Career

I miserably failed a behavioral interview

and I’m not sure I should learn from it.

Dany Majard
7 min readJan 31, 2023

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Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

I recently completely tanked a behavioral interview. I was asked 3 questions about dealing with conflict / disagreements and the interviewer’s opinion got worse and worse as I told stories. The company’s values lined up with mine like a waddling of ducklings, so how could it be?

This is what we are about to learn, and for the kick of it, I will structure the article like a typical Behavioral Interview answer: the STAR Method.

So, Dany, tell me about a time when you failed at an interview…

Situation

I had applied to a position at a company I really liked and had kept an eye on for a few years. The work looks very interesting, like “waking up at the crack of dawn to solve problems interesting”. Needless to say I was both very keen on putting my best foot forward and nervous at not being good enough technically. It was much more of a research position than what I’ve been doing for the last half-decade after all.

The interviews with the recruiter and the first round with senior people had gone very well and I was feeling it. The wind was blowing in the right direction. 🎉 I had two technical interviews and a behavioral interview to pass before the final boss: the CEO. Though I was stressed about the technical interview I wasn’t worried as I had put great effort in doing extra research/work to get up to date with techniques they used.

I was a lot more worried about the behavioral interview as I knew it could be my Achille’s heel. I would usually have gone into it with a positive attitude and a total commitment to transparency. After all, their company values are those I have been cultivating my whole life. But this was too important to let to chance and I have some demons to exorcise. So I forsake my weekend so I could go in prepared (or so I thought).

Behavioral interviews rely on good story telling and self-promotion and I have a strong tendency to undervalue my work and to not take credit for something that is not 100% mine.

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