Bouncing Back: Turning a Job Interview Oops into Your Next Big Win

Bouncing Back: Turning a Job Interview Oops into Your Next Big Win was originally published on Ivy Exec.

Job interviews can sometimes take an unexpected turn, leaving you with a less-than-ideal experience. It might be due to a job posting that didn’t quite align with the actual requirements or a lack of thorough preparation, resulting in responses that don’t resonate with the interviewer.

Take, for instance, a Reddit user’s story where punctuality was misconstrued. Despite arriving five minutes early, the interviewer questioned the tardiness, creating an awkward start. Such instances can leave you disheartened, especially when you were genuinely enthusiastic about the opportunity.

Negative interview encounters, stemming from either unpreparedness or a mismatch with the interviewer, can be dispiriting. A failed interview may seem like a setback, particularly if you had high hopes for the position. However, reframing the situation can reveal valuable insights.

Rather than viewing it as a total loss, consider the experience as an opportunity for growth and learning.


🔴 Don’t Stop Your Job Search

When you have an interview for a job you want, it can be tempting to put your search on hold and throw all your energy into interviewing for your dream position. But this is a mistake. You should never stop your job search when you make it to the interview stage for a single position. Instead, keep several irons in the fire: searching for jobs, applying, and interviewing. 

At the same time, you don’t want to be so overwhelmed with interviews that you can’t prepare for them properly. Try to apply for 10 to 15 jobs per week.


🟢 Striving to Offset Interview Slip-Ups

If you made mistakes in your job interview, all may not be lost. You can write an email to the hiring manager, letting them know which questions you failed to answer with enough detail. 

The Work Life Money Coaching blog offers ideas for how to write an email to your hiring manager, adding additional information you might have forgotten

After our interview, I realized that I neglected to include [insert a few short sentences of what you felt you missed during the interview. Keep it concise.] I truly enjoyed our discussion on … [include some talking points of the projects or topics discussed in the interview].


🟢 Realize That Bad Interviews May Indicate A Cultural Mismatch

Maybe the problems in the job interview weren’t your fault. Rather, your interviewer did not set you up for success. Perhaps you were asked difficult questions that you could have answered more completely if you had been given them in advance. Or maybe your interview was held in a noisy room with many distractions. 

Don’t blame yourself if you couldn’t leap every hurdle thrown at you. Instead, decide if the negative experience was your interviewer’s fault. If this is the case, you might be glad that you weren’t hired for the role. After all, your interview experience is likely to be the best predictor of what working at the organization would actually be like. 

An experienced career coach Chrissy Scivicque had this to say “But if an interview really leaves you feeling frustrated, you probably want to move on. When employees don’t respect the interview process, it’s likely there are a lot of bad hires floating around – and they’d be your colleagues. You don’t want to end up in the wrong role, in the wrong organization, and with the wrong people. Let a bad interview stay just that; don’t let it become a bad career situation.”


🟢 Uncover The Queries That Posed A Challenge In Finding Solutions

It’s important to note the questions you couldn’t answer and figure out why you struggled to respond. Were you thrown by a complex technical question? Or did you forget to think of an example that would demonstrate a certain competency? Once you identify the questions you couldn’t answer, prioritize developing smart responses before your next interview – when a similar question is likely to be raised. 

Alternatively, were you unable to answer a question well because you lacked the skill set the company required? If this is the case, you may need to start developing the experience you didn’t have. Perhaps ask your current manager to lead a project or volunteer your time in developing the expertise you haven’t yet acquired. 


🟢 Unsuccessful Job Interviews Hold Valuable Lessons

Don’t dismiss a disappointing job interview as a waste of time. Surprisingly, there’s much to gain from such experiences. An interview lacking organization or professionalism may hint that the company isn’t the right fit for you. If your preparation falls short, the embarrassment you feel can serve as a powerful motivator for more thorough preparation next time.

Rather than dwelling in regret, the key is to reflect on what went wrong and how you can improve for the next opportunity.

By Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec is your dedicated career development resource.