Career Guides >> Browse Articles >> Government Application Process


How to Save an Interview Gone Wrong

How to Save an Interview Gone Wrong

Steve Berman | GovCentral

Sticky Situation No. 4: Sweaty Palms Syndrome

To be nervous before and during an interview makes you human. To suffer the jitters to such an extent that you are shaking, stuttering and sweating profusely will sound the alarm to employers that you aren’t a stable enough person to work with every day. After all, if you’re freaking out so much that you can’t give reasoned responses, you won’t give a very good first impression.

Solution: Practice, Practice, Practice

The way to avoid rattling the table with your nerves is to prepare. Preparation can take many forms, depending on what works for you. For some, visualization is enough. Others need to practice reciting answers in front of a mirror or friend. The key for most people is to practice the same answers several times — if you only do it once, you might forget it when the spotlight’s shining on you. Practicing the same answer five times (or more) will trigger your brain’s memory. So even if you get flustered during the interview, you’ll find yourself reciting the intelligent responses you’d planned on giving.

Sticky Situation No. 5: Too Little, Too Late?

The hour’s almost up, and you have this lingering feeling that you haven’t done enough. Some of your answers were flat, or maybe you weren’t able to hit some of the talking points you’d prepared. However, the interviewer’s time is undoubtedly valuable; if they’re clearly wrapping things up, you can’t exactly beg for more time. How do you turn a mediocre interview into a good one when time is running out?

Solution: Post-Interview Damage Control

Focus on what you can do afterward. Thank you notes are required these days, but you should know that by now! You don’t need to keep it simple though, especially if you want to make a couple of points you didn’t get to during the actual interview. Don’t write a novel, but feel free to touch on additional skills and reiterate your interest in the position. In the case of a good follow up letter, sometimes the last impression can mean more than the first one.

Just getting an interview should boost your confidence. Something about you, your resume, cover letter, or references got you this far. No interview goes perfectly, but as long as you keep your wits about you and prepare for the worst, you have a good chance of staying in the running.

Govcentral School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use Govcentral's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.