My Worst Interview Ever…and What I Learned From It

At one point in my career I wanted to specialize in audio post production. After a lot of research and many phone calls later I arranged an interview at a high-end post studio in Manhattan. I felt very confident going into the interview. I had a strong music background, I had researched the studio and their credit reel, and had a good referral from a friend of the owner.

The interview began with the typical getting to know you and what projects have you worked on questions. After about 5 minutes of small talk, the studio owner sank his teeth in and asked me a few questions I’ll never forget.

1. Who are your heroes in the audio post production world?

2. How has their work influenced you?

3. What specific projects of theirs influenced you and why?

I was prepared for most of his other questions, but these three froze me like a Slurpee drunken way too fast. I couldn’t honestly answer question #1 and I knew I couldn’t B.S. this guy, so I just answered as best as I could.

He ended the interview by saying “I see that you’re very passionate about music and audio but THAT IS NOT ENOUGH. I simply don’t have time to train someone who can’t already answer these specific questions about audio post.”

Although I left his studio feeling like it was my worst interview ever, I soon realized it was my best because I learned so much from him. Seriously…how often do you actually learn something in an interview?

My take away: Lots of prospects that he interviewed had sufficient skills and knowledge to handle the day to day tasks of the job, but he was really looking for someone who was driven to help the studio succeed on a much higher level. Passion about a career that leads you to be able to answer those kinds of questions can’t be taught, and you need that kind of passion to work at the highest levels.

Next time you’re preparing for an interview, see if you can answer those 3 questions about your specific industry. If you can, I guarantee you’ll stand out far above the competition.


photo by Merfam