So you blew the big interview. Now what? Even with Colorado’s slightly-less competitive job market – the state boasts a 7.7% unemployment rate, compared to the national average of 9.7%, as reported in the Denver Business Journal on March 28, 2010 – each and every interview is more important than ever.
Can anything be done to rectify the bad interview?
Probably not this time, but if you apply some self-evaluation, you may not make those mistakes again.
The Thank You Note Won’t Save You
Some people think that the thank you note is an opportunity to correct a bad interview answer. Others try to use the thank you note to bring up points they forgot to mention during the interview.
This won’t work.
While a thank you note is critical to the interview process, trying to put forth a ‘better answer” actually draws attention to the question you answered poorly. It comes across as second-guessing, and reminds the interviewer of the uncomfortable moment.
Nor can you introduce any new material as an attempt to say all the brilliant things you forgot in the interview. This actually can confuse the potential employer, because they won’t be able to relate this new information to what you actually talked about. Plus, this looks like a sign of weakness and desperation, not a show of additional talents.
Instead, use your thank you note to reiterate your strong points from the interview, reminding them of the positive answers. While it may not save you from a bad impression, it can highlight the solid points from your interview.
Self Evaluation Required
The best thing you can do after any interview – good or bad – is to do a realistic self-evaluation. Take the time to write down your impressions of the company is part of it, but it is even more important to write a review of your own performance.
Run through each question they asked. What was your answer? Were you concise and to-the-point? Did you answer the question fully? Do you take a moment to gather your thoughts before you answered, or did you blurt your answer out quickly?
Think back on your non-verbal communication. Were you making proper eye contact? How was your posture? Did you feel comfortable in the room, or were you intimidated by the layout? Conscientious employers will change the room setting to create a certain atmosphere and understanding how you performed in each one is important to train yourself to deal with any situation.
Were there some questions that you wished you answered differently? Write them down, along with your new answer. This has two effects: one, you don’t have to keep running the scenario over and over in your head; and second, you will be better prepared when you run across the question again.
Did you feel prepared for this interview? If not, what was lacking? If you didn’t know very much about the company, make a commitment to do better research on the next company. Did you feel nervous and uncomfortable? Then you need to find someone with whom you can run practice interviews.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The best way to prepare for any interview is to practice. However, if you are really struggling, you might want to consider some professional help. There are a number of sources available for education, networking and coaching:
- The Colorado Free University offers several short workshops on a variety of job searching tactics, including interview skills.
- The Colorado Career Development Association is a professional organization for all kinds of career coaches and transition specialists.
- Many of the workforce centers, such as the Jeffco Workforce Center, offer a variety of classes and workshops.
- Some networking groups, such as BoulderNet, brings in guest speakers and sets aside time for their members to practice their job searching skills.
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