There are fewer things more stressful than a job interview. Everyone worries that they will come off badly, despite their best intentions. I once went into a job interview and somehow ended up telling the interviewer all about my three cats even though he was clearly not interested and it had nothing to do with the job I was applying for. I couldn’t help it! Something about the pressure of job interviews makes people go a little crazy. (I actually got the job, and he never did ask me how the cats were doing after that…)
Everyone is worried they will do something completely stupid in a job interview, like accidentally curtsey instead of shaking a hand, or reveal that their entire resume is “slightly exaggerated.” But usually, despite the pressure, things don’t go horribly awry.
That was not the case for these job interviews. Be prepared, things get weird.
When interviewing, don’t forget to act like a human being.
One time when I was accepting resumes a girl comes in and I go to shake her hand and I ask for her name. She doesn’t shake my hand and points to her name on the resume, rolls her eyes and says, “it literally says my name right there.”
Not stealing from your potential employer is also a good idea.
I used to manage a Blockbuster and after one particularly awful interview I walked the candidate out towards the parking lot and the alarms went off. It turned out he stuffed three DVDs in his suit jacket before being called back to the office. He did not get the job. Or Mama Mia, Fool’s Gold, or High School Musical 3 for that matter.
One thing I have learned from writing this article is how many people bring their parents to job interviews. It’s frightening.
Not me, but my Dad told me a great story.
He was hiring for a technical position near London. He has one guy come in with an older gentleman. The interviewee was in his mid 30’s while the guy with him was mid 50’s. This person was apparently his Dad.
The guy who was actually there to be interviewed never spoke, but the man in his 50’s comes in and the first thing he does is start trying to negotiate about pay. He’d come in on the assumption that of course, his son was going to be hired, and now they just needed to hammer out the details on what his son was going to get in terms of pay and benefits.
My Dad told them that if the older man was willing to wait outside he would be happy to restart the interview but since the interviewee’s Dad was not going to be working there he had no reason to speak to him. They declined this offer and left.
I had to interview a guy for some contract labor and when I showed him our work vehicle he shook my hand and said, “I’m sorry but I refuse to drive a Chevy” and left.
I was speechless… he was giving me the story of how hard he’s been having it, and I decided to give him a shot and because we had a Silverado for the work vehicle he turned it down…he has 3 young children.
A woman couldn’t possibly be a boss!
I interviewed a guy who in the interview did all three . . .
commented that I was a woman and if I was “actually his boss or just an HR desk clerk?”
ask if we drug tested, and if so, could he take it in “like a week, he should pass then”
when I said that we are business casual his response was “well you would need to provide me with pants, since I only own jeans.”
I didn’t hire him…I am still shocked when I think of how bad of an applicant he was.
Sometimes interviews are just confusing.
Not the worst, but the weirdest. Guy applied for a warehouse/delivery position. He had emailed back and forth with a few questions before the interview, and it sounded promising.
He comes in, sits down and says, “so, what is this position? Delivery? Oh, I can’t lift anything. Also, I lost my driver’s license a few months ago. I guess we’re done here.” And then just got up and left.
No thank you or goodbye, just got up and left. It was the shortest, most bizarre interview I’ve ever done.
Make sure you know you’re in an interview.
A woman was about 15 years older than I was and clearly didn’t understand that I was the one actually interviewing her for the job. This was an engineering position on my team making ~$175K.
She was very candid with me regarding her overall personality and actually put her purse on her lap at one point and doing her makeup while we were talking. I guess she thought I was the secretary and she was making small talk before meeting with my boss?
WHAT?!?! NO! OMG, NO. PLEASE DO NOT DO THAT, SIR.
I asked a guy when would he be available to begin work if offered the position…his response was that he would have to put down his dogs in order to begin work as soon as possible but was willing to do that to get the job.
We called him almost immediately after the interview to tell him he wasn’t selected and hopefully saved his dog’s lives.
This guy came in, and I asked him why he wanted the job. He said “Well I really just wanted something super easy where I could kind of do nothing. I mean you guys don’t look like you work very hard. Also, there are some hot chicks that work here and I’d like to get to know them.”
I asked him what made him think that the job was easy and he replied, “well the thing is, I’m really fucking smart.” I literally looked around to see if I was on some candid camera show.
Security? We need you on floor three.
