September 14, 2022

Worst Failures #1: Worst Interview Of My Life - Ep 62

Worst Failures #1: Worst Interview Of My Life And What You Can Learn From It

The Biggest Interview Fiasco of Ryan's Career

Everyone has failures. It’s easy to think that other people don’t have failures when you don’t hear about them. So, today we’re going to talk about one of the biggest interview fiascos of Ryan’s career.

In this episode, we talk about:

• The biggest interview fiasco of Ryan's career, in great detail!
• What we learned from Ryan's biggest interview failure and what Ryan could've done differently.
• What you can do to bounce back after experiencing failures and why you should not be so hard on yourself.

Ryan and Hannah also talked about why we sometimes only notice people's successes instead of their failures.

Enjoy the episode!

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Links and Notes from the Episode

Episode Transcript
Please enjoy this transcript or our episode!

Please note the transcript may have a few errors. We're human. It can be hard to catch all the errors from a full length conversation. Enjoy!

Ryan: Aloha folks, and welcome back to Degree Free. We are your hosts, Ryan and Hannah Maruyama. On this podcast. We share fundamentals we've discovered and the mistakes we've made while self-educating getting work, building businesses and making money. We'll tell you how to make it happen. No degree needed.

Hannah: Welcome back everybody. We are happy to have you on the podcast as always and if you wanna get a free weekly newsletter from Ryan and I, because why would you not? You can go ahead and go over to It has got degree free jobs, apprenticeships, different resources, degree free news, and then just stuff that Ryan and I think is cool.

And you definitely wanna get it. So go on over and sign up for that.

Ryan: Absolutely, and let's get into today's episode. Today we are gonna be talking about, we are starting a new series within our podcast, biggest failures. and this one is gonna be about the worst interview of my life.

Hannah: Folks, Ryan and I have done some dumb stuff.

You're gonna like this series. I think.

We won't though.

Ryan: I really like, I'm not joking. I don't wanna do this episode. I'm not joking.

Hannah: He said it right before we started filming.

Ryan: Yeah. Alright, so what's the problem, right? Everyone has failures. It's easy to think that other people don't have failures when you don't hear about them.

So today we're gonna be talking about one of the biggest interview fiascos that I've ever had.

Hannah: Fiasco is an appropriate word.

Ryan: Fiasco was a very very appropriate word and yeah, we'll just get into it but I guess the first thing is why are we doing this series? And this episode right?

Hannah: Yeah. So a lot of people, a lot of people are just like, oh it's easy for you to say, look at what you've done and such and such, such and such things like that, but they don't realize that you and I have done a bunch of dumb stuff,

Ryan: Not even just you and me, but it's easy to see other people's successes when it's the thing .That they show you..

Hannah: Because people don't talk nearly as loudly about the things that they fail at. Why would you? It's just not human nature.

Ryan: Think Instagram, Facebook, or even this podcast. We're always focused on looking a certain way or coming off in a certain tone or attitude. I don't know if people know this, but we don't hit home runs all the time. We don't even bunt.

Hannah: No, no, not really.

Ryan: Life is full of strikeouts and today we are gonna be, so we're gonna be talking about it. That's what this whole series is about. Just where we've struck out. And hopefully the goal is that. You can learn something from our mistakes and you don't have to repeat them, or at least. At the very least, maybe it's just a reminder that everybody's human.

Hannah: Yeah. And I think part of it too, is just, hopefully what you realize is that it's a messy path to get anywhere, right? It's a messy path to get anywhere and do anything and build anything. And you're going to mess up a whole bunch along the way. It's gonna be really tiring, really exhausting.

And there's just gonna be messes. You're gonna look behind you and it's just gonna be a trail of messes and yeah. It's not a bad thing.

Ryan: Yeah. Whenever you're trying to do anything of note or anything that has any impact on the world, or even in your world, like in your life, you're not going to win every time.

No, not even close. You're gonna take L's all the time and we to this day can take L's constantly.

Hannah: Yeah, We do.

Ryan: But without any further ado, let's get into my worst interview ever. You got this. So I won't say the company because with like two descriptors or so it'll be too easy to

Hannah: guess which one it was

Ryan: to guess which one it was.

So yeah, I'm just not even gonna give.

