Not all job interviews go over so well... And these candidates apparently didn't realize how they should and should not act in a workplace setting. (Content has been edited for clarity)
Something To Say About His Felony Conviction?
“I once had a guy come in for an interview with a ‘will explain’ written in the ‘have you ever been convicted of a felony’ line. Honestly, no red flags. We get that a lot. And the dude was clean cut and well spoken. It was probably some stupid thing he did when he was eighteen and naive.
He opened up not with, ‘Hello,’ but with how his conviction for assault a few years ago was bogus and only happened because his girlfriend’s parents didn’t like him. Er. Okay, dude. We push through with the interview, but every other question or so, he circles back to his assault charge, becoming more and angrier at his ex, explaining to us what she had said and how it wasn’t his fault he misunderstood. And when we wouldn’t participate in his rant, he began getting angry with us.
We went another direction with the hire.”
A ‘Quick Run To The Bathroom’ Ended Up With A Call For An Ambulance
“I was hiring for a coffee shop and a nice enough gal came in 20 minutes late. ‘Like, what’s the big swag deal, guys.’ During the interview, we asked what her strengths are. Her answer, she ‘don’t take no crap from nobody.’ Then she asked for a quick run to the bathroom, which we obliged, but after ten minutes she never came back. Keep in mind, there is only one door in this shop so we know she’s still in there.
I sent a female employee to check if she was okay, needed toilet paper, whatever. Then, 10 seconds later, I heard screaming and rushed over to find our applicant currently unconscious with a band around her arm and a needle sticking out of said arm just below it. Called the ambulance and got her squared away before they transported her. Whelp, the bad news is that we needed a new candidate because this one clearly can’t work. No. The next morning, she showed up saying that she ‘talked’ to the owner (who was not present at the interview) who told her that he liked her and she was hired.
The stories that could be told about this woman are vast. Just a taster: I was attempting to repair an automatic espresso machine and have them unplugged while I work. I find the issue was that the water reservoir had a leak and water was all over the place. She plugged it back in while I was still inside the machine working and I got electrocuted. She walked over to me and said, ‘Gross, I don’t really think you should be laying on that dirty floor at work,’ and left. I don’t know how I didn’t murder her.”
Doesn’t Seem Like She Understands Anything About Computers…
“I work in software development.
As part of the interview process at my company, our candidates interview over Skype using a code-sharing website for them to complete a small and relatively simple problem to help weed out candidates who are dishonest on their resumes.
In one of my interviews, I start with the usual introduction of myself, my role within the company, so on and so forth. I introduce her to the task and explain that it’ll be on a code-sharing website and that she’ll need to follow the link I would send her to access it. I paste the link into the text window and explain to her how to access it (some people haven’t used Skype before and don’t know how to access text chat in a video call). She smiles and nods and asks me when I’m done, ‘Will you be writing the link on the whiteboard?’
What whiteboard? I look behind me and remember that yes, there is a small whiteboard behind me, and this woman was expecting me to handwrite the (not so short) link and she would read it off the webcam to type it into her browser. ‘No,’ I explain, ‘I sent you the link within Skype itself. If you’ll just click…’ I’m forced to trail off as she reaches forward and picks up her webcam (which I’m assuming was mounted to the top of her monitor). I get a nice close-up of her eye as she peers inside the camera, then turns it on its side to observe it some more. I ask her what she’s doing. ‘Trying to find the link,’ she replies.
Dumbfounded, I once again explain that the link was sent over Skype and wouldn’t appear behind me nor on the webcam. She resumes the smile-and-nod routine as I ask her to follow my directions to access the Skype text chat window. I ask her to wave her mouse cursor over my face until she sees some buttons appear. She takes her hand off the mouse, raises it, and waves it over the screen. I explain to her again that she needs to use the mouse and she smiles and nods again.
After about 15 minutes (of a 30-minute interview), she did finally discover the link in the Skype text chat, but she proceeded to type it into her browser by hand.
She did not make it to the next round.”
His Mother Didn’t Handle The Rejection Well!
“Back when I was HR Manager for a market research firm, one of the most awkward interviews was with my candidate and his mother.
