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  1. Blog
  2. Interviewing
  3. July 19, 2023

Did You Bomb a Job Interview? These 4 Follow-Up Emails Can Keep You in the Running

It happens to all of us

woman sending a follow-up email after bombing an interview
Photo courtesy of Elisa Ventur

This article is part of InHerSight's Finding a Job series. Discover our most popular and relevant resources for finding a job fast—at a company that cares as much about your career as you do.

At some point in your career, it’s likely you’ll feel like you bombed an interview. Maybe your nerves got the best of you, you didn’t do enough research on the company beforehand, you blanked on a common interview question, or you simply were having an “off” day. Whatever the reason, there’s no need to fret right away.

There are ways you can come back from a less-than-stellar interview, starting with a follow-up email to the interviewer. This email will serve multiple purposes—to express your thanks, while also making the case for why you deserve to get another interview.

Before we get into tips and templates for sending a follow-up email after a bad interview, let’s talk about how you can best prepare yourself for a job interview in the first place and how to decipher if you really bombed the interview or not. 

Read more: Why Sending a Follow-up Email After Your Job Interview Is So Important

How to effectively prepare for an interview

Even the most seasoned interviewees get nervous still before an important interview. Often, it’s because of the way our brains are naturally hardwired. 

“Whenever we face big moments like a job interview or public speaking, the fear-generating amygdala is trying to protect us,” says executive coach and leadership development coach Victoria Myatlyuk. “Unfortunately, this ancient part of the brain treats the eyes of the interviewer or the audience we are about to present to as a potential threat as if we were seen by and exposed to dangerous predators.” 

But there are ways to calm your nerves and prepare more for an interview to avoid botching it:

1. Research the company

Do plenty of research on the company you’re interviewing with. What are their values? How big is the company? How long have they existed? What’s different about them? You should also know the job description and posting well so you can speak to specific duties and keywords. 

2. Review your work and experience

What makes you stand out above everyone else? Before the interview, prepare for STAR-method questions by thinking of your top three selling points, your top three biggest achievements, and times when you’ve made a mistake in your career. You should also plan how to address anything the interviewer might have reservations about, like a long break between jobs or a quick stay at a company where you were laid off. 

3. Study and practice for tough interview questions 

There are tons of different interview styles, so you won’t always know what kind of discussion you’re going to get. You might have to tackle hard interview questions, or you might get to enjoy an easy breezy conversation with a peer. A major tip? Assume you’ll get the toughest questions, know your salary goals, and be prepared to negotiate for them.

4. Prepare a list of questions for the interviewer

The interview should always go both ways, and intelligent questions will always give you a few bonus points. Come prepared with a list of questions to ask in the interview that will tell you more about the company, culture, or role. 

5. Try a mock interview

A mock interview is a type of practice interview that allows you to hone your interviewing skills by formulating responses in real time, presenting what you’ve researched about the organization, and receiving feedback on your verbal and non-verbal communication. You can either stage one with a real interviewer or a trusted friend or family member.

Did you bomb the interview? Here’s how to tell

Sometimes, even if you did your homework, you might feel like something was off during the interview. If the chemistry was missing with the interviewer, try not to read into their body language or tone of voice too much—this isn’t always the best indicator of whether you’ll get another interview. Instead, focus more on your own performance and how it impacted the rest of the discussion.

These are a few things to consider that could mean you didn’t perform well during an interview:

  • You hesitated on an answer or or didn’t a question at all

  • The interview ended early without explanation

  • You had an unreliable Wi-Fi connection during the interview

  • The interviewer didn't try to sell you on the position

  • You didn’t ask the interviewer any questions at the end of the conversation

  • You overall felt unprepared 

5 tips for a follow-up email after a negative interview experience

First things first, only send this type of email if you are absolutely certain that you didn’t do your best in the interview. We’re often self-critical of our performances in interviews, and being too quick to send a follow-up email with an apology can cause unnecessary damage to your chances of getting the job.

“You can definitely use [the follow-up email] to kind of supplement anything you feel like maybe you didn’t get a chance to say in the interview, for whatever reason, like if you got nervous,” says career and executive coach Heather Yurovsky. “It could still be a wonderful conversation, but maybe you feel like you left out that one point that you feel would push you into the ‘we must hire this person’ pile. So usually you can refer back to something you talked about and expand on it a little. We don’t want these emails to get long, but it is an opportunity to give a little more information if you feel like that would be helpful.” 

If you decide to acknowledge your feelings in your follow-up email, keep these tips in mind.

1. Send the email soon after the interview 

Your follow-up email should be sent within 24 hours of the interview. It’s important to send the email soon so the meeting is fresh on everyone’s mind, but make sure you proofread your message before sending—simple grammatical errors could be detrimental.

