We have all bombed in an interview in our personal lives or when representing the company that keeps us gainfully employed. As an Owner’s Representative we have the opportunity to witness some great interviews and some horrific blunders. So what do you do when things are not going so well?

We recently interviewed a design firm for a project. They were highly qualified, well prepared, and considered a front runner. The interview started off with introductions and general niceties and proceeded into a discussion about the site. The firm went on to talk about what a great site it was and how wonderful it was that there was plenty of room for parking, building orientation, and ease of access. Then they needed to pause. The body language and murmurs in the room led them to believe something was amiss, and it was. The team asked if there was an issue and one of the interviewees asked them to forward their slide. After they did they were informed they were in error and looking at the wrong site. Both sides were in for a long 60 minutes.

So what would you do? The firm acknowledged their error and moved on; the site discussion was a minute part of the presentation anyway. What else could they have done?

  • Don’t forget that the interview is your time and you can use it however you would like, if you need to take 5 minutes and regroup, do so
  • The team leader has an opportunity to show how they will respond to tough and uncomfortable situations, take control
  • Don’t joke about your error. Mistakes happen and you need to own them, tackle them head on and deal with
  • If you have an explanation address why you had the misunderstanding, dismiss it, and move on.

The firm wasn’t selected on this project but rallied on a future opportunity when given a second chance and a clean slate. I believe a big part they were given a second chance is due to the fact that they handled themselves professionally under pressure.

Paul Wember, Wember Inc. ~ Owner’s Representative