There's no better feeling than coming out of a job interview and feeling like you nailed it. You and the interviewer clicked, everyone seemed very impressed with your resume and abilities, and there was plenty of positive body language.
On the other hand, there is no worse feeling than knowing that you messed up -- that somewhere in the interview you really bombed and possibly blew your chances of getting a job you really want. You head home,deeply depressed, ready to beat your head against the nearest wall for being such a numbskull.
But before you put that knot on your head, consider that you may be able to salvage the situation. So maybe you called someone by the wrong name or showed up late for the interview -- you still may be able to recover and put yourself in serious contention for the job.
Annie Stevens, managing partner with Boston-based ClearRock, says that the right follow-up plan and quick action can turn around a bad first impression.
Specifically, you should:
* Assess the damage. Take a hard look at how badly you may have hurt your chances, and whether it was a big deal -- or no one else really noticed.
* Act quickly. Don't give the bad impression time to sink in. Take immediate steps to correct it.
* Re-establish your qualifications. If you follow-up with a phone call or e-mail, use it as a chance to again outline your skills and experienced. "Keep this succint," Stevens says.
* Apologize. Don't go overboard, but if you made a glaring error, then you should offer a sincere "I'm sorry."
* Use humor carefully. You can make the situation worse by joking about it.
* Prepare for the next shot. Chances are, you'll be given another chance to interview with someone else, so take steps to make sure you don't repeat your missteps.