A job interview is when you need to look and perform at your best, but everyone is human and sometimes people make mistakes. Hopefully the mistake you make is relatively small like arriving nine minutes early instead of 10. Perhaps you forgot to mention that time at a past job where you saved your boss’s life. You probably will not have to worry about these errors tanking your interviews, but other lapses in judgment could completely sink your chances of landing a job. However, there are ways to save yourself from minor mistakes if you play your cards right. The following pointers should be adhered by in the event you need to perform some much-needed interview damage control.
Examples of Interview Damage Control
Forgetting the name of the person you are meeting has been known to happen, especially if you talked about the interview over the phone and did not write the person’s name down. If this happens, do your research. Browse through the company’s website to see if anyone’s name jogs your memory. If that does not work, you can always try calling the company and asking the receptionist if he or she could provide you the name. Be wary of this strategy. Receptionists can talk to hiring managers and tell them that you totally forgot their name.
Arriving late to your interview is a huge slip-up, but it has been known to happen. While you should be aware of traffic conditions so you can account for it on your drive over, if you do end up running late, you should always call the office to tell them. A huge accident on the highway can be mentioned, but if you are late from your own error, simply say you are sorry and reiterate your interest in the job. If you are only going to be a few minutes late, see if they would still be willing to meet with you. If you are going to be over 10 minutes late, then it would be best to reschedule.
The attire you wear to an interview should be absolutely pristine, but anything could happen on your way to the office. Maybe after getting out of your car, you slipped and feel and now have some dirt on your shirt. Maybe you spilled some of your morning coffee on your tie. There might not be any time to completely change your wardrobe, so the best thing you can do is to acknowledge the gaffe and move on. Saying nothing will give the interviewer the impression that you are unaware of the stain on your shirt.
You are probably already well-aware if you have a difficult-to-pronounce name, so you should be ready for an interviewer to mispronounce it at first. If your name is hard to say, then the hiring manager may say something like, “Am I saying that correctly?” In the event that he or she does not say that, you should gently and politely say, “Actually, my name is pronounced…” You do not want to wait two weeks into having the job before mentioning how your name should really be pronounced.
The answers you give to every inquiry should be well thought out, but occasionally, you may realize half-way through your response that you are completely rambling and now really answering the question. If this happens, do not sweat it. Acknowledge that your answer was not very good and ask if you can start over. It is okay to be nervous during interviews, and as long as you only flub one response, you are still in the running for the position.
Although this next form of interview damage control is very rare, it could happen. Honking at the interviewer while you are in traffic and then realizing once you get to the office that the person you are shaking hands with was the guy you honked at can be absolutely mortifying. When this occurs, do not bring it up. Nothing good can come from acknowledging it.
The Thank You Letter as a Part of Damage Control
If you realize once the interview is over that an answer you gave was not very good, the thank you note can be the perfect opportunity to address it and to cast off any concerns the hiring manager might have. You do not want to spend the entire letter talking about everything you did wrong, but it can be an excellent way to alleviate any doubts. Never underestimate the power of a well-written thank you letter.