Whether it’s your first interview or your twentieth, there’s always the possibility for a slip up or two. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep last night because your upstairs neighbor was practicing his drum solo at 2 in the morning. Or, you just have no idea what you’re doing because it’s the first in-person interview you have ever, ever done in your life… and in a hazy and nerve-wracking moment of silence you told the interviewer that you have 3 cats lovingly named after your favorite Game of Thrones characters and isn’t the weather just lovely today?
All right, so that one would be pretty hard to bounce back from. But we’ve got you covered for everything else. For many people, there can be nothing more socially intimidating than a face-to-face interview. Luckily, you can always fall back on the rules of good etiquette to get out of using the wrong fork on the salad plate, or say, when you’ve forgotten the hiring manager’s name. Here’s how to recover when you think all might be lost.
Be Honest, Admit Your Guilt
A mistake wouldn’t be so embarrassing in an interview if it wasn’t so blindingly obvious. So there really isn’t a point in lying or skirting the truth. Here’s the realest piece of advice I’ll give you in this article: Lies will end up getting you rejected. However, if you misspoke or told a white lie in a nervous moment, make sure that you immediately own up to your mistake and apologize. In the same vein, if you show up late to an interview by a few minutes, you may still recover if you admit to it and apologize—in a professional manner. Just give a very brief explanation and start the interview with your best foot forward. You still have your chance to wow them with your qualifications and adorable personality.
Give It Another Try
Sometimes questions can catch you by surprise. Even if you’ve prepared for the most commonly asked interview questions, some can still come out of left field. If you give a bad answer, then give it some time and come back to it at the end of the interview. Tell the interviewer you did not give your best answer, and ask if they would mind if you addressed the question once again or if you could add something to it that slipped your mind. If you got caught in a resume inaccuracy, you should make your best effort to detail what’s changed and why the resume wasn’t updated to reflect the truth.
Gain Rapport With Your Interviewer
This last one is a solid overall interview strategy that you should apply whether or not you had a Freudian slip. Try to gain rapport with your interviewer by being friendly, upbeat and connecting with them by mimicking body language and eye contact. For the most part, don’t talk about politics, religion, or joke about sexuality in public, and you should be able to avoid the problem entirely. If you already have something in common, they’re less likely to judge you for a poor off-the-wall comment.
If it still doesn’t work out, you can always head back to FirstJob.com to search out other new grad jobs and try again.*
Amy Liu is a Digital Marketing Associate at FirstJob and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley. In her free time, she loves exploring San Francisco and trying out tasty new restaurants.