Damage Control: What To Do If You’ve Blown An Interview

13 October, 2016


In my last blog post, What Your Boss Really Wants From You, I suggested ways you could impress your boss. I wrote the post as part preparation for an interview I was having with a Really Big Prospective Client. To give you an idea of just how big: he’s responsible for multiple countries, thousands of employees, a dozen regional hubs, and a few dedicated aircraft.

See what I mean?

The brief: to raise the RBPC’s personal brand profile within his organisation so that he can stand out from other regional CEOs and impress the global office.

Or at least, that’s how I understood it.

When I went in for the pitch meeting I broke three golden rules:

  1. I hadn’t slept enough. In other words, my brain was foggy and my tongue was disconnected.
  2. I hadn’t washed my hair. I’d had it cut the day before and it looked kind of ‘mushroomy’ (to quote my son).
  3. I hadn’t read the brief properly. Not only did the RBPC want to impress the boss, he also wanted to impress his 3500 staff. And he focused on that last bit. The bit I didn’t prepare for.

Suffice it to say it was not my finest hour. Or to be more realistic, 20 minutes.

So how to deal with it?

I can beat myself up and let the opportunity go. After all, these experiences can make one emotionally raw and vulnerable and the sooner we forget about them, the better, right?

Or I can look for redemption.

Damage control can be risky – so the second option is a tricky path to navigate – but I don’t want to let an opportunity go where I know I can add value. Twenty years of building relationships in the corporate world counts for something. And to be honest, I know I’m up for the challenge.

So here’s my plan. I will:

  1. Forgive myself. Nothing good ever comes from feeling shameful or inadequate.
  2. Learn from it. Think about the information I should have had, but didn’t.
  3. Ask for a second chance. Strategy: to give the required information in a few sentences to clear things up. No apologies or lengthy explanations.

What would you do? I’d love to know. Please leave a comment.

Robyn Young - Personal Leadership Branding for Executives

About the Author

Robyn Young

As a personal leadership branding strategist, Robyn Young helps individuals identify and articulate their unique strengths, values and goals, empowering them to build an authentic personal brand that resonates with their stakeholders.

Robyn has a keen eye for aligning personal attributes with professional aspirations, helping her clients project a powerful and compelling image in their chosen field.