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What Makes a Bad Interview

By: Renzo Guevara

female interviewee on a bad interview

Public interviews are a great opportunity to convey your messages in a way that allows for further elaboration and building credibility. Putting a face behind an idea helps authenticate it to a wider demographic. If done properly, interviews can convert an audience to buy into what you’re trying to say. All it takes is one bad interview to lose any form of positive momentum. 

The Rise of an Idea

Back in 2013, the r/antiwork subreddit was created with the tagline “Unemployment for all, not just the rich!” It’s a movement that has been growing rapidly since its inception with an active community that posts and interacts with each other on a daily basis. Today, it has over 2.2 million users.

Judging from the title, it’s easy to think that it’s just a group of people advocating for being lazy while still getting paid for it. In actuality, the online space was meant to shed light on various workspace issues and abuse scenarios that are commonly found in corporate settings.

Calling for wealth equality and healthy working conditions are valid advocacies. Who doesn’t want a workplace where you can thrive and feel supported? However, the average person doesn’t know that the anti work subreddit was meant for this purpose. It has gotten to the point where major publications are blaming the subreddit for fueling major economic shifts such as the “Great Resignation” and “Quiet Quitting” trends.

All of a sudden, r/antiwork became the poster boy for the “people just don’t want to work” narrative. But, a golden opportunity presented itself. Fox News reached out to the subreddit for a live interview on national television. Doreen Ford, one of the pages’ veteran moderators, accepted to come on the show and represent. This was their one shot at fixing the tarnished reputation of the subreddit. You might already know what happened next.

The Fall of an Idea

It only took three minutes for Fox News to completely discredit the entirety of r/antiwork with Doreen Ford being the unfortunate scapegoat.

From the very beginning, you can already tell the outcome. Fox News’ Jesse Watters had an immovable smirk on his face throughout the entire interview. His first question to Ford was “why do you like the idea of being home, not working, but still getting paid by corporate America?”

It was clear that Watters already had an agenda. Every question Watters asked was a personal one meant to unmask who Ford was and not what the infamous subreddit is all about. The interview was not meant to give r/antiwork a space to talk about their side and what they stand for. Watters wanted to show the world exactly what the common misconceptions are saying—just a bunch of lazy individuals who want to get paid for minimal work.

It didn’t help that Ford presented herself with unkept hair, a dimly lit room, and a messy background. When answering questions, Ford failed to make any form of eye contact with the screen or the camera as she fidgets her body from side to side. She looked extremely uncomfortable beside a TV news reporter that looked nothing but confident.

Ever had a moment in school or at work where someone was presenting and you can just tell that they probably have no idea what they’re talking about? They just start saying the first thing that comes to mind just so they can look like they prepared something? That’s exactly what Ford did with her answers.

When she said “I think laziness is a virtue in a society where people want you to be productive 24/7,” Watters just knew what he had and continued to capitalize on it. The entire interview was just an awkward watch with Ford mumbling through her answers oftentimes ending with the phrase “and stuff like that.” and Watters regularly cutting her off with more personal questions.

The Fox News reporter ended the session with “thank you so much. We gotta run, we gotta pay the bills.” with a smile on his face and Ford being taken off the air without even saying goodbye as she continues to rock her chair with an awkward laugh that you only do when someone makes an uncomfortable joke.

What came after? The r/antiwork subreddit went on private mode for a time with Ford being kicked out as a moderator. A random user’s comment went viral saying “This interview was so embarrassing it made me want to go to work.” In short: it was a disaster.

When talking as an interviewee, confidence is the number one requirement. You have to look like you’re interested and well-knowledgeable in what you’re talking about otherwise, the interviewer will see right through your act. You want it to be more of a conversation rather than a one-sided ambush.

Confidence comes easily after good preparation. Have a clear idea of what you should be talking about, think of anticipated questions, and show up like you want to be there. Dress appropriately, act properly, and speak confidently. People can tell if you’re just trying to fake it till you make it.

Need help on that? We know exactly what to do. In line with what we’re talking about, let’s get to work.

M2.0 Communications is a PR firm in the Philippines that has been helping brands engage their target audience through data-driven narratives. We offer PR Advisory services, including crisis management and media training.

Learn more about our work by visiting our case studies page.