ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Terrible Job Interview? What Can You Learn From It and How To Improve

Updated on October 3, 2014

Hey, we’ve all been there. In the current economic situation, a lot of us are job-seeking, or possibly expecting to be doing so in the near future. (And in an environment where job vacancies are described as being like ‘hens teeth’.1) And – let’s be frank here – it’s not always (or even usually) a fun process. Sure, if you’ve prepared carefully, done your homework and honed in on the right job opportunity for you, then an employment interview can be viewed as a productive learning experience. But again, let’s be real: that’s the upside! And not all job interviews work out like that.

Sometimes we only have our own damn selves to blame: we under-prepared, we forgot our interviewer’s name on meeting them (and didn’t cover it up well enough), or maybe we grabbed a quick breakfast first and wound up with egg yolk down a clean laundered white shirt… Oh, my, there are just so many ways to screw up an interview! Which one will you choose?

Do You Need Better Interview Skills?

Sometimes the fault or problem doesn’t lie with us directly: there is the odd interviewer who just doesn’t like your face, or maybe your experience isn’t a close enough fit for the position. Or maybe the other candidate just aces you out. The competition is hot out there!

Job Interviews: Where Did It All Go Wrong?

So everyone has a bad interview experience from time to time. The important thing is to get up after you’ve been knocked down – and to figure out what you can learn from what went wrong. Because you don’t want to make the same mistake again, do you?

If you had a bad interview, then what went wrong? Personally, at a recent interview I was required to do two online tests – one basically mathematical, and the other regarding office software skills. Now the maths test was fine, and I was expecting the office skills test to be a breeze in comparison. Overconfidence can be fatal, and that’s just one of the lessons I got taught by this bad interview experience! The other is that my mad skillz with standard office software are actually not that mad: maybe they were fine with older versions of office suites, but with the passage of time and continuous updates, skills get rusty and your knowledge base becomes inaccurate. You’ve got to keep your skills up to date, people! So that’s what I found out, and it was a valuable lesson: now I’m putting myself through a steep learning curve with the latest software, and next time I won’t be making the mistake of just assuming my skills are up to scratch. (I’ll make a different mistake instead!)

Maybe it’s your interview skills themselves that were the problem? A lot of people detest the currently popular technique of asking ‘competency-based’ questions at interview. These are the ones where you’re required to come up with examples from your own experience where you demonstrated a particular skill or aptitude. They can be tough! If you’ve flunked an interview because this is a weakness of yours, then look at it this way: you can turn that weakness into a strength. ‘Volunteer’ a friend or two to bombard you with competency-based questions before your next interview. Try to predict what competencies a particular position you’re applying for is likely to require.

In the heat of an interview – even if you have some level of awareness that’s it’s not going as well as it might be – it’s hard to define or identify exactly what the problem is. But afterwards, that’s the time to analyse the whole interview and see if you can tell where you went wrong – or, if it wasn’t down to you, where the problem was – and then see if it’s something you can fix for next time. If you know what the wrong thing was that you said or did, then what should you have said or done? If, overall, the problem was simply inadequate preparation – e.g. not having done the research to identify a company’s main areas of business – then you know what to do about that!

If you didn’t have any questions ready at the end of the interview to fire at your interviewers (which never looks good and can be translated as a lack of real interest in the position), then you can prepare a few ‘standardized’ questions that can be adapted to most jobs and interviews. (If you have trouble remembering them under stress, keep them written down in a little notebook, to be referred to if necessary.)

Of course, a lot depends on your definition of a ‘bad’ job interview. A bad interview could result in your getting the job – if it’s the wrong job for you. In that case, you probably didn’t do enough research or thinking beforehand in order to ascertain that the job was one you’d be happy with!


1. Snowdon, G. Are Jobcentres Still Working? The Guardian. 06/02/20

What About After The Interview?

What do you do to recover after a job interview?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)