I was interviewing a candidate for an IT manager-type of position. He told me that he had been fired from his last position. Before I could inquire as to the reason, the candidate added, “Funny thing is, the same day my boss fired me was the same day he decided that he needed a punch in the face.” NEXT!
Don’t get too comfy, it’s an interview, not a sleepover.
I had a girl who sat across from me, put her elbow on my desk then rested her head flat on her hand so that her head was now sideways. She stayed that way through the entire interview.
This is everyone’s worst nightmare.
Had a guy show up 40 minutes early for an interview, obviously crazy nervous. 30 minutes later my team and I greet the guy, and you could tell by the fantastic handshake the nerves were still there, and this may not go well.
I motioned him to the boardroom to do the interview, we sat down and before I had even asked the first question, he had barfed all over the table. Funny thing was he was one of the better applicants, so he did get a callback.
Make sure you know what you’re applying for.
Guy told us that he applied so long ago he forgot which position it was for. We then proceeded to show him the job description and he said, “I don’t even know what this piece of equipment is” (it was a maintenance job). He apologized for wasting our time but he got a free bottle of water, so I guess it worked out for him.
That’s not exactly what employers mean by “special skills” but good for you anyway.
I’m not a current manager but for my last job I had read over the resumes and made piles of no’s and maybes’. Anyway, one of the people put “practicing Christian” in their “other skills” section. One put “really good at Yu-Gi-Oh cards”. Another person put the word resume on the center top of their resume.
Was this an interview for being a serial killer? If so, she nailed it.
I help hire for a paint store. We had a lady come in once looking for a job so we scheduled her for an interview. She came in dressed in sweats and an old, stained and altogether disgusting sweatshirt.
We started the interview and she immediately launched into how much she enjoyed her previous job as a butcher and how well she could carve up a carcass. She avoided all of our questions about working with people and customer service experience and chose instead to continue providing stories about working as a butcher. It got really awkward because we quickly realized we were not going to hire her but she continued to share with us her fascination with dead things and their dismemberment.
She left at the end of the interview and the manager and I looked at each other and agreed she might come back with a vengeance… Yes, she left us with that feeling.
Again, honesty is not always the best policy.
Interviewing Veterinary Technicians and noticed there was quite a long gap (a few years) between the applicant’s college graduation and passing her state license exam. When I asked her about it, her response was, “It was pure laziness.”
That is one way to immediately not get a job.
Just a few weeks ago, I interviewed a girl for a healthcare position. The question was something like “tell me about a time you were forced into a new situation and how did you deal with it.” She proceeds to tell us about the time she was forced to move to an area with “colored people” and how she learned to “deal with them.”
My question read: “Tell me about a time when you had to make a quick decision” and this kid answered: “When I am deciding whether or not to stop at a yellow light. Like it’s about to turn red and I have to decide whether I want to run it or not.”
Try to not blatantly lie. You can lie a little bit like when you say you know how to use a fax machine and are proficient in Excel. But not this much.
We had an applicant for a teaching position who stated on his resume that he held a Master of Music degree from Yale.
When interviewing him, I asked what he thought of Woolsey Hall (Yale’s primary concert hall) and its renowned pipe organ. By his answer and facial expression, I could tell he’d never been there.
After he left, I called contacts at the university who confirmed that they’d never heard of him and no one by his name had received a degree there.
Never take off your shoes during an interview that’s not for a foot model job. Period.
I once interviewed a guy for a work-study position at a college radio station. The position was for ten hours a week as a sports reporter.
I told him that he would sometimes have to carry the equipment for the remote broadcast of sports and he immediately took his shoe and sock off and put his foot on the table to show me a scar on his foot. Tells me that he has a plate in his foot and sometimes it hurts and he wouldn’t be able to carry heavy things when it was hurting.
Your resume isn’t a script.
I meet the interviewee and, like most candidates for jobs, she brings in a copy of her resume. I sit her down and ask as an opening question, “So, what caused you to take interest in this position?”
The girl smiles and says, “Well, I have a lot of experience that I feel I could bring to the table, which is on my resume.”
She then looks down at her resume and proceeds to read it to me. Verbatim and in its entirety. For 15 minutes straight. No eye contact. She reads word-for-word every bullet point, every detail, every award, and leadership position that she had in college, what she did at her last internship…most of which had absolutely nothing to do with the job.
