That said, this disastrous interview was also one of the most important turning points in my life. In a way, I'm glad it happened.
I was in my early twenties, fresh out of college with a degree in psychology. I'd been hitting up my friends and relatives for connections, and, as luck would have it, a family friend landed me an interview with a top firm.
It was for the role of Management Consultant.
I was so excited, I spent the evening before pressing my shirt and shining my shoes. The next day, even though it was a cold morning in February, all I could think about while I was waiting for the big interview was:
"I hope I don't get so nervous that I sweat through my shirt."
Finally, after waiting anxiously for what seemed like a few hours, I was ushered into a quiet, sterile white room for my interview. By the time I sat down, my stomach was doing somersaults.
Now, I don't remember the exact questions the interviewer asked me.
All I can remember is this:
While I answered the first few questions, he was scribbling down notes in a frenzy. Then, all of a sudden -- in response to something I said -- he just stopped writing, sat up, and dropped his pen.
Then he looked me straight in the eye and said:
"Alan, that won't work."
"Try it again."
Although I was young, I'd done more than my fair share of job interviews, and I knew right there and then that I'd blown my chances.
It was "game over".
I must have turned bright red. I started stuttering, and I suddenly felt this desperate desire to slink out through the door with my tail in between my legs and go home and cry.
Luckily for me, this guy wouldn't let me escape.
Like I said earlier, it was a family friend who hooked me up with this interview. Looking back, I guess the old man wanted to teach me something valuable, so I wouldn't blow an opportunity like this ever again.
We continued through the interview -- as if nothing happened -- except now, he ripped my answers to shreds and called me out for using all the same old tired, cookie-cutter B.S. everyone else was telling him.
This interviewer was hard as nails, and I'll never forget this humiliating and unpleasant experience. Looking back though, I think he was looking out for me, kind of like how a stern father might straighten out his son.
Needless to say, I did not get the job.
I got something better:
This experience (as well as another disaster, which happened a short while later -- I'll tell you about it some other day) gave me the kick I needed to start taking interviews seriously. Thanks to this episode, I invested months into discovering the secrets I needed to ace any job interview.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Thankfully, you don't have to go through an experience like this.
If I'd have followed the basic principles I outline in the Interview Success Formula, this interview would have been a walk in the park.
If you have a job interview coming up (and you care about getting the job), then I urge you to arm yourself with the knowledge you need to stand head and shoulders above the other candidates.
After all, you only have one opportunity to get it right.