Should I email a better answer to an interview question?
July 26, 2011 11:01 PM   Subscribe

Yesterday I had an internal interview for a job I really want. I answered most of the questions just fine but one of them, "name a time when something at work depended on you and what did you do?", I bombed for some reason. Now I have a great answer and am thinking of emailing the three people in the interview panel with a revised answer, but I'm not sure whether this would be appropriate.

The interviews for all candidates finished yesterday and I think they'll be making the decision today. I'm not at work today so would have to email the answer from my personal email address. What does the hive think?
posted by hazyjane to Work & Money (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
bombing one question is sort of normal, let it go. If you don't get the job, it won't be because you choked on this Q
posted by thelonius at 11:06 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would send an email as a thank you for the interview and oh, by the way, on reflection, this is what I would answer if asked that question again.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:10 PM on July 26, 2011

just send a normal thank you email, don't amend your interview answer in it.
posted by thelonius at 11:11 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Looking eager and exited about the job is good, but this goes past that into desperate. I'd mark it against you rather than for. Let it go.

Did you ever see the episode of Seinfeld when George comes up with a comeback the next day? Don't be like that.
posted by Ookseer at 11:12 PM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]

I'd say don't do it. I had an internal interview last year for a job. I thought it went terribly, I bombed on a question I really should have known. But if it's internal, they know your work and your capabilities, and it's those things which are likely to influence their decision more than that half-hour interview when they know you're nervous.
posted by essexjan at 12:07 AM on July 27, 2011

Yeah, the interview is the interview, once done, it's done. Let the interviewer bring it up (over beers or something, a few months after you got the job).

I personally like interviewing people and seeing them bomb on questions. It's really great to see how they handle the humility of just coming up short. I think it speaks to the interviewees true nature way more than their rehearsed bullshit.

The worst is when they have this internal crisis that they refuse to acknowledge long aftter the room has accepted that they have fallen flat on their arse. I have seen people just lock up and go nuts in their minds, not able to accept the reality that they are unable to answer a simple question. It's the ones who fight just admitting they don't have a good answer, and get butthurt and defensive that tend to view askance.

I like seeing people get stymied and show a little emotion (we are HUMAN!!) and just say in their own honest way they are stuck and can't answer the question, I usually follow up with something along the lines of "okay, you can't answer that, so how would approach coming up with an answer to something that you can't immediately get your mind around" and steer the interview into a bull session on how they approach problem solving.

Basically, an interview is a complicated thing, there are no wrong and right answers, and there is a lot of feel involved.

Short Form: I'd be more concerned about how you reacted to bombing, as opposed to just the fact that you bombed an answer.
posted by roboton666 at 12:34 AM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

I hate that question when it comes after talking about work. The interviewer is suggesting you're not that good at your job. It's really a question about taking criticism. If you show how pre-occupying their words are to you by re-answering an interview question the next day, then you're showing you don't handle criticism well.
posted by michaelh at 6:39 AM on July 27, 2011

I say you should send the email, and so do many so called professional job coaches. A followup thank you, with a bit of further explanation about one of the questions asked does not seem desperate. It shows that you were listening, and care that you may not have given the most appropriate answer.
posted by Gungho at 6:57 AM on July 27, 2011

Best answer: I think there are questions that it is appropriate to send an email follow up on and questions that it is not appropriate to do so.

To my mind, if this was a job-critical question then I, as interviewer, would appreciate you coming back to me with a follow-up clarification or expansion.

However, if it was just a bit of interview candy (which is what it sounds like based on your description) then I don't see the point and it would probably just look you trying to make yourself appear perfect instead of accepting that you came across as human.

It's your call, of course, as to whether this question was job-critical or not.

Best of luck, I hope you get the position, make sure you communicate your enthusiasm in your thank you note. If there's one thing that sells me on an interviewee it's the fact that they really, really want the position - and conversely, it still amazes me how un-enthusiastic some people are.
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 7:11 AM on July 27, 2011

Response by poster: I didn't send the email. But I did get the job! I'm so excited and happy. Thanks, hive!!!
posted by hazyjane at 8:10 AM on July 27, 2011 [9 favorites]

I sent a relatively brief but meaningful email regarding some things that I felt I either didn't get across or didn't really express well for a job. I got the job. I don't know. I don't think it hurts.

Oh you got the job! Congrats!
posted by sully75 at 10:35 AM on July 27, 2011

Well done you! Good luck.
posted by dmt at 4:13 PM on July 27, 2011


Yeah, my last job I messed up a math portion, only to realize it about 30 seconds after I left the office. I emailed a thank you to the hiring manager to 'thank them for the interview' but I did add the correct answer and a humble apology towards the end as an aside. He still talks about it to other people when he introduces me.

Don't ever be afraid to admit you made a mistake. Very few people truly are.
posted by jopreacher at 7:23 PM on July 27, 2011

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