How to Redeem Yourself After an Interview Slip Up

Most of us have been nervous for an interview and have had an experience where we've felt less than confident leaving the interview. This often times is related to accidentally saying something we know likely didn't look good to the interviewer. While slipping up might not be the best first impression, all hope might not be entirely lost with some careful explanation and preparation. Remember that the hiring manager is a person too and likely knows the nervousness associated with finding a new role, so try to admit you're aware of your wrongdoing, revise your comment, and push forward to the next topic before spending too much time in the "danger zone."
If you cuss / use foul language...
While this seems like a common no-no, it's important to be aware of your language during an interview. Immediately excuse your language, apologize and push forward in the conversation with more appropriate language.
PLEASE do NOT use expletive language in an interview. This one is a bit tough to dig yourself out of at times depending on the client as we have personally seen clients immediately disqualify candidates who have used expletive language in their interview.
If you don't know how to answer the question...
While you may genuinely not know the answer to every question, don't lead with "I don't know." Let's face it, sometimes we are nervous and completely blank out! Take a moment to take a deep breath and lead with "That's a great question! Can I have some more time to consider how to properly answer this?"
If they don't allow you time after to consider the question, don't fret! You are not out of luck! Take a moment to dissect the question and do your best to answer honestly, but address the areas where you may not know completely as something you are willing to learn / build your skills on.
If you trash talk your previous employer / boss...
PLEASE try to refrain from speaking in a negative connotation about a previous employer as it suggests you have a general lack of respect and that there may be a possibility for you to do the same for them. If you do trash talk, immediately lead with a sincere apology and dilute the insult by explaining where your own specific weaknesses may lie in handling the relationship.
Often times a more specific and appropriate way to explain why you are job you want something more challenging, a more collaborative work environment, or maybe the ability to take ownership of your work with little to no guidance?
If you aren't interested in the role specifically, but love the culture of the company...
Sometimes the work culture is what initially attracts candidates to a role, but learning how to say why you want the job is essential to being in consideration as a final candidate for the role. Try researching the company, what kind of work they do, what kind of technologies they use, and how this might fit your previous experience or similar passions of yours.
If you still are having troubles, try asking for help from your recruiter for guidance and speak with them more on strategy to market yourself as a candidate moving forward.
If you work with an agency, you could have an advantage!
Clearly, we are all nervous during an interview and can accidentally say things that might not sound the best. That's why we have a personal relationship with our clients and candidates so we can help give you peace of mind and an additional advantage in the interview by knowing what the client is looking for.
Slipped up and thought it went terrible? Call your recruiter and explain what happened to them and all hope might not be lost.
Interested in speaking with a recruiter?
Interested in speaking with a recruiter about finding your next role? Send a copy of your resume to! We have a variety of open roles in the IT, Professional, and Engineering industries across the US.
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