How to recover from a bad job interview

Have you ever had a bad job interview?

Bad job interviews can be upsetting but it is possible to recover from them and actually use them to your advantage. In this article we highlight 5 amazing tips to help you achieve this.

1. Was the interview really that bad?

What is it that makes you feel that the interview went badly? Was it because you turned up a few minutes late or was it because you were unable to answer a particular question? Remember that no interview is ever perfect so try not to be overly critical of your performance.

2. Write down your thoughts

Ok, so you think that the interview went badly. Why do you think this was the case? Grab a pen and paper and write down what you thought went well and what went badly. It might be useful to break the interview down into specific areas to help you do this i.e. first impressions, body language, confidence, quality of answers, questions you asked, closing statement etc. You might also want to write down some of the questions that you were asked and the key points that you think you should have mentioned.

3. Follow up

It is good practice to follow up a job interview with a short email or letter thanking the interviewer for considering you for the job. This is also an excellent time to mention any key points that you feel that you forgot to mention during the interview. Your follow up message should be sent 1 – 2 days after the interview when you have had time to think about the interview objectively.

To find out more about following up a job interview check out: How to follow up a job interview

4. Request a second chance

If you still feel that you did not get your key points across (or if the employer has already ruled you out) then you could try and request a second chance. If you do this then you will need to clearly articulate why you should be offered a second chance. Many employers will be reluctant to spend more time interviewing so your preparation and persuasion skills will be vital. An alternate approach is to request a chance to impress rather than a second interview. This could be by working for free or by producing a piece of research, analysis or whatever might be of interest or use to the employer. This gives you the opportunity to show that the interview was not a true reflection of your skills, ability and potential usefulness to the organization.

5. Turn mistakes to your advantage

“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.” Colin Powell

If you are able to learn from your interview experience you should be able to use this knowledge to your advantage in the future. If you can do this you will dramatically increase your chances of future interview success. Re-examine the notes that you made following your interview and try to identify ways that you can improve in the future. Think about the answers you provided, think about ways that you could improve next time and practice your responses.


A bad job interview is just an experience. How you choose to view and react to this experience could shape your future. If you are able to learn from the experience you will be in a much better place to succeed in the future.

Further Information

To find more free careers advice in Zambia just visit: Careers Advice

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