Everyone makes mistakes, and yet, they can still cost you a job before you even have it!
Maybe you submit your job application and only realize after that you addressed your cover letter to the wrong company, or you’ve made a few typos throughout your resume. Maybe you nail all of those things, head into the interview with full confidence, and then fumble your way through multiple answers. Whatever happened, you think the job’s out of your hands now…
But, it’s not! “Mistakes happen to all of us, and when they do, the best thing to do is acknowledge it ASAP and correct it,” says Style Nine to Five Founder, Christie Lohr. A hiring manager will be understanding if you reach back out to correct an error, and possibly even impressed. So, don’t worry if you screw up – just know how to fix your mistakes tactfully.
In the Application Process
Even if you proofread, a number of mistakes can happen in the application process – anything from small typos or getting names wrong to fully forgetting attachments or sending the wrong attachments. Rest assured, none of these are huge problems, and anything that happens in the application process is fixable with a follow-up email. “You don’t need to over-apologize for something like forgetting to add an attachment to an email, but you should quickly respond, double-check that you’re correcting your mistake, and drop the hiring manager a quick note about it to take ownership and make it right,” says Christie.
Christie recommends that you keep it simple in this kind of case. Her example is as follows:
“Hi again, Christie! I was so excited about sending in my application that I hit send before including the attachment – I’ve added it here. Apologies for the oversight and I’m looking forward to speaking with you soon about the next steps! Thanks!”
In this example, you’re owning up to the mistake, apologizing, and circling back to your excitement about the job. Plus, it’s quick, straight to the point and you’re taking action – it’s not a long-winded apology with a bunch of excuses. The hiring manager will appreciate it.
In the Interview Process
Job interviews take plenty of practice to perfect, and even if you’ve had plenty, stress can still get to you. There’s always a chance of misspeaking, answering a question incorrectly, or forgetting to answer a question. But even after a job interview is over, it doesn’t mean that your chance to answer these questions are. In fact, some interviewers may suggest that you email them after the interview if you have anything you’d like to add on – this is a great opportunity to take advantage of if it’s extended to you.
This doesn’t mean you get to write up a new answer for every single question and send off a novel to the hiring manager, though – if there are one or two questions you know you could’ve done better on, fix them after the interview.
Sending follow-up emails is a must after any job interview, and Christie suggests that this is the right time to correct any interview errors. “Interview mistakes are something you can address in your follow-up thank you email, which you should send sooner rather than later,” says Christie. “While you may have made a mistake, it’s a good opportunity to show the hiring manager that you’ve been reflecting on the interview and that the job is important to you.” This may even win you extra points with the hiring manager, as it shows that you’re dedicated enough to this job opportunity to take the time and iron out your mistakes post-interview.
If it’s a quick answer, feel free to send it with your thank you. For instance, let’s say they asked you about your videography experience and you blanked even though you have plenty – you can always quickly acknowledge the jobs you worked where videography came into play in your follow-up email, apologizing for blanking during the interview.
Otherwise, Christie suggests taking ownership but stating that you’d like the opportunity to explain further at a later date. “You could say something simple like, “I’ve been thinking a lot about our conversation and feel like I could have been more articulate on (whatever topic). I’d love the chance to provide further information at a second interview”,” says Christie. To ensure they’re enticed enough to want this second interview, Christie also suggests that you can offer a small amount of detail. “You could even add a line or two to touch on points you didn’t get to cover in the interview, but keep it brief and don’t go overboard. You’re demonstrating that you’re really interested and want to put your best foot forward.”
Correcting application and interview errors is less stressful than it seems. The key is to own up to your mistake, apologize, continue to express interest in the position and, if necessary, offer enough detail to get you another shot. Just don’t freak out if you make any mistakes in the process – if anything, view them as an opportunity to demonstrate your value!
Applying to jobs right now? Spice up your application with a Style Nine to Five Job Application Template!
Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
Feature Image: Adobe Stock