I screwed up!
It has happened to all of us. Everyone has experienced a bad job interview sometime in the past. Anything from being late, botching answers to key questions or not being able to show knowledge about the company. Although the proverb is true, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, you do have an opportunity to make up some of what you lost in your bad job interview.
Often, people are their own worst critics, but this can actually be a good thing. When it comes to a job interview, you might be seeing things that weren’t actually there, or at least, that weren’t nearly as bad as you perceived them to be. Try to put the interview into perspective. Obviously, things like arriving late are negatives that will count against you but maybe other issues could be worse. Did you stumble through some questions? Did you fail to impress your interviewer with your knowledge of the company? Are there several things that were on the tip of your tongue that you were never able to express? Answer these questions and you’ll be able to tell yourself whether the interview was as bad as you first thought.
Think of it this way. Maybe that job was not the right one for you anyway. Did you feel like you weren’t able to connect with the interviewer? Did you feel out of place in the office? Were the questions exceedingly simple and not a challenge to you? Sometimes our instincts will show us in subtle ways when something is not right.
If you’ve decided that you did do very badly in the interview but still want the job, you can do damage control. The first thing to do is to analyze what went wrong. Write a thank you note or recovery letter. This is a way to follow up your bad job interview with concrete examples to back up your less than stellar answers to the interview questions. This is your chance to set the record straight and take back the initiative. Put together a concise, hard-hitting letter, using verifiable facts to back up your case wherever you can. When your prospective employer receives the letter, they will know, even if you didn’t show it in the interview, that you very much want the job and further, that you’re uniquely qualified for it.
There are any number of reasons why you can have a bad job interview. Often, it’s not as bad as you thought, or the interview will have given you enough of a perspective to convince you that the job wasn’t for you after all. But if you have a bad job interview for a job you really want, writing a timely, fact-filled and enthusiastic recovery letter can show the employer yet again that you are the best person for the job.