Treppenwitz in job search?
Treppenwitz is a German word that describes “that flash of genius you get for a clever comeback after the opportunity has passed.”
One example of Treppenwitz might occur after a job interview where the interviewer did all the talking, barely looking at you as he kept checking his mobile phone and watch. Then as he shakes your hand good-bye, he says “It was really great meeting you!”
Although you’re taken aback by his sudden show of enthusiasm, you just say something polite like “Thank you. It was my pleasure.” But your moment of Treppenwitz comes later when you realize you COULD have said “Meeting me? I didn’t think you knew I was in the room!”
Not that I suggest you ever do that. But oh there are times when it would feel so great, wouldn’t it?
[For another cool German word see also Schadenfreude.]
ALSO: In French, l’esprit de l’escalier (staircase wit).
[Article updated in 2020]