How to Save a Job Interview Gone Wrong

how-to-save-interview-gone-wrongJust because you’ve prepared religiously for your job interview does not always guarantee things will go smoothly. You might’ve fallen short of giving a great first impression to your recruiter, be over or under-qualified or be unable to wow your interviewer because you’re an introvert going for your first job interview. When less-than-stellar situations happen, all hope isn’t lost – yet. More often than not, you still have a fighting chance of getting your interview back on track.

Here are some great tips on how to save a job interview:

Be Brave, Own Up Your Mistakes

There is nothing wrong in acknowledging that the job interview isn’t going on as planned. When faced with the same situation, let the interviewer know about it and explain what is causing it. If it’s because of external issues like family problems due to sickness, or worse, bereavement, it’s important that you let the interviewer know, but stress that you are seriously excited to be talking to him or her in person. If you are having difficulty answering the question or is unable to clearly express your thoughts, ask the interviewer if it would be okay for you to try to answer or explain your answer again. Chances are, the interviewer will end up appreciating your honesty and recognize your ability to confront and handle a challenging situation with your head help up high. With luck, you may even get the interviewer to help you get the interview back on track by clarifying the question or offering you feedback.

Be Sensitive

Another great tip to saving a bad interview is to be sensitive of the dynamics between you and the interviewer. Doing so helps you pick up telltale signals that will keep the interview from further spiraling out of control. For example, if the interviewer sounds bored or looks disinterested, assess what could be causing this reaction. Are you delivering your answers in monotone? Do you use too much jargon? Are you starting to ramble? Once you pinpoint the cause, make a conscious effort to change gears. Use gestures and the right body language to add more “oomph” to your replies or add an anecdote to liven up your answers. Look the interviewer in the eye to convey sincerity and express your interest to both the interview and the job posting.

Deal with Qualification Issues Head-On

The issue of being over or under-qualified is sure to come up during the job interview and if you’re not prepared you can really mess up your chances of getting considered. If the interviewer is hesitating because of either reasons, it’s important that you reiterate your interest and commitment to the job posting.

Being overqualified can mean a lot of things: if your job experience and skills are more than what the position requires, chances are, employers are likely to turn your application down. Employers often connect over-qualified candidates to high-salary expectations. They may also doubt your commitment to finding new challenges in the position should they offer it to you. If the interviewer tells you about this or if you sense that the interview is going down this route, reassuring them of your commitment is the best way to get the interview back on track.

If the interviewer suggests you’re under qualified, use a different approach. If you did your pre-interview preparations by looking at the requirements of the job posting that you’ve applied to, then you already have an idea about why you’re under-qualified. If the job posting did not provide a clear description of what the position requires, a good strategy would be to ask the interviewer if they have other positions that best fit your qualifications. You can also ask the interviewer about the skills you’re lacking and if you could have the option to learn them on the job.

Saving an Interview After It’s Over

Even if the interview is over and you know you didn’t do well, there are still ways to recover and regain your chances of being considered for the job posting.

Here’s what you can do to try to salvage the situation.

1. Write a “Thank You” Note

A “Thank You” note is normally reserved to express your gratitude for your interviewer’s time but it can also be a powerful tool to help save an interview even after it’s over. Use it to explain what went wrong during the interview or to include vital pieces of information that you forgot to mention during your session. Keep it short and do not over-apologize for your mistakes. The important thing here is that you go out of your way to express your interest, commitment, and dedication to your job application.

2. Ask for Another Interview

This is more of a long shot and should never be attempted unless you have a good excuse for not doing well during the interview. Should you decide to attempt this tip, always make sure to call and not send an email as it’s more difficult for interviewers to refuse your request over the phone. If the interview went wrong because you failed to prepare for it properly, it’s best that you move on and just take the lessons you learned from the experience.

Not making the job interview can cause you to feel slightly less confident about your skills. Pull yourself together and learn from what happened. There will be other job interviews you can attend and if you take note of the mistakes you did and be sure to not to make them again, you’re on the right track.

This article is either written or edited by jobsDB SG. If you would like to publish or link it on your website or publication, you have to write to to get the permission. We reserve the right to take legal action if we find copyright infringement.