Q. After waiting for months for an interview for a real job, I blew it big time over the simplest of questions: “Describe your favorite and least favorite memories of growing up.” I had rehearsed possible college and business-related Q&As with my roommate and father, but I didn’t anticipate this one and I rambled on about inane things from childhood until I realized I wasn’t talking with my psychologist. There was a polite nod at the end of my monologue, she checked her watch and the interview was over. Is there any way to recover? -PM
A. We’ve all had moments where we’d like to recall something said, or when we try to stop ourselves from speaking but our mouths keep moving. The risk you face is that the interviewer might think you’re overly chatty and not able to think on your feet.
Unless you are the only finalist for this job, your gut is probably is right. The body language sounds foreboding. Nonetheless, you might try a last-ditch recovery effort–write a thank-you note to the interviewer and include a couple of tightly written paragraphs that better answer her question. You can even make reference to your meandering trip down memory lane getting in the way of your desired answer. It’s worth a shot.
Prior to your next interview, you might check Wet Feet’s basic tutorial about how to handle such questions. Also, review my list of 12 potential questions from an earlier post.