Yeah. I'm just not even gonna give a descriptor or any of that to you guys, but a little bit backstory. I applied for a chief of staff or something like that role, that position was filled, but the recruiter hit me up anyways and the recruiter said, oh do you feel qualified for a marketing role?

I see that you have marketing experience. on your resume. And I was like, yeah, absolutely. I kind of knew what the company did and I did have marketing experience and I felt comfortable telling that and selling that to somebody else. And so I was like, yeah, absolutely. And so we jumped on a call and I was able to, talk to her.

It was a 20 minute call or something like that. And I was able to talk to her and convince her that I had enough marketing chops to at least get due to the next round because the company at the time was still very tiny. It was very small.

Hannah: Yeah.

Ryan: And. I had a few days to prepare for the interview.

Hannah: And I will, as somebody who was up close to this, he prepped a lot folks like prepped practice, interview question, like he did the full, rehearse out loud. He was running questions. He was like, Did all this research about the company and like hours, hours, and days, days of research, like very intensive.

And we tell people to do this when they're looking at jobs and this is just proof that like sometimes the best laid plans-

Ryan: yeah. And so that's very helpful because that's exactly what I did.

Hannah: Like you, you tried so hard.

Ryan: Yeah. And I researched a role and what I thought I could do for them.

Like I knew they were startups, so they needed a utility man. Like they needed something, they needed someone that could do a little bit of everything within that marketing role. I was like, all right, that's pretty much,

Hannah: that's definitely you

Ryan: me. Yeah. Like I'm pretty much,

Hannah: an expert generalist.

Ryan: I'm an expert generalist. And I was like, okay, perfect. I can do this. I very-

Hannah: or I can figure it out.

Ryan: Yeah, exactly. I. Feel very confident in my ability to sell this to somebody else to sell my skills to somebody else. . And like you said, I really did my research and I think this is why this interview sticks with me so much.

And it's because I tried so hard.

Hannah: You did

Ryan: Right. And it's just like a, they say sports are really good for kids because. It just teaches you about life because it doesn't matter how hard you try in sports. Like you can practice for seven days a week, three hours a day. If that other team is better than you, if the other person's a better wrestler than you, or, better golfer, you're gonna lose.

And. Yeah.

Hannah: I'm only laughing folks 'cause I witnessed this up close and it was just rough.

Ryan: Its tough. And it's tough to like it's tough. Cause I cared about it so much. Like yeah. I think paired along with this too, was that it was a time in our life that. I really needed the job.

Like I needed this job.

Hannah: Yeah. And you wanted it really bad.

Ryan: And I wanted it really bad. I wanted to work.

Hannah: You were excited about it.

Ryan: I wanted it to work for this company, the pay was good.

Hannah: The mission. You agreed with.

Ryan: The mission. I agreed with.

Everything about it. I wanted it and then I need it. We needed money. And I get on the interview with him fast forward a little bit, a few days, and it was virtual and we start talking. And he's not a nice guy. He's definitely not a mean guy. He is very direct, which for me is a really good thing.

For me, that's good. I'm like, okay, that I'm a pretty direct person. You're a pretty direct person. Let's chop it up and let's try to see how I can help your company succeed. Or how I can fit into your marketing team or this marketing role. The interview turned south almost immediately.

But I didn't know it yet, I didn't know it at the time. And so he's asking me like, what. What can you do in this role? Just really basic questions, right?

Tell me a little about yourself and so I give him the spiel. What can you do in this role? I'm telling him all these things.

I don't remember exactly what I told him, but it was generally like I'm gonna get you on all the social medias increase engagement and I don't know, like, get your audience targeting on point drive traffic, increase revenue. that's super vague. I understand that now. I get it. And so he goes, okay, so you think we need to increase our revenue or something like that?

I'm like, yes. He said, okay, how are you gonna do that? And I'm just thinking, I think to myself, like I literally just told you, I don't know what to tell you, man. And so my brilliantly unencumbered mind just goes on to repeat this same laundry list of tasks that I was gonna do for his company.

Hannah: Yeah. Increase revenue,

Ryan: increase revenue.

Hannah: Get him on all the social medias.

Ryan: I'm gonna tighten up those posts.

Hannah: I'm gonna like scheduling. It's gonna be so good, and drive traffic and increase revenue.

