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After blowing a job interview tremendously, what can I do to control damage? [closed]

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Brian Burl


( 4 months ago )

Backstory: I work for a big and well-known company in Germany with journalism background. I had scheduled a first phone interview with potential next company I would be working for in a separate conference room, which our company provides for calls and short meetings. It's not a big room used for huge conferences or press releases or anything. So even if it is booked, it is common to check whether or not the room is full, since we have a lot of people not using the room, even if booked.

This call was known by my boss and direct colleagues. I am currently not a full-time employee, but rather in a trainee position, so I am allowed to have these conversations in our rooms, if I let supervisors know beforehand and use my shifted lunch break time to do so.

So, 3 hours ago I had a phone interview with a company I would declare as my dream company to work for. I was well prepared, had written down a lot of facts and questions and was ready to go in.

We scheduled about half an hour for a first "get-to-know" kind of interview and BOY did it go wrong.

The first 5 minutes was an introduction of them and their company and I patiently listened and showed my interest. After their short introduction it was my turn to present myself, what I did, where I worked before etc.

It started off well, but while being on a roll with my own introduction, a coworker burst into my booked room, to check if it was available. Thrown off by this interruption I got very nervous and told him that it was taken (in silence, after excusing myself to the interviewer).

As I imagined that disruption to be very unprofessional I got increasingly nervous and started to breathe heavy and got super distracted and did not really mention anything I am currently doing at my job (which was the entire point of my introduction).

After failing miserably and the interviewer guiding me to go a little deeper on my current tasks I was now so worried that I seemed unprofessional, that I kept breathing strongly and I was sure, he heard it, which resulted in a circle of getting more and more nervous.

If that wasn't enough, I got disrupted again shortly, by another coworker stepping into the room and asking if it was free, so I had to excuse myself again to wave him off.

Needless to say it all got worse. I gave vague answers and did not finish sentences properly with information or details he asked about, but rather, because I was breathing too heavily so I needed a little break. This continued for like a solid 10 minutes until I finally managed to calm down and talk properly and go into detail.

But the damage was done. I could pretty much hear him thinking how much of a waste of time I was. Although I cooled down and proceeded to answer questions properly, he ended the call slightly before scheduled time, thanked me and said they will be in touch.

Obviously I apologized for the disruptions again at the end and that it led me to get nervous in result and told him, that I would be glad to convince him in a personal interview about my strength and qualification for the position. Well, I don't think it mattered though. I could tell he was like "what the hell was that?" at the end.

So that leaves me completely and utterly embarrassed. This has never happened to me before. And I mean it. I never got nervous in a way that prevents me from speaking. Ever. The sad part is: I know for sure, that I would be a great fit for that position and bring a lot of required and desired skills to the table to fulfill that role. And I also know, that this interview did not represent the real, professional and detail oriented ME.

So my question would be:

  • Is there a way to control the damage that happened? I realized, that the odds of me getting invited to their offices for a personal interview are practically ZERO.

  • Asides from that, I would like to reduce damage as much as possible, so I may be able to apply there again in the future. Is there any way to minimize this mess?

Also, I obviously learned, that I should pick a better location to hold phone interviews. At least I do not go out of this experience empty handed, but with a lesson learned!

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