What to Do If Your Interview Goes Badly

Job interviews, no matter how many you attend, can be a nerve-wracking experience even for the most confident individuals. Our worries can often get the better of us in situations like these, and this can often come across in the form of awkward body language, stuttering through our answers, or the dreaded mind blank when asked a relatively simple question.

If this happens, it’s easy to come out of the interview feeling defeated. However, it’s important to remember that it happens to everyone at some point, and you’ve probably not messed up half as bad as you think you have. If you’ve taken an hour or two to reflect on the interview and still feel like you’ve blown it, consider taking the following steps.

Don’t Overthink It

Of course, we all mentally go through every detail of an interview afterwards, whether it went good or bad. Most of the time, the things we’ll be overanalysing post-interview will be things the interviewer didn’t even notice. But particularly after a bad interview, the little mistakes we feel like we’ve made can easily play over in our heads until we’re convinced they’ll have completely ruined our chances at the job. Don’t allow yourself to be bogged down by things you can’t change.

Plan of Action

This is when you must decide if your blunders were serious enough to take further action. You should be sending a follow up email to your interviewer regardless, but the question now is should you mention it. Your initial reaction might be to do some damage control, but think about it carefully as this can be risky. If you had a little slip up like stuttering over an answer, is there much point bringing it up again? Probably not.  On the other hand, if it’s something that definitely wouldn’t have gone unnoticed, then perhaps its worth addressing.

Tackle It Gracefully

If you decide the negatives of the interview are worth addressing in your follow up email, think carefully before you send. Although you want to make the interviewer aware that you weren’t at your best, you also don’t necessarily want to draw attention directly to your blunders. Don’t directly apologise for anything specific (unless it was outrageously noticeable), but instead add some information or experience that you maybe forgot to mention in your interview. Follow up notes should be short, so you don’t want to waste your words on anything negative. If things were really bad in your interview, perhaps vaguely explain why. Think along the lines of ‘Sorry if I didn’t sell myself as well as I could have, I’ve been feeling poorly these last few days’.

Learn from Your Mistakes

Nerves are always present at a job interview, but if you let them get the best of you they soon take over the conversation. If the interview does go badly, try to pinpoint what went wrong and learn from it. Think about the steps outlined above and try and prepare for any subsequent interviews with the hope of not having to repeat them. Remember – things don’t have to go perfectly and when you think you’ve messed it up, chances are things weren’t half as bad as you think. Trust us!


For advice in your job search, contact Stafffinders. We cover a wide range of sectors with permanent, temporary, full time and part time opportunities available.