No matter how experienced you are with interviews, there’s always the occasional white lie, slip up or maybe even stupid mistake or two. You know that moment when the cold sweat runs down the back of your shirt, when you need a solution PRONTO – or the job interview and the opportunity is botched in the blink of an eye.
We’ve all been there at some stage in our life. Maybe you had a restless night stressing about the interview, or you just have no clue what you’re doing because it’s the first interview you’ve ever done in your life, or it’s your first interview in years and years … and in a not-so-clear and maybe even nerve-wracking moment of silence you realise that you just told your interviewer something you immediately regret.
Admittedly, you will have a hard time to claim back territory from that blunder. But, we’ve got you covered for everything else. For most job hunters and career changers, there can be nothing more daunting than a 1on1 or a panel interview. Here’s how to recover when you think all might be lost.
Fess Up, Admit Your Blunder – Be Honest
The most embarrassing mistakes in interviews are the blindingly obvious ones. So, you’re not improving your situation if you continue to lie or skirt the truth or pretend like some obvious blunder never happened. Here’s the universal piece of advice I’ll give you in this blog post: Lies will end up getting you rejected and maybe even blacklisted. But, if you had a stress moment with a slip up or you told a white lie, make sure that you immediately fess up to your mistake and apologise.
Did you arrive late? I can’t tell you how often I had job hunters arrive late to their interviews and mess up our schedules. If you rock up late to an interview, even if it’s just by a few minutes, you’re chances to recover are higher if you admit to it and apologise in a professional manner. No one buys a complicated story. Keep it short and simple. Just give a very brief explanation and then start the interview with your best foot forward. You still have your chance to wow the hiring professional with your qualifications and true personality.
Ask for Permission to TRY AGAIN
Sometimes strange questions can catch you by surprise. Even if you’ve prepared for the most unusual interview questions, some can still come out of left field. If you give a silly answer, give it some time and come back to it at the end of the interview. It’s usually the right time for it when the interviewer ask you the famous, “So, do you have any questions?” This is the moment when you should tell the interviewer you did not give your best answer, and ask if they would mind if you addressed the question once again or if you could add something to it that slipped your mind. This demonstrates integrity, focus and good communication skills.
The same applies if you got caught with a ‘resume inaccuracy’. You should make your best effort to detail what’s changed and why the resume wasn’t updated to reflect the reality.
Gain Trust with Your Genuine Vibe
This last one is a solid interview winner that you should apply whether or not you had a silly slip up or a botched answer. Gain rapport and trust with your interviewer by being genuinely friendly, upbeat and connecting with them by mimicking body language and eye contact. You can practise these skills in one of our free webinars or seminars. If you win at this, they’ll be less likely to judge you for a poor off-the-cuff comment.
One final note… although obvious, occasionally we say inappropriate things when stressed. If this is sometimes you, get in the habit of not talking about politics, religion, race or jokes about sexuality in professional situations and you should be able to avoid making these blunders in an interview.
Interviews are stressful but they are also not rocket science. Keep it simple and honest and if you don’t get the job, recover, learn from the experience, get back to your job search and remember to hunt wisely!