Ryan: And this guy's like, oh, okay. He's like, awesome.


And I'm just thinking to myself, dude, are you dense? Or what?

Which is hilarious and so pause. Which is hilarious coming from my point of view. Cause I'm interviewing with the CEO. And at this point I really am thinking like, I don't,

Hannah: I don't understand.

Ryan: I feel like I'm getting punked. Like I feel like

Hannah: Why doesn't he understand?

Ryan: I feel like I'm in the Twilight zone and just I'm having like an out of a body experience and he's just like, I might as well be speaking some alien language.

Hannah: Yeah. It's like when you're joking around with somebody and they say, oh, I don't yeah, like I don't want nacho what I, don't not just what, and you just keep doing it.

Ryan: and so once again, I go ahead and what do I do?

Hannah: Can you say it again?

Ryan: Say it again.

Hannah: Third time's the charm

Ryan: third time, the third time but, I pretty much say it verbatim. I pretty much say it verbatim. I just wanna make sure-

Hannah: you were consistent.

Ryan: I wanna make sure that he knows what he's getting.

Hannah: Yeah.

Ryan: I wanna make sure-

Hannah: Do you think that he did?

Ryan: I wanna make sure he knew what he was getting.

Hannah: Sure, sure. Of course. Clear communication.

Ryan: He's visibly frustrated at this point. Just visibly frustrated.

Hannah: The two of you.

Ryan: And I am too, right? Exactly. And he just like, and he's like, Ryan.

Hannah: He said your name?

Ryan: Yeah.

Hannah: Oh, wow.

Ryan: You don't have to tell me how my company works. Like, I know I'm the CEO. Like, you don't have to, like, I wanna make millions of dollars or whatever it was. I wanna get this into a hands of every good in America or whatever the goal was. Yeah.

And there's like, how are you. Going to help me do that?

Hannah: Did you say it a fourth time?

Ryan: Oh God. And so once again, I, just in a stroke of genius, I'm thinking, all right. Maybe he didn't hear me the first three times. And so I basically. I don't repeat myself verbatim. Like I did the first three times that would be too much, three times too much.

Hannah: Sure.

Ryan: I added a few more words

Hannah: to mix it up,

Ryan: to mix it up. And I basically told them the same thing. So yeah. Like instead of increasing web traffic, maybe I've been like I don't know, like, Oh, man. I can't think, I can't think of anything right now, but it just basically

Hannah: or instead of increasing revenue you're like, increased sales.

Ryan: Exactly.

Exactly. literally exactly

Hannah: get more sales,

Ryan: get more sales, get out there. He's like, instead of like being everywhere on the social media, be, like distributing the content throughout all different channels.

Hannah: Totally different.

Ryan: Totally different.

Hannah: I didn't even notice.

He did though.

Ryan: That was it. That was the end of the conversation. This conversation is. The amount of time that we're talking about is very short, right? This is a very short conversation and he got visibly frustrated. I'm not sure if he cussed or not. I think he might have.

And, but yeah, I'm pretty sure he did. And then he exhale slowly is like, oh, okay. Do you have any questions for me? And then. I ask a question. That'll be like super duper smart and he shrugged it off and barely answered it. Asked another question. He just stops. Okay. I gotta go. The recruiter is on the line with us.

So is actually, so is the executive assistant, they're both on the line.

Hannah: The new one that just got hired.

Ryan: And they're watching.

Hannah: A ringside seat

Ryan: They're watching this train wreck. , they're watching this train wreck of an interview, just crash and burned. Let's just Hindenburg. You know what I mean?

Just going out in flames. And

Hannah: for those of you that don't know what that is. That was a giant blimp that burst into flames and crashed and killed a bunch of people.

Ryan: Yes. Put it in the show. It's tragic, We'll put it in the show notes for you guys. and. you look it up. Hindenberg too, whatever. Yeah. We'll link to some stuff though. And so I can, he says to her, all right. We've got some things to discuss. Call me later,

Hannah: somebody was in trouble.

Ryan: somebody was super in trouble for wasting his time and putting such an idiot in front of him. And then he just hangs up.

He just hangs up the whole thing. Couldn't have took 15 minutes. Not even. I think 10 would've been appropriate. It was bad.

Hannah: So I will say from the outside perspective and there's a practice we practice personal responsibility and accountability for things as an outsider.

