Raise Your Hand if You’ve Ever Bombed an Interview
My hand is firmly in the air on this one. Yes. I have bombed an interview. Badly.
I was fresh out of Ad school, and it was one of my first interviews for a full-time job. I was so focused on developing a knockout portfolio that I totally forgot to prepare for the interview itself. It was a classic rookie move. So when the interviewer asked what must be the oldest interview question in the book – tell me about yourself – I was a stunned and unimpressive deer in the headlights. I attempted to awkwardly improvise my way through an answer, but my lack of preparation was clearly evident. Safe to say, I did not feel very confident post interview as I drove my unemployed butt home.
An unsuccessful interview can leave us feeling frustrated, discouraged and sometimes even a little embarrassed. It’s not because you weren’t qualified. It’s not because you weren’t capable. It was because you didn’t quite bring your A-game. If you’ve recently been through this experience, and your confidence is a little shaken, go easy on yourself. Here’s why:
Everyone goes through it
Seriously, raise your hand if you’ve ever bombed an interview. Now, turn to the person beside you and give them a solid high five, because they’ve probably been through it too. Throughout our careers, we interview with dozens of potential employers, and the truth of the matter is, you can’t win ‘em all. A bad interview is something almost all of us will experience, regardless of our capabilities, and acknowledging this fact can help us work through misplaced feelings of inadequacy. A bad interview does not make you a bad candidate – it just makes you an interviewee. Sometimes, it’s just not our day.
It’s an opportunity for growth
Sometimes in life, we can learn more from our failures than we can from our successes, and this is definitely one of those times. Chances are if you learned a lesson through your bad interview experience, it was probably a lesson that needed to be learned. Moments like this can force us to face hidden oversights and discover areas for improvement. If you know where your interview went wrong, adjust and prepare for your next one. If you don’t, consider sending your interviewer a follow-up email requesting feedback. More often than not, they will be willing to give you a quick tip or two. With every new lesson comes a new opportunity to improve, and that is something that is always valuable.
Failure is a necessary part of success
The most important thing to remember is that it’s all a process. No one learns to ride a bike in a day, and the more times we fall down the less we fear it and the better we become at getting back up. If we accept that setbacks are inevitable and valuable experiences, it makes it easier for us to go into each interview with confidence. The worst-case scenario for a bad interview is that you leave with an amusing anecdote and a lesson well learned. While it may not be the best feeling in the world, know that it is a necessary part of success and one that should be embraced, not feared.
So fear not the bad interviews!
As raw as it may feel in the moment, do not let a bombed interview shake your confidence or derail your job search. Keeping a positive attitude means that you’ll be more likely to see the lessons and opportunities in whatever outcomes you may face. At the end of the day, know that each negative experience paves the way for a better one. So breathe, relax, and embrace your interview, regardless of the outcome. Because no matter what happens, you’re not going home empty handed.