This 19-year-old, who apparently had previous work experience in customer service, brought his mother into the interview with him. I politely questioned his mother as to the reasoning of her joining in on the interview and I was told, ‘I’m just making sure this is the right company for him and making sure you’re asking fair questions.’
I decided to roll with it (why not, this is the most interesting thing I’ve had all week) so I asked my first question and she answered for him. I politely explained that the interviews I conduct are with the candidate only unless special accommodations are required. I was told, ‘I’m not going anywhere.’
I thanked them both for coming out and explained that the position requires problem-solving and critical thinking on an individual level. Unless I am hiring the both of them under one salary working together as a ‘full-time equivalent,’ this wouldn’t work. I was then told I would be sued.”
Why The Bratty Teen Was Forced To Get A Job…
“I was working as a front-end supervisor for a big box retailer going into the holiday season. This was the beginning of November.
I get this girl who came in for an interview and I let her know it was seasonal work, but that we would be keeping some of the seasonal hires after January and inquired as to whether she was looking for seasonal or long-term.
In the most stereotypical Valley-Girl voice I’ve ever heard, she replies, ‘Well, I basically got in trouble for bad grades and staying out too late, and my parents are making me pay for my own car insurance this month.’
That was it. She just stared at me, expecting her to hire her on the spot.
I did not do that. I do still wonder if she ever got a job that helped her pay her car insurance for that month, though.”
She Was Too Busy Doing Other Things To Do A Good Job On That Phone Interview
“I did a telephone interview last night with a prospective candidate. She replied to the email I sent to schedule it and said 6 pm would be good. I am OK with interviews after work hours, so I agree and called at 6 pm. She answered and asked me if I could do her a favor and call back in 10 minutes. I suggested that if this wasn’t a good time, to let me know what is. I told her that I was already away from the office, so anytime before 8 pm was fine. She told me 7 pm would be perfect.
Strike 1. If you set a time, show respect for the interviewer’s time and be ready.
I called at 7 pm. No answer. I left a message to say I would call back in 10 minutes. She hit redial (I assume) and called me back in five minutes. We talked for five minutes and twice I had to tell her I was having a hard time hearing her because of background noise (I could hear what sounded like ‘dinner making’) and that her cell phone was cutting out. Then we lost connection.
I called her back after two minutes and she still seemed to be making dinner. We got to the part where I finish my spiel about our company and then, for my favorite trick, I said, ‘Forgive me if I am telling you things you already know. You might know all of this from your research before this call. Do you already know all of this?’
She said, ‘No. This is new.’
I asked, ‘What did you do to research before this call?’
She said, ‘I have so many interviews and applications out that I didn’t have time to do any research.’ Strike 2. Even if you have done zero research, the proper response is: Yes. I knew most of what you are telling me, but it is always great to hear it from someone within the company.
I explained that the role was a new one to add to a small team because we were expanding. I asked her if she was comfortable working with a team that size and her reply was, ‘Oh. I don’t mind.’
Ball 1. Even if it isn’t your first choice, you can say you are comfortable with that and ask me what the opportunities are with such a small team…make me SELL it.
After talking about her resume for a bit, I asked if she had any questions for me. Of course, she does and the first question out of the gate: ‘What would the salary be?’
Strike 3. Even if that is a deal breaker for you, ask me two or three other questions to show you are at the very least interested in the role before you cut to the ‘never to be asked in the first contact,’ question).
Overall, I guess this isn’t the WORST but it is a categorical ‘NO’ in terms of would I hire this person, so I thought I would share the thinking from a person in charge of hiring people.”
Charging Them For The Interview?
“I had a guy who interviewed for a position. Seemed to do okay in the actual interview, but when he was not selected for the position, he sent us an invoice for a few thousand dollars. He charged us his ‘normal hourly rate’ for his time and billed us for 50 hours.
The interview was 30 minutes over the phone with a recruiter and one hour onsite. He drove to the office, which only took him about 30 minutes to drive. He did itemize the bill for us and the bulk of those hours were for ‘preparation.’ We did not pay him. He tried to insist we pay him. We showed our lawyers who just laughed, so we still did not pay him.
The best part was he was interviewing for an HR position.”
Definitely Not Dressed For The Job!
“I was interviewing someone for a door-to-door canvass for a multinational charity.
