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Raise Your Hand if You've Ever Bombed an Interview

By Kay Benedek

My hand is firmly in the air on this one. Yes. I have bombed an interview. Badly.

I was fresh out of Ad school, and it was one of my first interviews for a full-time job. I was so focused on developing a knockout portfolio that I totally forgot to prepare for the interview itself. It was a classic rookie move. So when the interviewer asked what must be the oldest interview question in the book — tell me about yourself — I was a stunned and unimpressive deer in the headlights. I attempted to awkwardly improvise my way through an answer, but my lack of preparation was clearly evident. Safe to say, I did not feel very confident post interview as I drove my unemployed butt home.

An unsuccessful interview can leave us feeling frustrated, discouraged and sometimes even a little embarrassed. It's not because you weren't qualified. It's not because you weren't capable. It was because you didn't quite bring your A-game. If you've recently been through this experience, and your confidence is a little shaken, go easy on yourself. Here's why:

Everyone goes through it

Seriously, raise your hand if you've ever bombed an interview. Now, turn to the person beside you and give them a solid high five, because they've probably been through it too. Throughout our careers, we interview with dozens of potential employers, and the truth of the matter is, you can't win ‘em all. A bad interview is something almost all of us will experience, regardless of our capabilities, and acknowledging this fact can help us work through misplaced feelings of inadequacy. A bad interview does not make you a bad candidate — it just makes you an interviewee. Sometimes, it's just not our day.

It's an opportunity for growth

Sometimes in life, we can learn more from our failures than we can from our successes, and this is definitely one of those times. Chances are if you learned a lesson through your bad interview experience, it was probably a lesson that needed to be learned. Moments like this can force us to face hidden oversights and discover areas for improvement. If you know where your interview went wrong, adjust and prepare for your next one. If you don't, consider sending your interviewer a follow-up email requesting feedback. More often than not, they will be willing to give you a quick tip or two. With every new lesson comes a new opportunity to improve, and that is something that is always valuable.

Failure is a necessary part of success

The most important thing to remember is that it's all a process. No one learns to ride a bike in a day, and the more times we fall down the less we fear it and the better we become at getting back up. If we accept that setbacks are inevitable and valuable experiences, it makes it easier for us to go into each interview with confidence. The worst-case scenario for a bad interview is that you leave with an amusing anecdote and a lesson well learned. While it may not be the best feeling in the world, know that it is a necessary part of success and one that should be embraced, not feared.

So fear not the bad interviews!

As raw as it may feel in the moment, do not let a bombed interview shake your confidence or derail your job search. Keeping a positive attitude means that you'll be more likely to see the lessons and opportunities in whatever outcomes you may face. At the end of the day, know that each negative experience paves the way for a better one. So breathe, relax, and embrace your interview, regardless of the outcome. Because no matter what happens, you're not going home empty handed.

Top 10 Motivational Ted Talks For Your Career

By Kay Benedek

Let's face it. Job hunting can be exhausting. We craft cover letters, send emails and go through rounds of interviews as we pursue the next big step in our careers. At times, it can leave us feeling more than a little unsure of ourselves and our goals. If you're going through this process right now, you may be in need of a little motivation. So, take a short break and procrastinate with me in the best way possible: with inspiring and uplifting Ted Talks! Whether you're exploring a new industry, searching for your dream job, or just looking for the next step in your career, these 5 - 20-minute talks will inspire your job search and help you reach your goals — whatever they are! Check out these top 10 Ted Talks (on Youtube) for your career.


  1. Ruth Chang: How to Make Hard Choices

To quit, or not to quit. To take this job, or maybe that job. How about a career change? Then again, maybe not. If you're half as indecisive as I am, Ruth Chang will be your new best friend.

  1. Carol Fishman Cohen: How to Get Back to Work After a Career Break

For those of you returning to work after a break, this one will help you get back into the work force and succeed in your new journey.

  1. Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend

We all get a little stressed sometimes, especially while we're job searching. In this fascinating Ted Talk, Kelly McGonigal teaches us how to view our higher stress levels as an asset and use it to our benefit.


  1. Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

Have you got an interview coming up? Get ready to take notes!

  1. Julian Treasure: How to Speak So That People Want to Listen

Captivate your interviewer right off the bat. Julian Treasure introduces his inventive H.A.I.L. technique to help you genuinely connect and engage with almost anyone.


  1. Larry Smith: Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career

I realize this one doesn't sound all that inspiring, but trust me, this Ted Talk has a provocative way of challenging you to pursue your passion. Larry Smith has no patience for your excuses.

  1. Scott Dinsmore: How to Find Work You Love

Be careful! This Ted Talk might just change the entire direction of your career.


  1. Angela Lee Duckworth: The Key to Success? Grit

If you are in fact feeling the stressful sting of the job hunt, this one's for you. Just hang on tight and we'll get through this!

  1. Alain de Botton: A Kinder, Gentler Philosophy of Success

In this Ted Talk, Alain wants you to think differently about success and maybe, just maybe, go a little easier on yourself.

  1. Sarah Lewis: Embrace the Near Win

Nailed the interview but still didn't get the job? That's ok! Sarah Lewis shows us how every near win is almost as valuable as a win itself.


Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You Die

Though not officially a Ted Talk, Steve Jobs' inspiring Stanford University commencement speech is highly revered among Ted experts as being one of the most powerful and enlightening speeches for shaping not only your career, but your entire life's direction.