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

Why I cried during a job interview

Image credit: Esther Santer

I know, I know, don’t even mention it. This is probably one of the most embarrassing ( job interview) moments of my career. And ever since it happened I vowed to quickly erase the oh so embarrassing event from my precious memory.

However, now that some years have passed and I still haven’t miraculously forgotten about this event, it might be useful to share my experience. Just to save someone else from such an unforgettable situation.

I Got This

It all started when I just graduated from University a couple of years ago. If you have read “When My Dream Job Turned Out to Be Just A Dream” you will know that 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. And remember, I had just graduated so I felt like I was ready for the world. I felt unstoppable, so yes I took a bold step. I applied for a job role at this prestigious company I wanted to work for and after about three days I received an interview invitation.

This was it. I was going to make it happen!

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. Nobody could tell me anything. I got this… I thought!

Cry Baby Cry

So now it was the day of the interview and of course, I had my career girl suit on. 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 mean, I had just graduated and barely had any work experience… How am I supposed to know what I would do if situation X or Y happened – I thought. Obviously, the interviewers saw I was struggling but they just kept firing similar questions at me… and I lost it. I panicked and I started crying.

And when I say crying, I DON’T mean a ‘single tear’. I cried like I had just finished watching “Titanic” or “Man of Fire” – It was priceless.

The interviewers were nice enough to hand me a tissue and give me some feedback after I had calmed down a bit. Obviously, I didn’t land the job. I didn’t have ‘thick skin’ for it… they said.

I believe everything happens just to teach us a lesson. These are the lessons you can learn from my experience:

You can’t have something you’re not ready for

I believe that in life, things are granted to you at the right time; when you are ready to handle it. Often times, when we receive things that we are not yet matured enough for, we tend to abuse it or cease to recognise the value of it. In this case, I believe the interviewers were right. I hadn’t developed a thick skin, especially to handle such a role. I was nowhere near ready.

You need to prepare and allow yourself to grow

Always prepare like your life depends on it. For some reason, I thought that me having graduated was going to do the magic and that I was going to land every job I wanted. Dream careers do not happen overnight, you have to be realistic. You have to put in the work.

You will fail many times, but don’t give up

Failure is just another stepping stone to success

Even when you are prepared enough, mature enough or wise enough, you will experience failure. However, failure does not define you. It’s just another stepping stone to success. You might have missed out on some opportunities, but you will actually be glad you did. One day you will look back and realise that had you not missed it, you would have never been the person you are today.

Side note: Had I not been rejected for this job, I would have never landed a job abroad a couple of months after.

Sarah Johnson

Sarah is Founder and Editor of IAMICareer. She currently holds a BA of Commerce and has a strong background in Marketing. Sarah is passionate about seeing millennials thrive in career and the workplace and is dedicated to helping millennial women bridge the gap between university and the corporate world.