The following is posted for a friend without a Stack Exchange account:

I recently had an interview for an organization I deeply respect. Because of how much I wanted this position, I was rightfully nervous; but I didn't think too much of it. However, in the middle of the interview, I started shaking and having difficulty breathing, hearing the questions I was being asked, and speaking without stuttering or losing my breath. I ended up performing so uncooperatively that the employers had to terminate the interview.

I've had anxiety attacks in the past, but not frequently and certainly not of this magnitude; and I didn't get a chance to process and recognize what had occurred until I had already left their offices.

I'm not looking to pull any heartstrings and manipulate the organization into giving me a second chance. I'm coming to accept that this is probably not a possibility. But I would like to somehow apologize to these people who, before the interview, had been genuinely interested in hiring me.

What is the etiquette for such an apology letter? What should I say and how do I word this appropriately?

  • Hey Eric, thanks for participating. To make this more clear, is your friend looking to know if he/she should send an apology or what to include in the apology letter? Can you edit and clarify?
    – jmort253
    Apr 3, 2014 at 2:26
  • But I would like to somehow apologize to these people. I think OP has his mind made up to send an apology letter. @jmort253
    – kolossus
    Apr 3, 2014 at 2:49
  • 1
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about a real psychological issue that we are not qualified to handle.
    – Jim G.
    Apr 3, 2014 at 2:52
  • Good point @kolossus... edited to make more clear.
    – jmort253
    Apr 3, 2014 at 3:04
  • 1
    @JimG. I disagree. Asking us how to solve the psychological issue would be off-topic, but dealing with its implications in a work environment seems relevant to me. Apr 3, 2014 at 17:45

1 Answer 1


I wouldn't call it an apology letter; rather a letter of thanks. It may be difficult to send an apologetic letter without "tugging at heart strings" or seeming like you're making excuses.

I'd instead recommend sending a letter of thanks; thanking them for the opportunity to interview for the position. You may then insert an aside that while you were very excited to interview for the position, you realize the interview didn't go the way either of you planned, mostly due to the condition you suffered. You're quite surprised and mildly disappointed in the way thing panned out would like to apologise for the time spent/lost. Not an excuse, just an observation of fact, on the way the interview panned out.

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