Observing this one thing that I did observe was that the recruiter did a really poor job explaining what it was that you were going to be asked at the interview cuz she gave you a list and the list was what you practiced and that was not even close to what was brought up.

Ryan: No, I don't know. , I think you're trying to gimme a way out here.

No, I'm gonna take it on. I'm gonna take it onto the chin here and Nope, that's not.

Hannah: I know you do, but I'm just saying.

Ryan: No, that's not accurate.

Hannah: What can people take away from that?

Ryan: I got you. So I got you. But before I get to all of that, I wanna talk about how it affected me because that interview shook me up.

Like it really did. And it's so much so that like, even now telling the story, like. I can't even think about it. It's like, God, that sucks. You know what I mean? God, you're such an idiot, right? It doesn't matter anymore. Who care?

Hannah: No, it's kind of funny

Ryan: it's super funny now, it's so long ago and it doesn't matter. I'm fine.

You know what I mean? We're doing great now

Hannah: but still it stings.

Ryan: Exactly. Yeah. And it really shook me up cause I really did prepare. Like I tried my hardest. And I really, really studied and it didn't matter. I didn't convey or sell myself properly. Like, I really do feel like I could have,

Hannah: you could have done that job.

Ryan: I could have, I know I'm-

Hannah: really good at that job.

Ryan: I know that I could have, and I know that I could have succeeded in the role, especially with how small the company was at the time. Like I know that I could have, and that's not I'm mean I'm not trying to be, that's not a humble brag or anything like that.

Hannah: No it just goes back to like, everything is sales, like we've talked about. So our interviews.

Ryan: Yeah. And I didn't take another interview for a while after that, even though, we kind of needed the money it really took a while to get back into this saddle because I really wanted that job.

The company was great, still is great.

It is a great company. And yeah, what did I learn from it?

Hannah: What did you learn from it?

Ryan: Yeah, that's the major thing here., going through all this crap, right?

Hannah: How can you spare others this situation?

Ryan: The biggest takeaway that I took from it was in the communications department. He and I were not communicating effectively. I repeated myself four times, but he did too.

I can't affect what he said, I have to focus on what I could have done differently. And what I could have done is I could have asked clarifying questions.

And the problem, right?

The problem was that we both repeated ourselves

Hannah: in the same way.

Ryan: Basically.

It was okay, maybe it should have been obvious to him that I wasn't understanding, what he was saying . Maybe he could have asked the questions in a different manner. On the same side, if I didn't understand the question, or if I started to think the thoughts that I had, which is what is this guy dance, or really am I getting punked?

Maybe I need to slow down and maybe I needed to ask a clarifying question. I'm sorry, can you please repeat that? Can you phrase that differently is what you mean this? That right there could have possibly changed the trajectory of the entire interview. I understand. Now that what he meant was he wanted to know in detail the things that I were gonna, that I was going to do in order to do those things. That's obvious to me now. It was obvious to me right after the interview.

If I had to taken a second to stop and communicate more effect. It could have been a different outcome because I did have specific ideas. I did because I prepared.

Hannah: Yeah, you did.

Ryan: But I got so caught up with like, what are you talking about, man? Like this? I just told you, we weren't communicating.

I didn't understand what he was saying. And that's my fault. It's my fault for not clarifying the questions. I've come to use this in my life, a bunch since. I find it most useful when I'm talking to people casually, though, or when I'm about to just get into a disagreement with somebody, a lot of times, I find that we're repeating ourselves, right?

Not necessarily you and me, but you and me too.

Hannah: No, we do it too.

Ryan: But, I find that I'm repeating myself and repeating myself and then just to break that pattern, just hold on before I get, especially in a casual conversation. Cause it's so easy to get, pissed off like before I get to that place or getting pissed off, like, okay, you just said. Whatever you just said two times. And you said it the same way. And I just asked the question the same way. Maybe I need to either give you a clarifying statement here is what I'm saying. or I need to ask a clarifying question.

What are you saying to me?

Hannah: Yeah, cuz you're right. A huge amount of, of escalation too is just from the repeating of the same thing. And neither of you're hearing, because you're just hearing the same phrase. So you're just not, you're just sit two people sitting there saying the same thing to each other and neither one's understanding

Ryan: right.

