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 three 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.

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 at that time… So how did they expect me to know what I was supposed to do if situation X or Y happened? The interviewers noticed I was struggling but they just kept firing questions at me… So at that 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 this embarrassing moment taught me a valuable lesson. Here is what I learned (and what you may learn) from this experience too:

I wasn’t ready for the job

The hiring managers were clearly trying to test how capable I was of handling 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. And looking back, I just wasn’t ready to take on that amount of responsibility that was required for the job, and it showed during the interview.

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 takes more than 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. So in order to answer the scenario-based questions successfully, preparation was 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!

1 comment
  1. I applied to be a health educator for youth in Detroit regarding HIV, abstinence, drug use, loss and other barriers to success.
    I am like the posterchild for overcoming obstacles! I also majored in Health Education. I highlighted resiliency on my cover page… mentioned that I had dropped out of high school but still went on to graduate from the U of Michigan after having my daughter at 21.
    A few months back I took guardianship of my father that had brain damage from a drug induced stroke…I moved him in with me and care for him.
    They asked me to tell them about myself. I explained the important role I have as a mother to a 12 year old. Then began about my dad = turned into a puddle.
    I did not tell them anything about my dad apart from that I recently got guardianship and that he now lives with me.
    What would you do? Do you think this means I am not strong enough to help these kids?

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