4 ways to take the initiative after a terrible job interview

It happens. You spend hours the night before prepping for a major job interview and eventually finish up your research late at night, thinking, How much more could I possibly need to know? I might as well wing it from here on out.

When you step into the office conference room the next morning, you feel prepared enough, but still a little nervous.

Enter, the interviewer. The next part is history — awkward silences, your lack of knowledge on the specifics, and an inability to connect with the recruiter.

What do you then? Here’s how to get back on your feet so you can move forward after a tough interview.

Reflect on it — just not for too long

Process what happened, but don’t overdo it.

An article one The Balance explains why you need to “give yourself some time” after an interview that doesn’t go smoothly.

A bad interview can leave you feeling frustrated and upset. Take some time – a few minutes, or maybe even an hour – to absorb the experience. But don’t dwell too long. It’s easy to spiral, and become convinced that the interview went even worse than it actually did. Remember, this is only one opportunity, and there will be many more.

Talk about it with someone

Clementina Altamirano, PMP, Manager, Campaign Management at Deloitte, writes about this on LinkedIn while discussing her own experience.

1. Tell the whole story — just once. Allow yourself one complete conversation with another person in which you hash out your interview experience from start to finish. Then that’s it. It’s done. Resist the urge to spill every detail to anyone who asks how your interview went. Chalk it up to “that wasn’t the right fit” and move on.

Bonus tip: Resist the urge to blast your interview adventures on social media. Outbursts have a long life in cyberspace and tarnish your reputation for future positions.

Send the recruiter a thank you letter

Make it clear that you realize the interview didn’t go as well as it could have.

A Forbes article features advice from Jay Canchola, an HR business partner for Raytheon.

Don’t make excuses, but do acknowledge your blunders. “For example, if the candidate believes their responses to questions were off target, he or she can send a well crafted follow-up letter to the interviewer admitting a misunderstanding of the questions. This might make a difference,” Canchola says.

However, make sure you only draw attention to the mistakes you’re absolutely certain the employer caught, or you’ll bring light to an issue that the interviewer might have otherwise missed.

Think about the takeaways

Use this experience as an opportunity to learn what you did wrong and properly capitalize on your strengths the next time around.

An article by The Muse elaborates on this.

The most valuable damage control you can perform is to learn from your blunder and prepare well for your next interview.

What was the core cause of your mistake? Did you get nervous and fumble over your answers? Consider enlisting a friend or career counselor to conduct a few practice interviews with you. The more comfortable you become answering interview questions, the less nervous you’ll be when you’re in the real thing.