A woman came in, sat down, and took her coat off. She apologized that she hadn’t had a chance to change her outfit from the previous night’s partying.
As she pulled her jacket off, her shirt exposed part of her chest. For a moment, it just hung there before she nonchalantly slid that puppy right back where it belonged, acting as if nothing had just happened.
I moved the interview from my office to a public area of the office in full view of other staff members. Also, her resume was half a page written in pencil on a lined piece of paper. She didn’t get the job.”
Such A Bold Move…
“I interviewed a guy who, when asked if he was okay with taking a test for illegal substances, said, ‘Yeah, of course! Is it okay if I use my girlfriend’s pee? I have it with me already in a cup.’
He then pulled the cup out of his jacket pocket and proudly put it on my desk, swishing back and forth in all its neon-yellow glory.
I said nothing, just stared at the pee in the cup. Sitting there. On my desk.
Then, when I thought it couldn’t get any weirder, he shifted in his chair, apparently uncomfortable in our silence, cleared his throat, and said, ‘If that’s not enough, I can get more. I have extra stashed in a cooler in my car.'”
Everything You Should Never Do In An Interview
“A younger guy in his 20s was scheduled for an interview, which he arrived 40 minutes late for. Didn’t apologize or even acknowledge that he was late – just walked in like he was ready to go. I told him that the managers were getting ready for their next interview now and if he wanted to be considered, we would give him another chance to come in at a later date.
Fast forward to the rescheduled interview. He was five minutes late. Not acceptable, but we went forward with the interview anyway.
Once he sat down in the interview room, he asked for a glass of water (this is a health care setting, not an office or anything. Aside from a couple of 40-year-old water fountains and vending machines, there’s nothing). The manager told him there was no sink or water cooler, but there was a water fountain in the hallway.
He said, ‘Great!’ and stood up to leave the room, just eight minutes after the start of the interview at this point. Instead of going to the water fountain, he went all the way down the hall to the vending machine.
He came back with a bottle of pop and said, ‘Okay, we can get started now!’
His phone rang in the middle of the interview and instead of apologizing and turning it to silent, he looked at it, rejected the call, and then proceeded to do something on his phone for the next 30 seconds. Then put his phone down, FACE UP, on the table and looked at it every time he got a message or notification of some kind.
He didn’t get the job. And when the feedback was given, he was genuinely surprised and thought we had it out for him.”
He Was Too Cool To Remove His Shades
“I was moved from my former specialist position in IT to our development team as a programmer. My former boss asked that I sit in on interviews with candidates, as I would be able to ask technical questions (our Endpoint IT manager is a GREAT manager, but not the best at IT. Luckily, he KNOWS this, and surrounds himself with tech junkies and defers to his staff for tech things).
Our first interview was with a gentleman from a major company in our town–like a fortune 500 company. He was a support technician there and the recruiter said he fit all of our necessary skill sets: Microsoft Powershell scripting, basic C# programming, and preferably experience with encryption. If you can’t tell, that position was going to be hard to fill with that mix of skills, so we were flexible on it all.
This gentleman came in wearing sunglasses, not transition lenses (they NEVER transitioned), and thankfully, he was wearing a suit. Less thankfully, it was green and tweed. Myself and the Assistant Manager started the interview, our Manager came in halfway through.
We asked him what his experience with Powershell is, and he responded, ‘I’ve not used it on the job, but I have read about it in a couple of articles on the web. It’s something I’m really excited about.’
Okay, fine, we didn’t expect to get a slew of support techs with deep Powershell knowledge. So I asked, ‘What about it excites you?’
‘The power of the shell, really, and all that it can do.’
Moving on. We asked what he knows about our company and what makes him want to work here, and he pretty much read the first line of our Wikipedia. Fair enough, he did some web research. We ask why he wanted to work here and he said, ‘Cause you’re hiring! And you need good talent!’
By the way, the sunglasses? They were still on. My manager came in, noticed the Ray Bans, and immediately closed all the blinds, making the room much darker. Sunglasses remain on. My boss shook his hand, did his intro, got caught up on the questions we’d asked, then complimented the interviewee on his suit (said boss really loves tweed…we three joked about it a lot afterward). Sunglasses guy’s response, ‘Yes, I apologize for being overdressed, I just came from a funeral.’
