Interviews are a lot like a first date. You painstakingly pick out the perfect outfit, stealthily lurk through their social media, gush to your friends and family about your new opportunity and eventually you will find yourself sitting across a table trying to impress them.
But like any date, while some interviews offer multitudes of chemistry and flow effortlessly, there are other interviews that (much like your last Bumble experience) are just duds.
Whether you dropped the ball yourself or the company just didn’t seem to get you, there are several ways to handle yourself after a bad interview experience. Here are some tips to help you recover from a bad interview, regardless if the issue was your own fault or the company’s.
My Interviewer Didn’t Like Me
Don’t Overthink It
Okay, so your interviewers exchanged a glance when you didn’t have an immediate example prepared over when you overcame a challenge at work, but did that necessarily mean you bombed?
You would be surprised over how many interviews a company holds before making a decision to bring somebody new on the team, and coming from an individual who has been on both sides of the table, you would also be surprised to see just how many things go over our heads. Don’t overthink it. Something you said that makes you cringe when you think about it might have not even phased your interviewer.
At the end of the day, the first thing to note is unless your interviewer blatantly said they were not interested in moving forward, you still stand a chance.
Find Redemption In Your Response
Maybe in your interview you drew a blank over some industry specific questions, or completely forgot to mention a relevant project you worked on. Take the initiative to stand out in your thank you email. In your email, after thanking your interviewer for their time, add in some extra information or include links to relevant work.
For example, if you drew a blank on a question they asked in the interview, mention that you took some time to think about it and include an in-depth answer explaining your rationale. This will not only provide your interviewer with the answers they need, but will also help you appear responsible, dedicated and driven.
Learn From It
Unfortunately, some relationships just can’t be salvaged, and this rings true with interviews as well. Take this experience and turn it into an opportunity to learn what not to do in future interviews.
Where did you go wrong? Did you not research the company beforehand and freeze when they asked you about their values system? Turn that mistake into a lesson to always research ahead of time. Maybe you let your feelings get the best of you and you bad mouthed your current company a bit too much for their taste. Moving forward make sure to perfect your “why are you leaving?” speech to be a bit more respectful to your past employer.
If the interviewing company blatantly turns you down, don’t be afraid to ask what you could improve for future reference. While there are many times you may not receive a clear answer, some companies might disclose some constructive criticism that will help you grow.
I Didn’t Like My Interviewer
Think About It…
Have you ever been on an absolutely perfect first date, where you had not one reservation, tinge of nervousness, or awkward moment? Probably not.
It’s hard to open up to somebody and show them who you truly are the first time you meet them, and interviews are no different. In reality, working full-time you will likely be spending just as much time with your interviewer and their team as you spend with your significant other, so they are likely feeling just as on edge as you.
Before you give a company the thumbs down, take some time to consider why you didn’t like them. Was it for a rational reason, like you not agreeing with the company’s business structure, or was it for a more personal reason like your interviewer looking a lot like an old coworker you used to hate? Take some time to continue researching the company, speaking to connections and putting together a pros and cons list to help you better determine your decision.
…But Trust Your Gut
If after doing your research and making your list, you still have a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach over the idea of working for this company, listen to your gut. Your intuition is an important instinct that you can not ignore.
If your interviewer or the company makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable (even if it is for no tangible reason at all), then move forward with exploring other opportunities. Don’t feel obligated to accept a job just because it is a job.
You will only do your best work in an environment that makes you feel comfortable and safe, and no position is worth compromising that feeling for.
Reach out Regardless
You would not believe how small this world is, even in the most massive cities people are connected and talking. From LinkedIn to industry specific clubs and organizations, there is always a possibility that your interviewer from company #1 might somehow be connected with a company you have been pining over since the beginning of your career.
Basically what I am trying to say is, regardless of how you feel towards your interviewer or their company, end your relationship on a positive note. Still take the time to send out a thank you email and if you do receive an offer, respectfully decline. No matter how you feel, never fail to kill them with kindness.
Dates can go two ways, you’ll either find yourself somebody dreamy, or find yourself running out the door. Interviews are no different. By approaching your situation with a level head and proper preparation, you can redeem yourself in any situation to say “I do” to your dream job in no time.
Full-time Friends is a career and lifestyle blog catering to women in the workplace. Our purpose is to be unapologetically real. Real women, real stories, real advice.