How to handle bad interviews and stay motivated.

My video on the topics.

Hello there! How often do you experience rejections when you look for a job? How do you react?

I want to bring an important topic: dealing with rejections and dealing with bad interviews overall. So bear with me on it. Here I have a video. But if you are not up for a video but prefer reading, be my guest and explore the text transcript as well.


Interviews can go dramatically bad and make indelible imprints. And we have a lot of stories about such experiences. I personally knew people how got so discouraged after that, so they quit trying while they actually could do great.

In my career, I had passed many interviews as well as conducted hundreds of them. And I would like to tell you how you can handle bad interviews and stay motivated.

Determine interview types.

First of all, let’s define what a bad interview is. Such an interview is the one after which you may feel demotivated, offended, maybe disappointed, you have nothing to learn from that, or get lower self-esteem.

There might be many reasons why the interview was terrible for you.

There are two general categories.

  1. You had a bad reaction;
  2. the interview was actually nasty.

While the first one is up to you, the second one must be dealt with or avoided.

Bad reaction

There will be rejections, and that’s okay. It’s a part of your career. However, it’s up to you how you react. Even after having a few rounds of interviews with Google or Amazon, some people would feel bad for not passing it. Nothing was wrong with the interview itself. It’s just a reaction to rejection—the response to the fact that you may not have enough expertise or required skills. People feel discouraged and take that pretty personally. But the thing is that you should not.

What you have to do is learn from that and try again later. Companies don’t rate you personally, but the specialist you are. Most of the companies will gladly interview you half of the year or a year later.

Moreover, it’s mostly not that you are wrong. It’s just a company that cannot find a fit for your current proficiency. That’s a usual process.

There is a great book by Jack Kenfield Rules. That exact book displays a great formula, and a part of the book reveals how people got better and evolved by applying it to their lives.

So, In the case of a rejection, as I mentioned above, you have a simple formula: rejection + your reaction = result. The problem is to affect the outcome. You can’t change the rejection part. It’s a constant. But you can change your reaction. So, instead of reflecting or overthinking what potentially lead to the motivational problems we discussed, try learning, writing down your flaws and exciting questions from the interview. Then, use it as an opportunity. Even from rejection, we learn if we intend to do so.

And here comes another book called “Mindset.” This book is appointed to change mindset to use failure as opportunities. Change a fixed mindset to a flexible one. A flexible mindset allows you to deal with failures as opportunities and find challenges to learn and evolve rather than get over them and forget or reflect on how terrible they are.

Bad interview.

Nevertheless, it may not be only about your reaction, but the actual quality of the interview that you have tried to crack on. And that’s something that you can’t change. The bad interviews will happen. But what you should remember is that there are a lot of companies and people. Therefore, a lot of places with good interview cultures as well. You can avoid lousy interviews or quit them. To do that, you need to know some red flags that would indicate you to leave. Here I have a list of 6 red flags.

  1. Irrelevant questions.If you are constantly asked questions that don’t fit your profile but are somehow expected from you, that is a problem. For example, you don’t have experience with React.js; however, they won’t stop asking you about it or ask you to elaborate “how it can be implemented there.” And if you don’t know, they would react like, “how could you not.” That’s a red flag for you.
  2. A mark-the-correct-answer test

That’s is the weirdest thing that I have encountered. You are invited to an interview, and when you come, you are just given a test. And then, after a few days, when they check it, they decide whether they want to talk further. These tests are not representative of your skills. Just don’t waste your time on that.

  1. Unprofessional coding part

The coding part is often controversial. But regardless of the task you have, some behaviors may destruct it. For example, the interviewer anticipates a precise implementation or using some functions instead of giving you the freedom to solve the problem. Or they will try to judge your code style, namings, the algorithm itself, trying to show off their superiority.

  1. Extra intimidating and challenging questions

Some interviewers may go extreme with questions. They can develop a list of tricky or complicated questions that you may not even encounter, so do they. Nothing bad in elaboration on complex topics because it displays your thinking. However, if they expect you to answer such questions correctly in a manner of Google Search while they have answers printed next to them, that isn’t a good place to be.

  1. Toxic environment

A good interviewer can create a stressless environment even for a challenging interview. But, at the same time, some others may fell for the opposite. As more stress, you have the better. Moreover, they would start judging or giving you their biased feedback. They will reward you with laughs, giggles, sighs, and toxic comments. That’s a bold red flag because young people take it for granted, especially at the beginning of a career. However, they are significantly affected by that, personally projecting it into their career and personality.

  1. Reacting to a person’s disabilities, differences, nation, race, gender, religion, etc.

Suppose you are being mocked for your accent during the interview or commented that your English is terrible. Or maybe they don’t consider you hired if you stutter or have to pray at midday. These are extreme red flags. That’s not an environment you want to work in.

What to do with these flags?

When you encounter flags from the list above, you better be the person who rejects the employer in most situations. The critical part of the interview is that it is not only an employer who hires you, but you choose an employer. And you can and should reject some. These problems are not to be taken for granted as a part of interviews. It would be best if you avoided it.

If you don’t feel comfortable, it is okay to refuse to continue. That means that the employer doesn’t fit your expectations. However, that will already boost your self-esteem because you can and have to be picky.

Some of the flags are displaying that the employer doesn’t have a good culture in their company. It’s also totally okay no to tolerate it and quit the interview.

How to avoid bad interviews and bad companies in the first place?

Another important tip is how to avoid such interviews in the first place. Disclaimer, you still have a chance to experience them, but at a much lower rate.

I advise you to check as much information about the company as you can. The best way to do that is to sign up to Glassdoor and find the reviews on this company. A cool feature is checking feedback on the social package, salaries, and interview processes. So even smaller companies have at least some intel there.

You can filter preferable offices locations, occupations, and some other filters. It can give you some intel to think about. But remember about a negative bias. Positive feedback is rarely left compared to negative feedback.

So, check out the reviews and question if you should go to interviews with a company with many negative reviews.


So, there were all my thoughts on today’s topic. If you feel I missed something out, let me know in the comments.

I wish you all the best of luck with interviews, and never take things you are uncomfortable with for granted.

See you on the internet.

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