Brain fog during my first interview at Meta -😭

I had never felt so insecure in my life. The job-hunting process has made me question my skills, talent, experience, and background, and apparent imposter syndrome symptoms are showing.

My self-esteem is currently on vacation on another Planet.

With this in mind, I went to a Meta (Facebook) interview, after luckily skipping a phone interview and HR interview - probably because my profile matched perfectly what they were looking for - and sat down directly with a manager who 100% regretted giving me an opportunity.

Netherelss to say, It was a disaster.

My brain forgot English altogether. I forgot what the tasks that I perform daily for my company are. I forgot my background, and I was repeating the same things over and over again. A real sabotage action performed by the mind.

To the Elpha community and all the women that are trying to make a move from entrepreneurship to corporate:

1) How do you deal with feeling nervous or anxious during this process?

2) How do you deal with rejection?

3) How do you prepare mentally for interviews?

Thank you for "listening" and for the support!

Hi @valentinacorbetta, 1. There's a lot we could talk about with proactive and reactive self care when you feel anxious, but for today I'll give you two quick exercises I recommend right before an interview -- a) think of a memory/project where you were in flow and crushing it, write about it, and have THAT person show up to the call. b) journal about "what's the worst that could happen" so that you remember you're safe, have a roof over your head, and don't "need" this job -- the desperation mode often times makes us very nervous during the call. Remind yourself that you're meeting them, they're meeting you, and its just a two way shared learning experience.2. Rejection is an opportunity to learn, reflect, improve, and strengthen what you do next time, your preparedness, and your ability to show up representing your best self. Write down your reflections/learnings/takeaways after every interview so you can grow from it, and keep your motivation top of mind (post its everywhere) that remind you of what it is you're looking for, what type of job you're worth, and why this is important to you. Also, bring in activities to your weekly routine to learn/digest content and/or work on projects that inspire you -- there's no way of replacing the motivator that is caring about solving a problem that is meaningful to you.3. See #1!BTW, I'm Rachel, a Career Coach (, and I offer a ton of free videos and blogs on my website including mindset work -, and also a free initial career coaching call here--
Thank you so much for all the precious advice and guidance! I would love to stay in touch and definitely booking a demo with you for the next following week. I want to understand if I can beat these feelings before they get too big to handle!
Definitely - its important stuff to work on. Lets talk!!
Oh my, I think I had the same bad interview experience as you today. It was my first interview for a PM role and I stuttered, lost my sense of confidence, forgot how to communicate my successes (and we did have some!), and got very flustered when the hiring manager started to drill down into the investment / cap table info of my startup business and completely neglected to ask me product management questions. I didn't have the wherewithal to tell him that his questions about my investors, their convertible notes and other non-relevant questions were outside the scope of a PM interview. I was so mad at myself for contributing to the perception [he was clearly formulating] that I was a failed founder and that therefore, I would be a failure at PM work. So, I've learned that I need to have my talking points and success stories well-rehearsed, my clap backs strong and ready, and not to internalize his naive views of founder failure ("Well, clearly you failed b/c you did not generate 10x revenue, you didn't raise enough money, you didn't move fast enough, and you didn't close your business soon enough so, your bad decisions led you to this and I can't hire a founder who has failed."). BTW, he has NEVER worked on product (former insurance salesman), NEVER founded a business, NEVER hired people and yet, here he was hiring for product in a new role as Dir. of Product (wtf? How did he get that role? And sadly, he will likely be promoted and continue to fake it until he makes it) and pretending like he understood the startup world that I've lived for the last 4.5 years. It was horrible. I felt rejected by a company that I was only halfway interested in, yet it still bugged me. But now that I have that practice out of the way, I'm ready to learn, improve my interview skills and move forward. Onward!!! You can do it!
Are you me??? Your background is eerily similar to mine. Former founder (of 4.5 years) turned PM, struggled heavily to not feel ashamed of my startup’s failure (same reasons as yours including not closing soon enough) .Good news; I landed a role, you will too. I was willing to take a lower salary to get my foot in that I can leverage later at a bigger company and for more. Early startups are your best bet, they appreciate your founder journey and hustle. I ended up with 2 offers and I think I got the 2nd one easier because I stopped being desperate after I landed the 1st, so I was more confident. All the best sis!
Thank you SO much for your reply @cindyadem. It gave me a good mental boost. I’m hopeful as I’ve just started my job search and thank goodness, this happened now for a job that I was only half-interested in. Would you be willing to have a chat about this process? I would love to learn more about your experience. 👍🏽
Absolutely! Please reach out. Happy to share everything I can about it ❤️❤️.
Hi @cindyadem! I sent you a message to connect (under real name - not the anon name I used here in these comments). Looking forward to connecting.
Well received and responded :)
@valentinacorbetta, I feel you, I'm on a similar journey trying to move from entrepreneurship to corporate, and last week I got turned down at the 3rd interview at two companies, and it hit hard. This is what I did: 1. Gave me permission to feel the rejection for a limited time. (1 day) 2. Remembered that all rejections are opportunities/practice to improve. So I wrote down what I learned from those experiences and what I can do differently next time. 3. I started a blog on my personal website to share the knowledge I've gathered. This helps me battle the imposter syndrome, structure my experiences, and give me the opportunity to share my knowledge with people who could find them helpful. 4. For the feeling nervous or anxious during the process, find a small ritual that you can do before the interview that gives you confidence. For me, is listening to an encouraging song and singing it to keep the vibes up. It's not a perfect system but it has helped me. Cheers!
This is so helpful and actionable. I wrote a lot of letters that I sent to myself processing how I can improve for next time, and remembering that this one interview doesn’t define me. A lot of self talk and putting things into perspective helps me from eating my brain. Thanks for sharing. 👍🏽
I'm glad that you find it helpful @hui185, loved the idea of making the learnings a letter to oneself is much more powerful, I'm going to try it, thanks! Yup agree with you, the important part is not feeling guild or shame but to transform that into learning and compassion.
Oh my gosh, Valentina, I feel your pain! I blew and interview with Meta's creative director. Those are great responses you've already received. I've been interviewing better since I started following this framework:– Know everything you can about the company culture, goals and pain points, the supervisor, and the role itself. Informational interviews with people in your role and roles that interact with yours are most helpful.– Get your stories straight, and make them relevant to the company's needs. Also prepare your "tell me about yourself" responses and responses to other common questions ("tell me about your strengths/weaknesses, "tell about a time when you…," etc.). Be concise.– Practice, practice, practice. Do so out loud with buddies so they can give you feedback on your responses and body language.– Prepare relevant questions to ask the interviewer—you are interviewing them as well as they are interviewing you.– Keep crib notes in view so you have reminders of what you want to say—just keywords, not scripts. I tape mine around my computer so I can see them at a glance.– Keep your eyes on the camera so the interviewers feel more of a connection to you. Sticking on googley eyes to either side of the camera is a fun way to keep your attention there.– Dance, breathe, get yourself grounded and feeling really good before logging in.You got this!
Hey, give yourself a little break. In it's own way, that's kind of a funny story!Maybe just take 2 weeks off the job hunt altogether, go for some little walks and tidy up your house, have a few brunches, go swimming etc. Just really gentle things to relax and decompress, and you'll have the energy to get back into it again.
Yes! My job search coach says self-care is a key component of the job search!