I have often times said that an idiot can do most jobs, it is when things go wrong that you find out what people are made of. I am not saying that you should make something go wrong but if it does you need to know how to handle it. One of the best podcasts available, 99% Invisible, did an episode on this issue, Children of the Magenta. If you do not prepare for the worst then things can go REALLY wrong.
I am not saying that a bad interview is as bad as a plane crash but for the candidate, it can be life altering. I have previously hired 1% of candidates that applied. So if a candidate had a mishap in the interview that has a big impact on them and the recruiter.
You get to the interview and realize you left your jacket at home. You have done your homework and you know they expect a suit. Do you turn around and arrive late or keep going? Keep going! Now I am not saying that you should lie, but you definitely don’t want to ignore it. You can either tell them up front that you were halfway to their office when you realized that you left it hanging in hallway or you could tell them about how you spilled gas on it that morning on the way in. Your call but don’t act like you don’t realize it’s an issue.
You notice a mistake on your resume while sitting in the lobby. Tell them upfront if and when they ask for your resume. You don’t have to be self deprecating but when they ask “How are you doing today?” just say something like “I was great till I just noticed a mistake on my resume…” Tell them what it is and move on, don’t dwell on it.
You get the feeling that the interview is ending way too quickly. It depends on how you handle feedback. If you can handle negative feedback well then when they ask if you have questions you can say “I know we have only had about 15 minutes together but do you feel I could be a good match for the position and your company?” If they voice any concerns be sure to handle them correctly.
On your way home you you start wondering if you did your best. Be sure to write thank you emails to everyone you interviewed with. You did get their contact information, right?
Your nerves start getting the best of you. Take a breath and just admit that you are a bit nervous then move on.
Just remember, things happen. All you can do is your best and learn from any mistakes you make.
Doing a common thing uncommonly well brings success.
Henry John Heinz