Everyone knows that job interviews can be tough, even if you have gone on a lot of them. Because let's face it, trying to convince a bunch of strangers to hire you is a grueling process for most people. One mistake can make the whole experience feel like a total horror show.

Most of us can agree that we feel a high level of anxiety around interviewing, which can make the whole experience difficult and can potentially sabotage our chances of landing a job. But the key to interview success is to keep your tension under control.

Just remember that everyone makes mistakes — we’re only human, after all. So, I've compiled some of the most common ones and how to get past them.

You Bad-Mouth Your Previous Employer

Now remember ladies, this one is always in poor taste. You probably didn’t mean to slip up and say something rude. But, it can inevitably happen. Say your question was, “Can you tell me about a time you showed leadership at work?” Then somehow, the words that come tumbling out of your mouth next went from a great example of you showing initiative, to you making a jab at your old boss who never showed up to meetings on time.

If you catch yourself in the act, take a breath, apologize for phrasing it the way you did, and then clarify.

It’s as easy as saying, “I apologize, I did not mean to take the story there, what I meant to say was…”

Wrap up your answer by being extra positive and putting the focus back on your actions — and not on your former bosses, sis.

For next time,

The next time you go off script, read this article by GlassDoor for ways to talk about former bosses at your next interview.

You forget a word or two 

Oh no, what’s the name of that business term again? How do you pronounce that one word? Being nervous during an interview can sometimes result in us either completely blanking on a word or stumbling up so much that we become flustered.

The key is to remain calm. Don’t try to make something up if you don't know the answer. Instead, work around the problem by just being level headed and honest.

Try this: “Sorry, I’m completely blanking on the name of that new platform —which is crazy because I work on it every day. But what’s more important is that it has helped us as a company remain productive and hit quarterly goals… etc.”

For next time,

Make a cheat sheet with all essential terms that you think will come up in the interview, and take another quick look before you head into your meeting.

A question throws you off guard

No matter how long you prepare, there’s always going to be one question that throws you. And chances are, the interviewer knows it will.

So, take your time. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “That’s a great question — let me think about it” or “Do you mind if I take a minute or two to think it over?” Giving yourself a few extra moments to collect yourself, it shows that you’re taking the process seriously and want to respond the best you can. Remember: An interview’s not a timed test.

For next time, 

Take a look at this guide from The Muse to help you the next time you stumble.

There is a long, Awkward Pause

We have all been there when there is a long, awkward silence after you finished answering a question. What do you do with your hands? Should you say something to follow up?

Chances are, an awkward pause doesn’t always translate the same way to the person that's interviewing you. He or she may be taking notes or thinking of their next steps as well. The silence between talking is entirely reasonable, so give this person some time to process what you just said before jumping right back into the convo. Just make sure that you have a great, inviting smile on your face so that you don't seem uncomfortable.

For next time,

Try using a counting system. Pause for a few seconds, roughly five, in between answers. Odds are the pauses aren't as long as you think they are.

Your Phone Goes Off

Whatever you do, don’t pick up. But also, don’t ignore it, that'll make things worse.  Just apologize for the interruption, turn it to silent, put it back in your bag, and move on. It's not the end of the world. 

For next time, 

Turn it off. And maybe double check just because, sis.

You Have a Wardrobe Malfunction

Despite picking out your outfit and preparing everything the night before, have you ever managed to somehow spill coffee on yourself moments before its showtime? And, of course, there’s no time to change or find an alternate.

So what do you do? Remind the hiring manager that you’re human by acknowledging the situation. You could say something like,

“I apologize for my outfit. I was so excited to come in this morning that I seemed to spill my morning cup all over myself."

The reason you want to acknowledge this is not to show off your wicked sense of humor, but rather so that the hiring manager knows you’re not always a hot mess who would walk in with a stained shirt for their interview.

For next time,

Remember that Tide Stain Sticks are always your best friend.

Just remember that with every new interview comes some fumbles or mishaps. Sometimes you are going to make mistakes, and it’s going to be something that you want to dwell endlessly on. But, don't beat yourself up.  You're not the first — and you definitely won't be the last one — to make a mistake during an interview. The most important thing is to cut yourself some slack and remember that not every conversation is going to go entirely smoothly.

If you can handle it like a boss, there’s no reason that one mistake should affect your chances of getting the job. Who knows, maybe the way you respond in these situations is what lands you your dream gig.

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