There are few experiences as stressful as the interview. You’re up in front of the hiring manager with only a few minutes to make a good impression.
You’re also doing it while millions of people are thinking about you, too. Don’t take the job interview lightly.
Before you walk into the room, take some time to think about what you should say when the interview is over.
When it comes to explaining your weaknesses, timing is everything. Here are a few tips for apologizing for a job interview.
Make sure that you let your interviewer know how the interview went. And then, tell the interviewer how you can improve.
Consider it a final chance to bring your A-game. Next, take your time. You must take the interviewer’s time to speak to you–even if it’s just for a moment.
When you want to apologize, pause so you can give your interviewer time to process your apology. A few seconds can make a huge difference.
It’s OK to be uncomfortable at first. Apologizing is an awkward, uncomfortable experience, especially for someone who usually doesn’t make mistakes.
But remember: You’re doing it for a job. You need to be prepared to talk about your weaknesses.
If you don’t want to talk about them, you’re better off not offering an apology.
You’re better off giving a canned “I’m sorry if my answers were unclear or I didn’t give you enough information.”
How do you want to frame the conversation?
Do you want to wait to talk about your weaknesses until after you’ve discussed your strengths? Or do you want to get into it immediately?
If you’re not sure how to start, it’s helpful to think about your main selling points. Remember, you’re not there to sell yourself; you’re there to sell your strengths and experiences to the company.
When you’re at the interview, think about the topic of your job for the first few minutes.
It’s unlikely that the hiring manager will ask a question or a question related to your weaknesses in the first few minutes, so take the time to think about how you’ll introduce your weaknesses.
Once you’ve thought through the topics you’ll discuss, make sure you say something about them.
For example, if you’re nervous, introduce your nervousness by saying something like: “I’m sorry if my nerves are making my answers unclear.”
Then immediately talk about something you’re good at. If you’re used to talking about how excited you are to learn about the company and how much they appeal to you, try that first.
The more comfortable you feel, the more excited you’ll sound. If you’re unsure about how to talk about your weaknesses, think about where you struggle, then talk about that.
For example: “I don’t have a lot of experience in this area, but I’ve always been great at learning about a new product.”
When it comes to telling a recruiter you’re sorry for something you’ve done, there’s a right way and a wrong way to say it.
The wrong way: “Sorry I missed your call.” The right way: “I’m sorry if I haven’t been responding to your messages.”
Your apology isn’t over until the interviewer says it’s over. So if you want to take the time to do it right, you’ll need to think about what you need to say.
When in doubt, ask the interviewer how he or she would respond to a similar situation.
Asking for advice can help you both determine whether or not an apology is necessary or if it will just make things worse.
Now that you’ve apologized, it’s time to get right into asking for what you need.
It’s important to acknowledge your strengths, and that requires talking about your weaknesses.
You want to make sure you get the information you need so you can work on your weaknesses, not just get the information.
This is where you can offer ways to solve the problem. Before you talk about the problem, listen for questions that will help you ask what you need.
That will help you avoid “arm-twisting,” which is when you beg for the job and they tell you no.
Make sure you get the information you need and then follow up with questions.
For example, if you’re the vice president of operations at a financial services firm and the hiring manager is asking you what the company’s weaknesses are, you can ask, “Have you ever heard of ‘formula burnout’?”
Once you’re more prepared for the questions, answer them to the best of your ability, and don’t be afraid to ask for further clarifications.
For example, if you don’t understand why your performance goals have been set too high, you can ask: “So why do you think you’ll need me to perform at an A+ level on my next assessment?”
Communication is important, and you’re interviewing for a position within a team, so you’re trying to convince someone that you have the skills and experience to make a positive contribution.
To do that, you need to listen to the hiring manager’s feedback about the company, not just your own comments.
That means you can’t just say, “My manager at my last company said I was underqualified.”
First, ask about your strengths, and also ask questions that reinforce your strengths.
For example, if you’re an exceptional communicator, ask the hiring manager to give you some specific examples of ways you’ve helped them make things better.
You’re not trying to be your best self in an interview. Instead, you’re being professional. As a hiring manager, you want to focus on other candidates.
So the last thing you want to do is spend 20 minutes talking about what a great communicator you are.
You want to talk about the company and what they’re looking for, and that’s what you should be focused on during an interview.