How to Turn Around a Bad Job Interview

How to Advance Your Career

A bad job interview is like a crashing train: Although you can see it unfolding in front of you, you feel powerless to stop it from happening. But that doesn't have to be, because even when an interview is going off the rails, there are things you can do to put it back on track, author Kathryn Vasel writes in an article for CNN Business.

"Job interviews are nerve-wracking. And sometimes, despite [your] being prepared and getting a good night's sleep, they just don't go well," Vasel allows. "Here's the good news: It probably didn't go as bad as you think. Interviewers know the process can make your palms sweat and cause you to lose your train of thought. But if you feel like you bombed an interview, and you're really interested in getting the job, there are still ways to recover."

A strategy you can use during a tanking interview is to deflect to the interviewer when you need to gather your thoughts. "If you are sitting across from the hiring manager and find yourself rambling, tap the brakes," Vasel continues. "The important thing to remember is not to panic. Take a deep breath (or three) and try to pivot the conversation away from you and back to the interviewer … Ask a general question, such as: 'What do you see as the biggest challenge for the person who takes this position?' Or, 'How would you describe the company's culture?'"

While they're talking, press reset.

After the interview, your saving grace can be your thank-you note. "Yes, you should still send a thank you note -- even if you think you bombed the interview," Vasel says. "Not only does it show graciousness, it's also another opportunity to highlight your skills and experience or take another stab at answering a question that you missed during the interview. Just don't apologize or admit to messing up during the interview."

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