Before even touching on the latter aspect of that response, the company I work for is a rather conservative and old financial and banking institution. Ties are required for every male on staff, and suits are required for MOST positions (IT, thankfully, just has the tie requirement). The three of us were all in fine shirts and ties with business formal slacks. This Sunglasses Hut guy in a green tweed suit just apologized for being overdressed…because he just came from a funeral.
My boss had no idea what to say so just asked, ‘I’m terribly sorry…why didn’t you reschedule the interview?’
‘There wasn’t a scheduling conflict.’
When the interviewee finally left, my boss turned to the assistant manager and I and just instantly asked, ‘Okay, did he explain the sunglasses before I got here?’
And we both simultaneously said: ‘No!’
PS: He wasn’t blind. I put code examples up on a computer screen and he read them from a distance; he literally just wore sunglasses the whole interview, never told us why.”
He Just Wanted To Hang With His Friends!
“The kid was in high school and put down his friends as references. He also had to fill out the application twice because the first time he messed up.
Me: ‘What made you apply?’ I ask this question more to see what type of response that can create on the spot. I like to see if they can formulate a decent response while thinking on their feet.
Kid: ‘Well…umm…all my friends work here, so I don’t think it would really be, like, a job to me. More like kicking it with the homies.’
Me: ‘Would your friends being employed here, get in the way of you working?’
Kid: ‘Maybe. I mean, our Auto Class teacher makes all of us split up in class and we can’t work together.'”
His Fascination With Murder…
“A guy had applied for a warehouse/delivery position. I emailed back and forth with a few questions before the interview, and it sounded promising. He came in, sat down and said, ‘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.
It’s hard to pinpoint the worst…I’ve had everything from girlfriend coming in with him, to hadn’t showered in a week, to one guy asking who they could talk to about an advance because they owe people money (he hadn’t been offered the position yet).
I think the one that takes the cake was the graphic designer that brought in his portfolio of paintings depicting women getting murdered in various gruesome ways. He proceeded to tell us how fascinated he was with murder. We walked in pairs to our cars for a while after that.”
Some People Just Can’t Let Their High School Glory Days Go
“I had a guy that showed up for one, he was nearly 30 (I think 27) and on his resume under skills, he put that he was a quarterback in high school.
Another time, we had a guy show up for a yard maintenance position. He was 25 and did ok until he asked what his shift would be (8am-4pm). When I told him what it was, I asked if that was an issue. His response was, ‘Yeah, that won’t work for me. I usually don’t get up until 11:30, and I usually meet up with friends around 5. So I won’t be able to make it home in time to go out.’ It took every ounce of control not to lose my cool on this guy.
Once had a girl show up. Her interview was a basic receptionist job. Under her previous jobs (keep in mind, she was 20 years old) she put down, ‘Lead cheerleader JV and Varsity.’ I didn’t even bother reading past that point. I even asked her how that could relate to this job. She did not have a response, she just left without saying a word.
The only other one, I can think of, is when a guy came in for his interview and was clearly on some type of illegal substances (couldn’t talk, all strung out). The interview seemed like it took forever, and I said, ‘We do testing here, would you be able to take the test today if employment was offered?’
His response was, ‘Oh crap. No man…I’m all messed up right now.’
Those are the only ones I can think of.”
How He Wants To Help The Homeless…
“I was interviewing for a Homeless Advice worker, someone to assess people who were homeless and give them advice on next steps, what agencies they could link in with, etc. The person who turned up to the interview was obviously not the same person who had completed the application form and the leaps of logic they made to fill the gaps in their knowledge were astounding.
We asked them a question about what support they felt could be put in place to help people in need of housing and they started talking about starting a football team to help give the homeless people something to do. A nice thought, but not the full answer we were looking for, so we probed a bit further. Then they said that as many homeless people were also illegal substance addicts, they would want to find a way for them to stay safe, so they decided that injecting them personally with illegal substances was the best way to do this (they felt it was safer if a professional did this). I don’t think we could fully hide the shock on our faces, so the candidate immediately said, of course, they would bring a portable screen with them to put around the homeless person to give them privacy.
They didn’t get the job.”