How to recover from a bad interview experience

“God that was awful??”

“Where can we go from here??”

“Sure they may as well not go to the World Cup”

These were the comments thrown out in all forms of media both print and social after Ireland’s record defeat at the weekend and If you’ve ever said similar (bar the World Cup bit) after an interview then this blog is for you.

When you’ve had a bad experience, it’s easy to paint future endeavours with an equally damning brush but much like a disappointing dining experience, one negative interview does not create an immovable precedent for the future.

Reflect on the Experience
Unfortunately you cannot rewind and redo the interview and beating yourself up over it won’t help.
It does take courage and self- awareness to press pause and reflect on it. Leaving your hurt pride to one side, it is important to point out what went well first so that you are able to look at
negative aspects with a less defeated attitude. If you have a bad feeling about the way things
panned out; identify exactly what went wrong so always try to gain feedback either through the recruiter or the contact within the company. You may not like what you are going to hear but it is important
for your development and to learn from it.
Learn from it
Touching on the last paragraph, try to learn from the experience. I am – ( as clients/ candidates of
mine will testify too!) a big believer in writing it out. I ask candidates to do this pre- interview as it
helps with preparation; helps formulate your thoughts and gives focus on certain examples you will
use but it also helps with post interview. If the interview did not go well ; make a list of the mistakes
you made during the interview and ask yourself what would you do differently the next time?
Before you set foot in another interview it’s important that you’ve addressed where things didn’t go to plan and have stronger responses for the answers you fell down on. It’s important to be deliberate about this, put pen to paper on the corrected responses and with this exercise done go and look at other sample questions you’ve prepared and see if similar pitfalls await you
Keep calm; think positive and Carry on searching
Don’t wallow in self- pity and equally don’t be hard on yourself- it does take courage and self-
awareness to reflect on the experience; learn form it and try to move on. Sometimes; when people
have a bad experience ; it’s easy to kick the search to touch but crucially don’t take it personally and
don’t let other opportunities pass you by ! Take note of the positive feedback; don’t get defensive
and importantly don’t be too hard on yourself.

Future Interview Prep ; have a real think about preparation- not just the examples you are
going to use but take away doubt ; uncertainty. For example; have you looked the panel up on
linkedin- do you know what the people look like- it helps with visualisation and will make you feel
more comfortable. Have you printed out your CV and documents in advance? Have you done a dry
run; been out the offices? Think about the time you are going for interview- if it’s for 9am and you
have to use the M50 give yourself that extra 30-45 minutes-.You should aim to be at company’s
location at least 20 minutes before interview and go in to the Reception area for 10 minutes
beforehand. These are small things but important and will help relieve stress and help with

A Bad interview may knock your confidence, but it is not the end of the world- similar to the
experience the rugby players had last Saturday- but by reflecting on and learning from the
experience; you will be better prepared the next time !


Denis MacSweeney is an Associate Director with Amicus Search and Recruitment and is an expert recruiter to the Sales and Marketing sectors.

Visit Sales & Marketing jobs for more information or contact on 01 234 3196