Sometimes job interviews go amazingly but other times, not so much. A joke that didn’t go over well, a late arrival, the obvious typo that you saw on your CV mid-interview, or finding out you’re dressed inappropriately can all get you into hot water when you’re job searching. We’ve all had bad job interviews, so it’s important to learn from them and play to your strengths.
#1 Preparation is key.
This is probably the best antidote for pre-interview nerves. Plan your route for the morning, and choose your outfit and print your CV the night before. You should always prepare answers to interview questions, from the routine (What are your weaknesses/strengths? Why are you leaving your job) to the quirky (what’s your spirit animal? What would you do with a million dollars?). Researching the company, as well as the person who will be interviewing you is crucial for interview performance. Go incognito on Linkedin and see what you have in common with your interviewer, and steer the conversation to shared interests if your answers fall flat.
#2 Try to let it go.
The ability to bounce back quickly from setbacks is highly valued by most employers, as is a sense of humour. If you mess something up, try to forge ahead with a smile and a positive attitude: address the gaff, apologize, then let it go. Don’t endlessly remind employers of your mistake by apologizing again and again—it just reminds interviewers of your mess up and makes it seem like a bigger deal than it probably is.
#3 Find an ally.
Try to find someone within the organization to talk to pre-interview. Are you connected on LinkedIn to anyone who works at the company? If you’re working with a recruiter, can they coach you before the interview? If you can’t find someone, call the HR department beforehand to ask about the dress code; you might learn more about what’s expected of interviewees to avoid awkward or uncomfortable situations.
#4 Be yourself.
It’s hard to forget that waltzing into an interview knowing you belong there and being super confident might put off your interviewer. Although a lot of places advise you to be confident there is a real fine line between coming off as confident and humble and appearing arrogant. Remember that these people don’t actually know you, so telling them you belong there and they’d be stupid not to hire you is not the best way to get the job. They’re humans too, and likely to feel intimidated by you if you come off too strong! The best advice we can give you is to be open, friendly and yourself. Don’t feel like you need to make an alter-ego like Sasha Fierce and come barrelling into the interview room to play the performance of your life.
#5 Sometimes it’s not meant to be.
Unless you’ve under-prepared , or are just having a really “off” day, sometimes interviews bomb to show us that some jobs aren’t meant to be. When you go over your interview in your head, be specific about what went wrong, and decide if these indicate potential deal breakers. Were you made uncomfortable? Was there a chance for you to ask questions? Did you realize through the interview that the job wasn’t quite what you had imagined it would be? Sometimes different answers or circumstances don’t make a difference if deep down you know that this position isn’t right for you.