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Had a Bad Interview? Here’s How to Bounce Back

Published date: 2020/06

Had A Bad Interview Featured 2

If you have ever walked out of an IT interview thinking, ‘Wow, that didn’t go so well’, you’re not alone. Almost everyone has at least one bad job interview experience that they remember!

The good news is that it’s what you do next in your tech job search that counts. A bad job experience gives you strengths you didn’t previously have because this new experience teaches you where you went wrong, or which questions you didn’t anticipate. You get the chance to learn and recover so that next time you sit for an interview, you are truly ready.

It comes down to picking yourself up, embracing the experience and most importantly, learning from it. To help you in this endeavour, here are four steps to moving on from a bad job interview.

Centre Yourself

When you first emerge from a bad job interview it’s natural to feel a sinking pit in your stomach and frantically run through all the things that went wrong. Depending on how keen you are on the role it can knock your confidence if you don’t feel good about it the moment you leave the room.

Time has a wonderful way of shifting your perspective, so you should give yourself time to recover from the experience and take a moment to pause. A brisk walk, a relaxing coffee, whatever works to help you feel calmer.

In that calmness will come a greater sense of clarity, enabling you to objectively review the job interview, which is an essential component of moving on. Once you have centred yourself you can rehash the interview and write down all the points you think were negative.

Reflect and Review the Experience

After a bad job interview, you might experience feelings of failure but it’s important to remember that the technology field is where failure is often embraced and encouraged. From Steve Jobs to Jeff Bezos, countless top-notch tech professionals failed many times before hitting their sweet spot.

In a similar vein, a failed interview allows you to gain experience. It may help you to note that this new study from North Carolina State University and Microsoft has found that tech interviews today evaluate whether a candidate has performance anxiety over competency.

This means that Recruitment Managers are starting to shift their perspective on such interviews, focusing not on the outcome but on what you demonstrate about your process. If this is the case in your situation, the interview didn’t go as badly as you think.

If the areas you lacked came down to preparation, the questions such as those in our earlier blog, or you didn’t have enough market, product or company knowledge – these are things you can easily address for the next opportunity.

Make a Plan and Practice!

Now that you have a greater understanding of the areas you’d like to improve upon, you can plan better responses next time. In our experience, the most successful interviewees are ones that can accurately convey their past projects concisely.

We suggest that you prepare at least three projects you took part in that cover popular interview areas such as problem-solving, collaboration and conflict resolution. Be sure you can explain your project methodology, the outcome, and the impact it had (or value you brought).

Once you have planned your projects, practice, practice, practice. You can do this with a family member, friend, or with your Recruitment Consultant. Are you providing too many unnecessary details? Are you unclear? Are you effectively highlighting your achievements? Encourage them to give you feedback so you can further hone your answers.

Make Peace That It Wasn’t Right for You

It is good interview etiquette to send the Hiring Manager an email thanking them for the opportunity, which you can access through your Recruitment Consultant. A follow-up email makes you a memorable candidate and if they turn you down for the position, this email can be where you ask for detailed feedback on where you can improve for next time.

If you’ve reflected on where you went wrong and you receive a rejection email, try not to be too despondent. The interview process is a big learning curve and you have learned something from it. Try to remain upbeat, especially knowing you’ve taken a big positive out of a negative by honing your interview technique.

Though you weren’t the right candidate for this role, the next role that comes along could be the one and everything you learned will be applicable. There is a role out there for you and making peace that this wasn’t it will help you to move on to the next adventure with a spring in your step.


Bouncing back from a bad interview takes a moment as it’s about restoring your confidence as much as learning from mistakes you may have made. As many of us find it difficult to pinpoint our interview flaws, working with a technology and digital Recruitment Specialist can be highly beneficial. With expertise in gleaning honest interview feedback from clients, they can filter this back to you to help you improve.

Here at EITR, we take an active role in helping our candidates prepare for future IT job interviews, from advice about the right questions to inside information about the company, to mock interview sessions. If you’re ready to embark on your next interview adventure, connect with us as we have a range of exciting IT jobs across Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. As a premier Technology and Digital Recruitment specialist, we’d love to support you on your rebound from a bad job interview, ensuring the next one gives you the tech career success you desire.

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