Can You Overcome a Bad First Impression?

Posted November 9, 2015

We all make mistakes from time to time, trying to navigate the hiring process, but there are two very different categories of mistakes: little ones and BIG ones.

Little mistakes are small oversights that can be easily corrected in a follow-up email. Big mistakes jeopardize your chances significantly and trying to fix them can be like throwing water on a grease fire.

If you think you may have tripped yourself up during initial interactions with a potential employer, the first thing you need to do is figure out just how bad the mistake is before you can figure out the next move.

Mistakes to avoid at all costs

Some mistakes are opportunity killers and you should do everything in your power to avoid them.

Not following instructions in either the job posting or any other interactions with an employer can really hurt your chances of landing a job, particularly if there is heavy competition for the position. Before you click 'Send' or set out for that interview, make sure you’ve looked over all the pertinent information to guarantee you did as you were told.

Whether it's responding to an email a week late or not being flexible in scheduling an interview time, you need to make your initial dealing with an employer as easy as possible. Make sure you are checking your email regularly and have a weekly block of time in mind for scheduling interviews. It is also a good idea to check your calendar before scheduling anything.

Another big mistake is missing out on key details or not doing even the most basic of research before interacting with the company. For example, if the company has an unusual-sounding name or product, don’t walk into the interview not knowing how to pronounce it.

Fixing minor slip-ups

If you haven't made a head-slapping mistake, but made a minor oversight - like forgetting to mention a key bit of experience - the mistake can easily be fixed by a properly worded follow-up email.

If you did forget to tout part of your background in the interview, a follow-up email should inform the hiring manager that you forgot to portray a key aspect of your background, and explain how that part of your background would be valuable to the company.

If instead of not giving enough information, you said too much – like delving into workplace politics at a past or current employer – a follow-up email should say you were somewhat inarticulate on the day of the interview. Then, explain what you meant to say in the most positive tone possible.

Occasionally, you will get an unexpected surprise in the course of an interview process and you may not always have the best on-the-spot reaction. If something did catch you off guard, explain in the follow-up that you may have given off the wrong impression and explain your more composed thoughts on the matter.

At Ambassador, one of the leading employment firms in the South, we understand that the hiring process is a tricky thing to navigate, and if you have concerns about your performance ability, contact us today and we can get started on addressing your concerns.