No one wants to be late for a job interview but sometimes life gets in the way. If your transport fails or you were overly confident about the location of their offices, don’t try and get away with it. They have noted that you are late. Be upfront about what has happened so that it can be put to bed and you can shake off the shaky start and impress with your skills and experience.
TRIP OR FALL
You can’t undo an accidental trip or fall but the one thing you can control is what happens afterwards. The worst thing to do is to become mortified, clam up and stop being yourself. It happened, move on. You can lighten the mood by laughing at yourself. Then the interviewers know you’re okay and everyone can relax. Laughing at yourself shows that you are easy-going and will help them empathise with you, as the saying goes, ‘to err is human’.
Jokes can be used to lighten the mood in an interview but there is a fine line. One person’s sense of humour does not necessarily match another’s. If you make a joke and the other person does not find it funny, you may have put the interview in jeopardy. Whether an interviewer is overly sensitive or if the joke turned out not to be funny, the only thing to do is to admit you were just trying to break the ice to apologise. As soon as you see their body language change, apologise. There is no shame in it.
There is no time limit on correcting mistakes. If you make a mistake or get a fact wrong early in the interview, you can correct yourself at the end. It shows that, even though you made an error, you can admit to and fix it. That kind of thing demonstrates that you can be trusted to deal with issues and don’t have to be constantly guided by your managers.
Calling people by the wrong name. This is almost always a result of concentrating on keeping your composure at the start of the interview and not concentrating when the names are said.
One way of avoiding this is avoiding using names at all but if it is unavoidable, just go for it. If you get the name wrong tell them that you are terrible at names upon first meeting. Most people can understand that.
To avoid other faux pas, don’t say anything unless you are really sure of the fact. People often start talking if there is a lull in the conversation and find themselves babbling. Stay cool. If the interviewer creates a long pause, just smile and wait. If you feel confident, start talking about yourself and how well your skills match the job.
If you must apologise for something you did or didn’t do, make it a sincere apology. If they sense something flippant in your voice, instantly defences are up against you. You don’t look weak if you apologise. You look weaker if you don’t. One thing you shouldn’t do is apologise just because you felt an interview went badly. Apologise for specific mistakes if you must but don’t let them know you felt it was a negative interview just because you felt it went badly.