You know that dreaded moment where you wish you used your brain before opening your mouth?
It happens to everyone, especially when under the spotlight like during an interview or webinar. As entrepreneurs and business women, you’ve probably had this happen to you once or twice and it can be absolutely mortifying.
- Maybe you were so nervous thinking about what you were going to say that you missed the interviewers question completely…
- Or, you went completely blank and were at a loss for what to say, creating that long awkward “first date” kind of pause (cue crickets and tumble weeds)…
- Or, you stumbled over your words and absolutely butchered what you were trying to say (which you know sounded quiet eloquent in your head!)…
- Or, you used WAY too many filler words like ‘uuuuummmmm’, “weeeeelllllll”, or “soooooooo” (why do we do this!?)…
- Or, the worst kind of gaff, you dropped the f*bomb completely unintentionally (as if you want the public to know you have a mouth like a dirty sailor)…
The funny thing about interviews is that this can happen JUST as easily to the interviewer! Ok, maybe not Barbara Walters or Katie Couric, but I remember when Leanne and I started doing our Juicy Friday interviews the editing required to make us sound even half smart was through the roof! Of course, with practice, we got much better and soon we didn’t need any editing.
Yeah, yeah. Practice makes perfect but what do you do when you actually commit one of these horrible interview faux pas?
I stumbled across this article on Mashable by Katie Douthwaite who shares her 4 tips for keeping your cool during an interview nightmare. I suggest you take a look if interviews are something you stress over!
How To Recover From An Interview Disaster
1) Don’t Over Analyze
It’s perfectly normal to mentally rehash every detail of an interview immediately after that final handshake: Did you remember to smile? Ask questions at the end? Did you really convey that you’ve been working on your delegation skills, or did you come across as a total control freak? As you think more and more about each question and answer, there’s a good chance you’ll start dwelling on small mistakes you think you made — like how your voice slightly wavered when you talked about your weaknesses, or that you were too vague about your five-year goals. In most cases, you can rest assured that these are slip-ups you don’t need to address because they’re much more obvious to you than to anyone else, and probably didn’t have a significant impact on your interviewer. Plus, they’re mistakes that will look much worse when highlighted to your interviewer the next day than if you just let them go. Of course, if you’re certain that you completely flubbed an answer, or left out some vital information about yourself, proceed to step two: Figure out if there’s anything you can do.
2) Determine Your Plan of Action
Damage control can be risky. Some interviewers will appreciate the extra elaboration on a question you think you botched, but to others, it will simply draw more attention to your mistake. So, it’s important to pinpoint if the errors from your interview are important enough to bring up again — and if bringing them up is going to help you. To determine if it’s actually worth doing damage control, you should ask yourself a couple questions:
Was it a Make-or-Break Mistake? Will your mistake (or lack of information) make a significant impact on the interviewer’s perception of you? Maybe you had a great answer planned out about how your past experience would make you a perfect fit for a business analyst position, but you forgot to mention you also have an interest in social media and would love to help expand the company’s online presence. Is this an essential piece of information that may affect the interviewer’s ultimate decision? Probably not. On the other hand, if you’re interviewing for a position in another state and completely forgot to mention that you’re OK with relocating, your interviewer was probably left questioning. The same would go for a situation where your level of experience is in question, and you failed to mention a relevant internship you completed. That could ultimately affect the interviewer’s decision, and damage control is probably worth the risk.
Can You Recover By Sharing Additional (Concise) Info? One of the key elements of damage control is being able to recover in a concise manner. If you can convey additional information in a few sentences to clear things up—perfect! You’re good to go. If your explanation would require pages of writing or a lengthy phone call, your chances of success fall dramatically. Also, if your recovery sounds mostly like an apology, rather than providing concrete new information (“I can’t believe I messed up the multiplication on that problem!”)—just skip it. If you aren’t giving your interviewer new information about you as a candidate, addressing the mistake isn’t likely to help you.
If, after considering these questions, you determine you have a short—but absolutely essential—piece of information to share, move on to your plan of action.
What is your most embarassing interview moment? Share by commenting below. And don’t forget to gives this post a thumbs-up on Facebook!