If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s that humans are incapable of controlling and predicting everything; and to think that we can, is setting ourselves up for disappointment. So, the best we can do is prepare, and have a contingency plan in place if things take a turn for the worse.
The same goes for job interviews. Since you can’t always predict what’s going to happen, what do you do when an interview isn’t going the way you expected?
Your inside feels tingly, your palms get sweaty, and you begin to ramble incoherently, or worse, stay silent. Before you decide to wave the white flag and surrender, what if you could figure out how to salvage the interview?
We’ve outlined three common scenarios that can derail an interview and the strategies you can use to get back into the good graces of your interviewer.
Scenario 1: You’re Running Late
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, life can get in the way—making even the most punctual people show up late to an important interview. No matter what your reasons are, showing up late to a job interview is never a good look—and the interviewer rarely excuses careless behavior like this.
But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re out of the running entirely. The best way to salvage the situation is to be proactive and reach out to the hiring manager ahead of time if you think you’re running behind.
Once you arrive, acknowledge your tardiness, apologize and take responsibility, and explain why you were late. When the interview is over, you can also write a personal letter of apology to re-explain your lack of punctuality because it will attest to your good manners.
Scenario 2: Your Nerves Are Getting The Best Of You
A handful of things are as anxiety-inducing as an interview for your dream job. As such, it isn’t uncommon for candidates to draw a blank when asked a question. Even the most confident of us can sometimes struggle to articulate our answer or fail to mention a critical detail.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, it’s better to be upfront about it, and ask the interviewer for a moment to regroup yourself. You can start by telling the interviewer that you will need a few seconds to calm yourself before answering the question. The recruiter might think of it as an authentic gesture and may even encourage you at the moment.
However, you must avoid such a situation at all costs by extensively preparing for your interview in advance. Find a friend or an expert interview coach to help you prepare to answer common interview questions so you can rehearse your answers aloud.
Scenario 3: You Haven’t Done Your Homework
With so much public information available nowadays, most recruiters and interviewers expect the candidates to research the organization. It shows a candidate’s commitment and dedication to the job they’ve applied for.
If the interviewer has asked for your take on a recent project their organization is working on, and you were only able to give a vague answer, don’t dwell on your mistake as it will likely throw you off your game and derail the rest of the interview.
You can make up for it when the interview is over by writing a follow-up note to the interviewer. Thank them for their time and list the reasons why you’re drawn to the company, project, or a position.
These tips may come in handy if your interview is going awry, but prevention is always better than the cure.
If you need help brushing up on your interview skills, so you’re never a victim of these scenarios, find an expert interview coaching services near you!