Job interview mistakes are correctable, even if it feels that it’s the worst thing that could happen. Career consultants all over the U.S. are warning you not to fall through the trap door if there is a typo on your résumé. We have your best interest at hard, and I want to comfort you.
If you make a mistake, correct it, even if nothing will come of it. The main reason: doing a good job requires accepting responsibility, correcting the error, and not repeating the same error.
1. You’re late, you’re late, for a very important date. Again? Dang?
The Fix: Call and confirm that it matters that you come anyway. It would be tragic if you were late to the second interview, but mostly, it is a forgivable error.
If it is a habit, then you should read this article, “You’re Late—Again,” from Good Housekeeping, May 2008 where the writer, Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist says what lateness says to others:
“I feel anxious” Many people make themselves late, whether once or repeatedly, when heading to a job or to meet friends, because they feel apprehensive or stressed. It’s as if deep, unresolved emotions are acting as resistors in the mind’s circuitry, redirecting us away from the source of our discomfort.
“I’m showing who’s in power” It’s one thing to think, We’re good friends. If I’m a few minutes late it won’t matter. It’s quite another to think, She knows I’m busier than she is. It isn’t a big deal if she waits a few minutes for me to yet there. People who use lateness to signify they are special or more powerful than those they keep waiting may not plan to show up late, but there’s often a quiet running commentary at the back of their mind suggesting that others will–and really should–wait for them.
“I need to know I’m loved”
2. Forget to bring your resume to the interview. And you forgot your brain too.
The Fix. By now if you don’t have a Dropbox, Linked In, or Google Docs account (there are others), then get one. You can park a copy of your résumé there. It is accessible from anywhere, and if the host has MS Word, it is easily downloadable, or at worst, email it to the interviewer. If not, ask if you can email a copy later that day.
3. Rain, sleet, snow, hail arrived while you were on the way to the interview. Stain on your suit. Caught in a mudslide.
The Fix. Continue on your way, and call ahead to the employer informing them of what happened. Calling diffuses the possible tension of the situation, and you will be pleasantly surprised how positive the experience turns out.
4. You spilled water on the table, ran into an employee and spilled coffee all over their clothes, or farted during the meeting.
The Fix. Apologize, apologize and apologize profusely. Don’t be surprised that there is mirth found at your expense. A little self-deprecating humor would work, but just a little. Remember the best have made job interview mistakes. And they move on knowing the next opportunity erases the last mistake.
- The egregious use of sarcasm, or a hint of profane language. This is a turn-off to people who influence hiring. What you say is everything in an interview, don’t blow it.
- Talking negatively about your past employers, especially to make yourself look good. This tactic never has a positive outcome, even if the past job was the competition. It is better to show how bad you were at one time, and how you corrected your path to achieving desired results.
- Any use of a cell, for any reason, at any time. No distractions needed at all, and even while waiting, show restraint.
- You were caught in a lie. Oh, there are no words. You lose.
Are there mistakes that you made before, during, or after interviews that you regret? Were you forgiven? Comment below, and share them with the rest of the world!