this up to your interviewer after the fact.
If, however, you made a mistake that might seriously impact the interviewer’s decision, such as failing to mention your only relevant work experience to the role you’re interviewing for, it’s worth at least considering a shot at damage control. In short, if you think it’s a mistake that would likely turn a ‘yes’ to a ‘no’, you’ve got nothing to lose by trying to patch things up.
The easiest way to bring up additional information is generally in your thank you note after the interview, which interviewers will already expect—so adding in a few additional sentences wouldn’t be odd.
First, figure out exactly what you want the interviewer to take away from your note, then find a concise way to write it. Try to avoid making it sound like an apology: You’re simply adding new information to what was discussed during the interview, not admitting to a mistake.
If, in the worst case scenario, you had an incredibly off day (perhaps you were ill), it might be worth asking for a second chance entirely. The worst that can happen is that you’re denied the opportunity—but if you already think you bombed the interview, there’s no harm in asking, particularly if you really want the job. Don’t make a habit of this, and make sure your second interview is miles better.
Perhaps most importantly, a bad interview is a good learning experience, as each mistake can help to better-prepare you for future interviews. The following tips can help you to use your mistakes as learning material for future interviews.
Regardless of how bad you feel after a poor interview, it’s important to remember that it will never be your last chance—whether you ask the same employer for another shot, or use your blunders to fine-tune your skills for the future.