Your interview is possibly the most stress-filled step in your entire job search process. You worked really hard to get it. You prepared by researching your prospective employer, anticipating the topics that would likely be covered, and finding the perfect outfit. You got there on time and it felt like things were rolling smoothly along … until … that moment when you said the wrong thing. Was that out loud??!

You can’t rewind the clock and have a do over. But there are steps you can follow to take the sour lemons of your misspoken words and make lemonade.

On-the-Spot Triage

In a medical emergency, the first thing doctors do to save a patient’s life is move into triage mode, doing whatever it takes to stabilize the situation and prepare for long-term healing. Immediately after your verbal faux pas, take a deep breath. Think about what you would like to say instead, and then ask your interviewer politely if you can rephrase your answer.

Remain calm. Just like those ER doctors, panic or hysteria will only make things worse. On the other hand, you may impress your interviewer with your ability to stay cool under pressure – as long as that’s what you do.

Redeem Yourself

Mistakes made during interviews make it easier for hiring managers to eliminate you as a candidate. But at the very least, you can learn a valuable lesson from saying the wrong thing. In some cases, you may be able to help your interviewer to understand and overlook your words.

  • Reflect on your interview experience. Think about all the right things you said and the overall appearance you made. Then you can look at your misspoken words with a less defeated attitude.
  • Learn from it. Don’t wallow in self-pity. A single mistake or bad day is no excuse for not following up or not interviewing for a while. Instead, focus on what you’ll do differently the next time around. Write down the question you mishandled and your new response. Practice it prior to your next interview opportunity until you have it down pat.
  • Forgive yourself. This will help you regain your self-confidence and do better in the future. It’s natural to feel uneasy for a while, but don’t let this feeling linger or discourage you from reaching out to the employer to rectify things. Accept your mistake and move forward.
  • Explain what went wrong when you write your thank you note. Don’t make excuses, but do acknowledge your blunder. For instance, if you believe your response was off target, send a well-crafted note admitting your misunderstanding of the question. But be careful. Make sure you only draw attention to mistakes that you’re absolutely certain the employer caught. Don’t call attention to an issue that they might otherwise have missed.
  • Never apologize for a poor interview. Remember, you don’t know what the employer is thinking, and maybe it wasn’t as bad as you think. If you said something specific that requires an apology, make that judgment call, but don’t keep reminding the interviewer what went wrong.

As you prepare for your next interview, consider working with a professional recruiter from PrideStaff Fresno. We can help you improve your opportunities, put your professional skills to the best possible use, and make your job search strategy a success. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.

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