Remaining Professional When an Interview Doesn’t Go Your Way

When an interview falls apart, stay professional. Tips to handle setbacks with grace and secure success with Barracuda's guidance.

When an interview falls apart, stay professional with Barracuda’s expert advice. Learn essential etiquette for navigating setbacks.


It is imperative to understand motives while in the job interview. For both the candidate and the hiring manager it is important to understand there is stress involved. Stress could be from the  job search process, family issues, financial issues, or overall frustration of circumstances on either side of the table. Be understanding.

When you go into an interview, it is important to continuously maintain situational awareness. Throughout the interview there is going to be an exchange of information that is centered around two parties’ motives. The company hiring manager may be under professional stress to make the right decision, and you may be stressed from trying to obtain the right position for your future.


Communication is key, from nonverbal to verbal. As soon as you step into the interview room, you’re being assessed in a variety of areas. If a you go into an interview and the result was not what you expected, it is a good time for self-reflection and evaluation of your actions as well as the hiring managers. At the end of the day we are all human. However, it is important to keep certain things in mind to ensure that you provide your best presentation to the hiring manager.

When in doubt, always present yourself in the most positive light. If a company sees potential, they will certainly take interest and present an offer. It is important to understand the motive of the hiring manager is to hire the right candidate, and your motive should always be to find the right opportunity for you.

Where it Falls Apart

If the interview results are not what you had hope there could be a variety of things that played a factor. To help yourself identify potential areas that might have gone wrong, reflect on these nine things.

  1. Did you lie about something?
  2. Did you have proper engagement? Did you put your phone to the side on silent? Did you maintain good body language and eye contact? Were you able to identify the motive behind the hiring managers questions?
  3. Did you dress appropriately for your interview? Did you present yourself in a professional manner?
  4. Did you refrain from bad mouthing your previous employer or fellow co workers in your current position you are wanting to leave?
  5. Did you refuse to smile or refuse to present yourself in a friendly way?
  6. Did you cross your arms or present yourself in a way that closed you off from having proper engagement with the hiring manager?
  7. Did you say, “it’s on my resume?” Tip: hiring managers are focused on building a relationship with a you by having a conversation. They are not wanting a cookie cutter robot with no social skills.
  8. Did you come across as entitled? Tip: it is never recommended to bring up your firm pay rate, or desired vacation days, or benefits like the company owes you something before you put in the work.
  9. Once the interview is concluded: did you say, “Nope, I don’t have any more questions” or did you come prepared to engage with the interviewer?

For the Next Interview

You won’t get a second chance at this one. If it didn’t work out, it didn’t work out. The best thing you can do to prepare for the next one is focusing on controlling what you can control and leaving the rest to the process. At the end of the day, if you did the best you can that is all anyone can ask of you. It is not always easy when an opportunity does not work out. There may be a sense of doubt or rejection, but it is important to put those feeling to the side and simply be your best self the next time.

When an interview falls apart, stay professional, handle setbacks with grace, and secure success with Barracuda’s guidance.

Barracuda provides crucial support when interviews don’t go as planned. We offer guidance on handling setbacks gracefully, staying professional, and regrouping for future opportunities. With Barracuda‘s assistance, you’ll turn interview disappointments into valuable learning experiences, ensuring you’re better prepared for success in your next encounter.