Recovering from common interview blunders

Despite your best efforts, unexpected slip-ups could still occur during your interview, either due to foreseen or unforeseen circumstances.  Here we are going to help you correct these errors or at the very least mitigate their impact.



First Impressions matter and nothing raises a red flag to interviewers more than a late interviewee. If, due to no fault of yours, you get stuck in traffic or possibly have motor troubles and there’s a slight chance you are going to be late to the interview, try to alleviate the situation preemptively by calling your interviewer. Explaining your situation, giving them a heads up, and apologizing before you are late, this makes a better impression instead of having them wait for you. The most important thing to remember is to not offer lame excuses for your lateness, accept responsibility for your tardiness and apologize for the inconvenience.  If you realize you are going to be more than 15 minutes late, ask if you should still come in or if the interviewer would like to reschedule.  Once you arrive at the interview, apologize again, and then move on because your interview may be cut short or may be rushed due to your tardiness.


Flubbing a question in the interview

A lot of things can go wrong when you answer a question during an interview,  if you are not comfortable with your answer to a question, you can start over by saying something like “Can I rephrase that” or “what I meant to say was”.  If the interviewer has moved on, its best to readdress it again naturally in a later question.  For example, if an interviewer asked about your leadership abilities, and you feel you didn’t answer as well as you could, when a question comes up such as “Why should we hire you?” or “Why do you want to work for us?” refer more effectively to your leadership abilities. If you are stumped by a question, the first option is to stall for time by asking the interviewer to ask the question again, if after that you still don’t know the answer to the question, its best to keep your answer short and in a general way, for example “I’m not familiar with the technique you’re describing; my experience in the area has included …” or “I have not encountered that before, but I’d love to learn more.”, either way do not pretend to be more knowledgeable than you actually are.


Poor Closing

Interviewers like to end interviews by asking their interviewees if they have any questions or would like to say anything to help their cause. If it seems like this question is optional you are sorely mistaken. Asking no questions can imply a lack of enthusiasm, interest or passion, it is always advisable to prepare a few insightful questions ahead of the interview.  So if you can’t think of a question, its ok to circle back and use phrases like, “this is a lot of information to digest, I’d like to think through the questions and follow up by email.”.  If you didn’t ask a question during the interview, it’s advisable to prepare some for the next time you are in contact with the interviewer. Researching the company makes it easier to ask questions.


Some blunders you don’t recover from though, so it’s best to keep away from the following:

  • Coming to the interview unprepared
  • Showing up at the interview without having thought about it at all
  • Looking at your phone during the interview
  • Conveying to your interviewer that you don’t care about the job at all — you just need an income
  • Answering the interviewer’s questions without listening to them
  • Bashing your last employer
  • Talking about politics or religion (hot button issues)
  • Expressing disdain for work

Good luck at the next interview!!

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