If you make a mistake mid-interview, your best option is to remain calm and try to recover the situation.

An interview provides a myriad of opportunities to embarrass yourself. That’s one big reason people get so nervous before getting in the hot seat.

However, if you walk into the interview with a calm and determined mindset, you’ll be able to think on your feet and recover from any blunder, including over sharing, not preparing, or even having your phone go off, says Peter Harrison, CEO of job search site Snagajob.

We asked Harrison for his advice on how to recover from eight common interview mistakes that people make. Here’s what he shared:

1. Asking about salary too soon

It may seem like there’s never a right time to bring up salary — but there are certainly wrong times.

It’s no secret that money is important to most people — but you don’t want the hiring manager to think that’s what drives you, or what’s most important to you.

Bringing up salary too soon can send the wrong message, so if you really love the position and know deep down you’d take it regardless of the pay, it might not be worth bringing it up until the very end.

However, if you can’t help yourself and you mention it too early, there are ways to bounce back.

How to recover:

If you ask about pay and your interviewer seems agitated, Harrison says you can quickly save the conversation by saying, “I might be jumping the gun a bit, but I’m just very excited about this opportunity and want to ensure it is the right fit.”

And just like that you can impress your interviewer with your eagerness, as well as your ability to react to body language cues.

2. Not preparing for the interview

There’s really no good excuse for not doing your homework. And asking questions like, “So, what does your company do?” or “Who is your CEO?” will tell the hiring manager you failed to prepare — which may also hint that you’re not excited or serious about this opportunity.

If, for whatever reason, you couldn’t or didn’t put in the time to at least learn the basics of the company you’re interviewing with, it may be hard to recover — but it’s not impossible.

How to recover:

If the interviewer politely corrects something you say, don’t try to keep your pride intact by challenging them or arguing with them because it will only make you look worse, Harrison says.

Instead, be upfront by acknowledging that you made an error and then ease the tension by asking an insightful question that would help clarify your misunderstanding. This way, you show that you can admit when you’re wrong and learn from it — something any employer wants to see in a potential hire.

3. Showing up late or too early

Showing up late is one of the easiest ways to make a horrible first impression. It makes you appear irresponsible and is just plain rude.

But as it turns out, showing up too early can be a deal-breaker, too.

Experts say arriving over 15 minutes early can be frustrating for a hiring manager. “There is a reason the interview was scheduled when it was, and your early arrival could throw a curveball into their schedule,” writes Business Insider’s Kathleen Elkins.

How to recover:

Sometimes an event outside of your control actually does contribute to your tardiness. If that’s the case, Harrison suggests you call to warn the employer that you will be late and to give them your updated estimated time of arrival. Be sure to apologize and tell them you understand if the interview will still need to end at the same time. This shows that are considerate of their time.

If you’re early, stop at a nearby coffee shop or walk around the neighborhood for a few minutes to kill some time.

4. Forgetting to put your phone on silent


A phone call, text, or notification disruption can be mortifying — even if you don’t have an embarrassing ringtone.

“This is a universal flub that we all try to avoid in one-to-one meetings,” Harrison says. But it happens all the time.

How to recover:

Your best option is to quickly turn your phone off and apologize. Don’t just silence it — this mistake would be hard to recover from twice, he says.

If you left your phone on because you were waiting for an important call — like your wife going into labor — or dealing with an emergency — like an ill parent — quickly explain and move on with the interview.

5. Bad-mouthing your old boss or company

If you’re leaving your current company because you’re unhappy, you may be tempted to turn your interview into a venting session.


Save your whining for family and friends.

“No matter how bad your situation was, you shouldn’t speak negatively about a former boss,” says Harrison.

Companies are looking to hire upbeat and positive people, not complainers, he explains.

How to recover:

Harrison says you’re going to have to smooth things over by following up with something more neutral like, “It clearly was not the right fit for me, but I learned a lot about the business and got some great experience.”

6. Getting too comfortable

While you want to appear relaxed, don’t take it too far. This is not the time to roll up your sleeves.

Harrison says building rapport during a job interview is good, so long as you don’t forget you’re in a formal, professional setting.

“If you get too comfortable or relaxed with the conversation, you could find yourself talking too much, getting off topic, or even saying something inappropriate,” he says.

How to recover:

If you notice your interviewer looks uneasy, be sure to steer the conversation back toward the company or position you’re applying for, he advises. Taking charge of the conversation can actually work in your favor because it shows that you have self awareness and can read the body language of your interviewer and react accordingly.

Original article published by businessinsider.com 