Bouncing back from an interview bomb

Up until a couple of months ago, every experience I’d had on an interview had been positive. I had always been well prepared, dressed for the part, and ready to talk about why I was the perfect fit for a magazine.

Of course, there are internships that I didn’t get. But I walked away from every interview experience knowing that it was a positive one.

A while ago, I was sitting in an important meeting for my college’s housing placements next year. If I didn’t attend, my friends and I would be kicked to the curb.

I had applied to at least a dozen magazines for a summer internship and was still hoping for a placement when my phone lit up with a 212 area code. Manhattan! I was finally hearing from someone.

I quickly risked being homeless next year in favor of having an internship. I have priorities, people!

 

I was shocked to be called from one of my most coveted opportunities out of the blue; I had applied to them months ago! The phone call turned into a spontaneous interview and I was excited to be able to stay calm, cool, and collected during my surprise phone interview…until I was asked what my favorite article in the magazine was. The silence was deafening as I realized I hadn’t read the magazine recently. I was panicking as I felt so unprepared. The interview took a turn for the worse when I couldn’t think of an article and I hung up feeling awful…and potentially homeless.

As upsetting as my bomb was, I learned afterwards how important it is to think on your feet.

If I could get a redo, I would know to say, “I’m sorry, I just left a meeting and need to think on that. Do you mind if I reread the magazine and give you a call back?” But of course, in my panic, I didn’t think like that.

Even though the memory of that disastrous phone call still gives me the chills, I’m happy it happened. I feel more prepared to go into situations that make me nervous or overwhelm me.

I still hope to have an opportunity with that magazine one day and I know that when I get a second shot, I’ll be ready for anything they throw at me.

About the Author:

My name is Nicole Knoebel and I’m a junior at Marist College majoring in English with a concentration in Writing and minoring in Journalism. I’ve interned at Seventeen and ELLE magazines and will be interning with Us Weekly this upcoming summer. I am the President and Co-Editor in Chief of Her Campus Marist, a staff writer for the Arts and Entertainment section of Marist’s school newspaper, and a sushi and pop culture addict. You can follow me on Twitter at @nicoleknoebel!

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  • Kirsten Anderson

    Such an important realization that sometimes it’s better to say “let me get back to you on that” instead of coming up with some quick response. I have been in the process of learning that as well! Thanks for sharing your experience!