We all want to put our best foot forward when we go to an interview. But sometimes things can go drastically wrong. Don’t despair – even the worst interview fails can be mitigated.

Here we list the three most common interview stuff ups and what steps you can take to turn them around.


  1. You are late for the interview

We all know that being late is a terrible way to begin an interview. In fact, in a recent poll, 40 per cent of interviewers said that being late for an interview is the worst thing you can do.

But even with the best planning in the world things can go wrong; a bad accident on the freeway; a broken down train; an unexpected meeting with your current boss.

What to do: As soon as you realise that you are going to be late, phone the recruiter who scheduled the interview. The person interviewing you would rather have a heads up, and an opportunity to reschedule than sit around waiting for you.

When you arrive, acknowledge how late you are and briefly explain what happened. Don’t labour the point too much though; you need to show that you can put the stress of your late arrival behind you.


  1. You’ve exaggerated your experience and been caught out

We don’t recommend exaggerating your experience, but it’s fair to say that a lot of people unfortunately do embellish their CV a little bit. Remember honesty is always the best policy!! So what do you do when you get caught out in an interview? Perhaps the interviewer has done their own fact checking, or maybe you can’t give accurate details when you’re put on the spot. So awkward.

What to do: Your best bet is to come clean as soon as you can. You can say “I might have embellished a little bit there, but I do have plenty of solid experience in that area.” Then back yourself up with plenty of evidence.

Whatever you do, don’t try to lie your way out of it – a good interviewer will see straight through any story you try to spin.


  1. You didn’t do enough research

At Genesis we always advise our candidates to do some research about the company they’re interviewing with. It’s a no brainer to walk into your interview knowing a bit about what the company does and how you might fit in.

If you fail to do your homework then you might land yourself in an uncomfortable interview. What if your interviewer asks you what you already know about the company?

What to do: Don’t make excuses – that could just make things worse. Honesty really is the best policy. Tell your interviewer that you’re not as prepared as you’d like to be, and then ask them a question about the company to show that you are interested. Something like, “I do know that the company is global – how does being part of such a large network affect the office culture?”


Final word…

Don’t forget – a lot of interview stuff ups can be avoided by ensuring you are fully prepared. And if you do stuff up, don’t overthink it too much, be authentic, and move on. You’ll be surprised how forgiving interviewers can be if you’re honest with them.