Obviously too. I mean I needed to, I should have been more detailed. I should have been more detailed after I clarified, I should have said, Okay make videos to post on social media, increase on page SEO, whatever, reach out for guest post on whatever, whatever.

Hannah: Yeah. Building backlinks,, whatever

Ryan: building back links, whatever it is that role needed and then going deeper into those areas had he asked.

All right.

The last thing that. I learned from that is to not beat myself up as much. As I did.

Hannah: Yeah. Yeah. Cuz that was really hard.

Ryan: This was the hardest for me to implement and I'm still really really bad at it.

Like I'm super hard on myself and I know a lot of people out there are too, like this L took me a long time to recover from, plus it came at a time, like I said, where we needed the money. Where I needed that job or at least, I wanted that job a lot. So super stressed about it.

I put so much effort into preparing for this interview and for it to fail. So miserably. I mean like, man, I thought about one, not getting the job, that's a whole thing but then I thought about like three to five days that I wasted. Studying preparing for this, for this role, when I could have been doing, when I could have been applying or I could have been interviewing for other jobs or, making money in some other way, literally doing anything else than what I did.

And so I, now I try not to be as hard on myself, about failures, because beating myself up as much as I did. Took me out of commission for a while, and it really didn't need to, I could have just let it fall off my back and Hey man, you win some, you lose some, right? Now when I fail, I try to analyze what I did and what I could have done differently a little bit quicker and then really helps to.

Write it down.

Hannah: Writing down what went well, what went wrong and what you do differently?

Ryan: Yeah, pretty much everything. And, it can be in list for however you do. It is however you do it. It can be in list form. It can be in long sentence form. However it is that you feel like you need to do it.

You can recap the entire thing, right? The entire, this is what happened. This is what I could have done differently. This is what I will do differently next time. What I find that helps writing it down, just externalizing it, get it on paper. Now I can come back and read that later for one, but now it's the paper's job.

Like it's the paper's job to worry about that Ryan, not to refer to myself in the third person, but you know what I mean? Like. It's not my job to worry about that anymore. Like the papers got that down and I can, at any time I can come back to that lesson when I need it

Hannah: and stop turning it over in your head and beating yourself up with it.

Ryan: And so a book that helped was definitely we've talked about Dale Carnegie a lot, but how to stop worrying and start living. Helped. It's not an exaggeration to say that this interview really really sucked. A little bit. Yeah. But yeah. And then, we'll put some other links to some other things in the show notes as well, on, different things that you can do in order to maybe not beat yourself up as much.

Hannah: Yeah.

Ryan: Yes. Personal responsibility is huge. We're big advocates for that, but at a certain point it's not constructive anymore. It happened. Did you think about it? What could you have done differently? What are you gonna do different next time? If you've got all that down, let it go, man.

Let it go. Stop beating yourself. Stop beating yourself up. And maybe if had I done that it wouldn't have take, taken me as long as it had to finally. Get out there again, start interviewing and online a job. And so that's my story. I,

Hannah: thanks for sharing it with us.

Ryan: Yes. That is my story for the class for this week.

I would love misery loves company, so I would love to hear your failures.

Hannah: Oh, wow.

Ryan: Yeah. If you guys have any failures of your own, especially interview, is there anything, anything that you can think of? Definitely. Let us know, contact at share your stories with us. I wanna, I wanna know cause I know that.

I can't be the only person out there that crashed and burned.

Hannah: Yep. Your biggest, I was gonna say, I know I have some too, so yeah. Share your biggest interview fiasco. And then what you learned that you would do differently that could help somebody else avoid making the same mistake or recover too, after one that's real rough.

Yeah. That's good advice. And then yeah, if you wanna get a weekly email from Ryan and I which, why would you not? Please go ahead and run over to to get our degree free newsletter with our jobs, paid apprenticeships, resources stuff, Ryan, and I think is cool and degree free news.

Ryan: Yeah, that's pretty much it. If you guys wanna support the podcast, please consider leaving us an honest review, wherever it is that you get your podcast links to everything that we talked about are gonna be in the show notes guys,

Hannah: And share this with your friends,

Ryan: share this with your friends.

Yeah, my laugh at my failures. Hopefully somebody learns something from this, and until next time guys, Aloha.

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