Why I Cried During A Job Interview – And The Lessons I Learned

So far, this is probably one of the most embarrassing job interview moments I have experienced in my career. I mean, who ends up crying at a job interview? Well, I did… and here’s what happened.

It all started when I just graduated from University about five years ago. I was extremely excited to jump-start my career in Marketing. I had been on the job hunt for just a few weeks and I knew exactly which company I wanted to work for. So, I took a bold step. I applied for a job role at this company and to my surprise, after about three days I received an interview invitation. You can imagine that I was beyond thrilled!

Having about four days to prepare I gathered all the information I could possibly find about the company. I knew which year the company started, the names of all the directors, their mission, and vision and worked my “Why did you apply for this job” pitch around this.

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Interview day

So the day of the job interview arrived… and the interview started well. The interviewers asked me some general questions and I believe I was able to answer them sufficiently. However, when they started asking me ‘scenario based’ questions I began to mess up. “What would you do if” and “How would you handle this” type of questions which I clearly wasn’t prepared to answer.

I barely had any work experience… How did they expect me to know what I should do if situation X or Y happened? The interviewers saw I was struggling but they just kept firing questions at me… And at this point, I panicked and I started crying – I guess it’s safe to say that I did not land the job. However, looking back I do believe that these embarrassing moments happen just to teach us a lesson. Here is what I learned (and what you may learn) from this experience:

I wasn’t ready for the job

I now realise that the hiring managers might have intentionally tried to test me just to see how capable I was to handle the job. Not to say that I agree with their technique, however, I am a firm believer that things are granted to you at the right time. Looking back I do wonder why they even invited me for the job interview because I was nowhere near ready to take on such a role. And clearly, I did not have a thick skin for it either.

I was not prepared

Clearly, I walked into the job interview thinking that knowing everything about the company would be enough. Being successful in a job interview does take more than that. I now realise that employers or hiring managers are looking for individuals who are able to anticipate situations – They often try to find out whether you’re a problem solver, how you perform in stressful situations, and whether you’re able to take initiative and so. And in order to answer these scenario-based questions successfully, preparation is key.

Rejection is part of the process

This is probably one of the most important lessons I learned. No one likes to be rejected, however, rejection is part of the process. Sometimes you have to fail in order to be ready and prepared for the right opportunity. I realised that the more interviews I attended, the better I got at it. For example, I was less nervous, more confident and of course more prepared. I also started looking at rejection from a different angle.

“If I don’t get the job, it’s just not the right job for me”. In the end, I landed a Marketing job role abroad, so things did work out eventually.

Have you cried during a job interview before? Share your experience in the comment box below!

Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson is a marketing professional and the Founder and Editor of Corporate Career Girl. Her true passion is to empower career girls in the workplace and help them bridge the gap between university and the corporate environment.

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