2. Write a good email subject line

Subject lines should be simple and direct. Don’t be misleading—make sure it’s clear why you’re writing. Some effective subject lines might include:

  • “Thank you for the interview”

  • “Interview follow-up”

  • “Application check-in”

  • “Great to meet you”

  • “Additional information after my interview”

3. Be honest

After thanking them for their time, be honest about what you could’ve done better, but don’t overshare. It shouldn’t be as explicit as, “I’m so sorry I completely bombed the interview,” but you can say something along the lines of, “I wanted to expand on a point about my leadership experience,” or “I have more concrete examples I want to share with you regarding my software knowledge.”

4. Follow up on your responses

If you feel like you blanked or didn’t fully elaborate in one of your answers, this email is your chance to add more context. Mention the specific question from the interview that you struggled with and share what you wish you had gotten across. Send the interviewer concrete information—an anecdote, statistic, portfolio link, or award that backs up your experience. 

For example, you could acknowledge that you had a hard time selecting a story to discuss about overcoming a challenge at work, but you thought of an example as soon as you hung up or left the office. Give specific details, but keep it brief.

5. Ask for another conversation

If you feel comfortable, you can politely request another brief meeting. Suggest a short call to elaborate more on your experience and offer numerous days and times that work for you. If you are offered more time with the interviewer, it’ll be higher stakes—you’ll want to be extra prepared, relaxed, and confident.

4 templates for emails to send after you bomb an interview

Example 1: When you blanked on one of your answers, you can say this 

Hi (Name of interviewer),

Thank you for taking the time to speak today. I’m very interested in the role and am excited about the opportunity to work at the company.

I wanted to follow up with you about a specific part of our conversation. I know I struggled to select a story to share when you asked about a situation in which I demonstrated leadership. After we ended the call, I realized I should've told you about the marketing committee I led during my previous role. 

This cross-functional team consisted of five individuals from various departments, and our objective was to ensure that all company materials adhered to brand guidelines while maintaining a high standard of design quality. Our efforts led to a 50% increase in employee satisfaction with internal materials, which positively impacted overall engagement and productivity.

If possible, I would love the opportunity to speak with you again briefly so that we can further discuss my leadership experience. Are you available for 10 minutes sometime this week? 

Again, thank you for your time and consideration during our interview. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation, and I am genuinely excited about the potential to contribute to (company name).


(Your signature)

(Your printed name and contact information)

Example 2: In cases where you didn’t hit on your main selling points, you can quickly detail them in your email 

Dear (Name of interviewer),

Thanks so much for your time interviewing me for the (job position) role today. I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about this position and meet you and other members of the team.

After our discussion, I realized that I should’ve expanded on my analytical abilities. In my previous role as a marketing analyst, I was responsible for conducting market research and identifying growth opportunities. By leveraging my analytical skills, I was able to analyze market trends, customer behavior, and competitive landscapes to develop data-driven strategies. For example, I implemented a comprehensive market segmentation approach that resulted in a 15% increase in customer engagement and a 10% boost in overall sales within six months. 

Please let me know if you would be available for a brief follow-up conversation sometime this week. My schedule is flexible. In addition, please don't hesitate to contact my references if you have any questions or concerns about my professional performance.

I look forward to hearing from you,

(Your signature)

(Your printed name and contact information)

Example 3: If something on your mind was distracting you during the interview, send a variation of this email

Hi (Name of interviewer), 

I hope this email finds you well. I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to speak with you earlier today regarding the (job title) position at (company name). I’m so excited about the role and the potential to contribute to the success of your organization.

Unfortunately, the fire alarm in my building went off at 3 a.m., and I felt I was not at my best during the interview. Consequently, I’d love to clarify what I said about my coding experience. 

I have four years of experience with Python, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and I’ve also had the opportunity to work on several diverse and challenging assignments. For example, in my previous role, I led the development of a customer relationship management (CRM) system from scratch. This involved designing the architecture, implementing core functionalities, and integrating it with external systems. The project was a success, resulting in a streamlined sales process, increased productivity, and improved customer satisfaction.

I hope this additional context gives you a better idea of my proficiency in front-end technologies, expertise in database management, and track record of successful projects. I really enjoyed speaking with you, and I look forward to the next steps.


(Your signature)

(Your printed name and contact information)

Example 4: If you were simply feeling off, this email could work in your favor

Dear (Name of interviewer), 

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me. I enjoyed speaking with you, and I feel that the position is a great match for my academic and professional background.

However, I’m unsure whether my interest and enthusiasm for the job came across in our interview. I’ve been feeling under the weather this week, and I don't think I was able to fully express my suitability for the position. I want to assure you I believe my sense of initiative, high level of motivation, and positive attitude make me a prime candidate for this position.

If you have the time, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak with you again this week.

Thank you again for the opportunity, and I look forward to hearing from you.


(Your signature)

(Your printed name and contact information)

Read more: How to Talk About Getting Fired in a Job Interview

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