Editor’s Note: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared under the title, “You Bombed the Interview. Now What? A Step by Step Guide That Could Put You Back in the Running,” from Smith Brain Trust at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Well, that didn’t go well. You bombed the interview for a position you really wanted and dashed your hopes of getting the job. Now what?
Don’t give up, says Rachel Loock, a career and leadership coach at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Figure out what went wrong and fix it to be ready for future opportunities. There’s likely still a chance at landing a job with the organization.
“Take a cold hard look at what happened and how you could improve,” says Loock. “Did you get nervous? Did you talk too much? Did you not have enough relevant examples? Did you not research the company enough? Did you say something that should have been obvious? How were you lacking in your preparation, and how could you fix that moving forward?”
Your first step, post-interview, is to send a thank-you note or e-mail, acknowledging that the meeting wasn’t your best.
Loock suggests a message like this one: “I look forward to continuing the conversation. It might have been obvious I was a little bit nervous during the interview, but I remain very interested in the opportunity. Please let me know if I can provide any additional information.”
“That would be a way of showing you have the self-awareness to recognize that maybe you didn’t do as well as you could have, but you’re not asking for a new interview and you’re offering to make yourself available in the future,” she says.
If there was an extenuating circumstance – you’re just getting over the flu or were dealing with an ailing family member – consider sharing that but be careful not to sound like you’re making excuses, Loock says.