Dealing with a bad interview experience.
As a recruiter our job is to make sure that your interview experience is as positive as possible; matching culture, responsibilities and prospects to your aspirations. We always want to get good post interview feedback.
Sometimes though, the interview might not go as well as expected. Nerves might get the better of you, there might have been an unexpected change of interview format, or you are asked a question you really hadn’t prepared for and don’t know how to answer, which throws you. There might be lots of silences and you might not feel you have any rapport with the person interviewing you. They may not have to be your best buddy but it is important to you to feel that you get on with the people you meet and no matter how hard you try, you can’t see any positive reaction to anything you are contributing.
If you are feeling vulnerable, especially if this was an interview for a “dream job”, then you might end up leaving demoralised and deflated. The important thing is to remember that these things can happen and it isn’t usually personal.
A bad interview can leave you feeling quite despondent. There might be lots of reasons for it but here are a few pointers which hopefully will help you look at things with a different perspective and be more successful next time.
If your nerves have overtaken you then it is worth acknowledging this in the interview and explain why you think this might have happened. If you don’t know how to answer a question then say so, but have a go at thinking about how you might have answered it. Sometimes the interviewer isn’t looking for the “right” answer, they are actually looking for how you approach difficult questions. If you simply didn’t prepare before your interview then learn the hard way and make sure that you do this next time so it doesn’t happen again.
Sometimes there are several candidates of similar level applying for the same role. Only one of those people can be offered the job. If it isn’t you, then don’t get too upset as you might have still done well and be contacted for any additional future openings.
The people you meet in interview should give you a flavour of the culture of the company you are applying to work in. Unfortunately the interviewer isn’t always the best ambassador for a company especially if they really don’t want to be there. If you come away feeling that there was no rapport at all, then maybe it was the wrong environment for you anyway.
In my book, regardless of how well or poorly you perform, everyone should leave an interview with something positive or constructive and it is the job of the interviewer to ensure this happens.
If you didn’t get the job or want the job, it’s worth finding out why, isn’t it? You’ve just spent at least an hour of your time with a potential employer and it’s always good to hear constructive and positive feedback. If you are feeling brave enough ask for some initial feedback in the interview. Not everyone is confident to do this but it might be the best chance you get to find out the interviewers true thoughts. It also shows maturity, as someone who can handle constructive feedback head on.
The message in all of the above is not to worry. Don’t let a bad experience eat your confidence. Not every job is suited to you and try and look for the positives in every experience you have. Good luck!