Interview Prep Tips

HireVue: Tell me about a time you delivered disappointing news


HireVue interviews can be intimidating and stressful.

The good news is that HireVue interviews follow a very predictable pattern and a good amount of questions asked are common to a wide variety of industries, roles and seniority levels. The same applies to other platforms like Spark Hire or VidCruiter.

In this post, the team at Voomer – experts at HireVue prep – break down one of the most common HireVue interview questions: Tell me about a time you delivered disappointing news.

The actual question being asked

HireVue doesn’t care about how well you are able to let someone down with bad news. What they are really interested is in how proactive you are.

Think about it – after you tell your manager bad news, their first reaction should be “what do we do about this?”. Thinking ahead to that point is what will make you stand out from the crowd of other applicants.

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How to answer “tell me about a time you delivered disappointing news

  1. Learn the C-A-R method for answering questions. That’s Context, Action, Result. We have a great blog post that explains this method in detail here.
  2. Establish context, set the scene for the interviewer. Briefly explain what bad news you had to deliver and skim over the reasons for that bad news cropping up in the first place. This is important since that is the hook that will allow you to show your proactivity and initiative in the following steps.
  3. Show what actions you took. Here I don’t mean just telling the bad news to your manager. I mean taking a look at the root causes of the bad news and coming up with a plan to turn things around. Presenting that plan along with the bad news is absolutely critical to demonstrate how proactive you are and how you take the initiative.
  4. Explain the results you achieved with the preceding actions. If your proposed action plan was implemented and actually brought about hard results, by all means mention them!

Watch out

The biggest pitfall applicants stumble into with this question is not talking about what they did after they delivered the bad news. Anyone can deliver bad news, but a strong job applicant is one that thinks one step ahead and delivers solutions and next steps along with the bad news.


This apparently simple question leads many to a simple answer – but don’t be that person! Look beyond the question and impress the interviewer with your initiative and proactiveness.

To ensure you ace this question, besides thinking of good examples from your career, make sure you practice answering the question in an environment that is as similar as possible the one you’ll face on your HireVue.

HireVue interviews can be surprisingly disconcerting, so it makes a lot of sense to prepare for them with a tool like Voomer. You’ll get asked questions that are extremely similar to the ones you’ll face on your HireVue, broken down into company-specific question banks and you get AI-powered feedback on your performance so you can land that dream job!

By David Anderton-Yang

David Anderton-Yang is the CEO and co-founder of Voomer where AI as a force for good, helping people be more confident on video.

He is a former researcher at the MIT Media Lab, Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree.

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