The latest news and advice from our recruitment experts.
After a well-rested break, I’m sure many of you are eagerly waiting in anticipation to hear back about that looming job interview date. This nail biting period is terrifying yet exhilarating to your every nous. You’ve finally had the call with a confirmed date of the interview. Dressed in your best outfit, clean shoes, best scent you turn up with plenty of time to spare. Sure, you have sweaty palms and a few nervous butterflies in your tummy – but that’s surely a good thing, right?! You grab that polystyrene cup, fill it with cold water from the cooler and return to your seat sipping it slowly. When someone appears at the door and calls your name, you rise slowly and surely, ready to head confidently into the interview that will make or break your dreams…
See, here’s the thing. It was the interview of your dreams so you prepared thoroughly, so how come you feel the least bit satisfied with the outcome?
But alas – dream job interview or not, if you have left with that sinking gut feeling that you have completely bombed out in your interview then you most probably have. If you feel it, then the interviewing panel will be feeling it too. That feeling of self-doubt can creep in as soon as you’ve walked out the door.
So what went wrong and how can we learn from it so you can ace the next interview?
As soon as the interview is over, put pen to paper and write down exactly where you could see improvements. It may sound a little like ‘dear diary’ but this process will help to identify what you feel may have gone wrong. Putting your thoughts down on paper immediately after the interview will give it the most validity because what you are recording are the raw emotions and clear cut, true thoughts. Flesh it out the best you can, so in a few days when you revisit the document, you can reflect on why these things might have happened. Because, let’s be honest. There will be another job interview.
Dr. Katharine Brooks, executive director of the office of personal and career development at Wake Forest University and author of You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career, says that the first thing she asks her students to do is identify what went well. “It’s important to discover what went well first so that you’re able to look at the negative aspects with a less defeated attitude. I then ask what one thing they would change.” If you have a bad feeling about the way things panned out, identify exactly what went wrong.
Beating yourself up will not do any good; reflect, identify and move on.
Discuss with a peer, mentor or partner why you think it went badly and see what plan of action you can detail. The more feedback you can get from others, the easier it will be to identify where your strengths and weaknesses are, so going forward these can be implemented in your strategy for your next interview.
Sounds daunting but for you to gain optimal results and learn from you mistakes, at the conclusion of the interview endeavor to get the interviewers’ contact information. Make contact with them in a few days thanking them for the opportunity to meet with them.
If you have made contact and haven’t heard back in over a week, make contact with the interviewer again. If feedback is received, it is important to identify this as constructive feedback - do not become defensive or respond with negative comments, receive with an open mind and in a professional manner. You never know, there may be a future job offer within their business that you may be more suited for?
Please note, some businesses will not be as forthcoming and reluctant to provide this information, but if they do make sure you pursue it!
And most importantly, don’t give up! Keep looking for that dream job and don’t let a bad interview cloud your vision about future employment opportunities. Take the experience as a learning opportunity, spending time reflecting on what happened and make changes for future job interviews.