After 15 minutes of her talking, I still did not know why she was interested in the job.
In fact, all I knew about her was the information on her resume, which I had received and read prior to the interview.
And she knew I’d previously seen it because I’d mentioned reading her resume before we sat down.
I didn’t bother asking all the questions I was supposed to. We talked for a little bit after that, and then I thanked her for her time and called it a day.
If you copy and paste your resume, you’re going to get found out when you…can’t do your job.
I interviewed a young lady for working an SQL position. During the interview she was unable to remember the names and dates of places she had “worked” and couldn’t tell me anyone’s name she had worked for. So while my partner was asking her something I googled the first line of her experience and immediately got a hit on a sample resume for SQL admins. Yup, pure copypasta.
Make your lies believable, at least?
Lady called us a half hour after her interview was supposed to start claiming to have gotten into a car accident at the bottom of the exit ramp…that we can see from our office. We let that one slide and ignored her until she called the next week asking when she could start working for us….
If you only know one thing about interviewing it is: know what the job is.
I interviewed this one girl for a logistics position in my department. She seemed nice enough, but her resume didn’t really warrant an interview, but out of respect for my boss who asked me to as a favor, I did a phone screen with her.
After initial introductions I asked her what she liked about the job posting and why she thought she would be a good fit for the roles and responsibilities, she replied “Well, I haven’t really read the job description and I don’t have it in front of me, but I think I would really enjoy working for your company and fit in really well.” I replied with “I think we’re done here, thank you.”
I was interviewing someone for a university peer mentoring position and the third or fourth question was “what is your pet peeve?” This person responded, “when fuckboys think they won’t get seen.” It was a very incredible response to which no one in the room could respond.
Don’t be too eager. Or musical.
One guy burst into loud song mid-interview to demonstrate that he was ‘a character’.
It was for an engineering position, at a very formal company.
I would hire someone who brought their cat to the interview, but that’s just me.
My favorite was a lady who was interviewing for an Executive Secretary job for a C-level exec, so she needed to be very professional and polished and this job paid pretty good money and was possibly a temp-to-hire position.
She called and asked if someone could pick her up for the interview because her car wouldn’t start and she needed to take her cat to the vet. No one could help her so the lady (late 20’s/early 30’s) showed up to the interview in overalls on a Razor scooter with a cat in a carrier — she’d literally Razored her way over to the interview with the sick cat!
As you can imagine, she wasn’t quite ready for an executive role, so she got passed over.
This could be a brilliant move, though.
A woman comes in for a management position. During the interview, she reaches into her purse and pulls out a bag from Wendy’s and starts eating. The other manager tells her to put it away and she tells him it is okay, she can multi-task.
At least write them on a notecard.
The best one was when we got to the “have you got any questions for us” portion, the candidate said “oh yeah!” then pulled out a book called “answering interview questions for dummies”, leafed through and went “Ooh, here’s a good one!” and asked that. I can’t even remember what question candidate asked!
A nap room would be nice, though.
I had a recent college grad interview for a job. He asked if we had a nap room. Said his doctor required him to take an hour nap a day. If he got hired he will provide the appropriate medical records but requires a nap room.
I had a group interview once at Build-a-Bear and they made us do a conga line around the store chanting “I really want the job.”
“This place sucks! When are you going to hire me?”
I was on the interview committee for a position in the school I work with. There was a lady who kept mentioning how she has heard so many horrible things about the school district.
It got to the point that I ended up keeping a running tally of how many times she mentioned how horrible the district was. I think the final count was about 8. In a 30 minute interview. I don’t know about you, but I find it’s generally frowned upon to mention repeatedly that you have heard how horrible the district you are actively seeking employment is.
I was trying to fill a laborers position, and our sheet asks what position you would like to have. Well anyway, this one kid, he’s 18 and according to his resume been in college for like 2 months, not even out of high school for 6 yet. I asked why he put down “management” when he clearly applied to a labor job. His response was “I’m in college now, I don’t have to do manual labor anymore”. Yeah, not hired.
I had a guy asked if the full-time office job that he was interviewing for, he had to work every day and if they were full days. Then he told me that he was only planning on being here for a year because he was going to move to Philadelphia because he liked the scene there. So, he only wanted the job so he could make a little cash before he moved.
Have you ever been a part of a terrible interview?
Share this post on social media and see who else has had a nightmare interview.