Bosses, HR manager and hiring managers meet a lot of people. They interview a lot of people. Most of the time, he's pretty mundane and even boring. The same questions asked and the same answers answered. The process can be pretty mind-numbing.
And then they are the interviews like this. The whackos and crazies. The ones that share too much or don't share anything. The insane resumes and the lying! So much lying!
You'll love all these stories from the people that lived through interviews that left them dumbfounded, angry and la
Time Is Money
“I had a guy who interviewed for a position. The interview was 30 minutes over the phone with a recruiter and one hour onsite.
He seemed to do okay in the actual interview, but when he was not selected for the position, he sent us an invoice of a few thousand dollars. He charged us his ‘normal hourly rate’ for his time and billed us for 50 hours. 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.”
He Wanted His Way
“My dad lined up an interview with a pipeline company for my cousin. He’s 30-something, still lives at home, and blames everyone else for his failures. It’s a real entry-level position, so basically if he shows up and can pass a substances test, he can have the job.
The interview was at like 9. At about 8:55, the interviewer got a call from my cousin saying that he was on his way, but will end up being a few minutes late because the drive-thru at Burger King was taking longer than expected.
He was all proud of himself, too, for being ‘professional’ and letting the guy know.”
That’s…A Weird Example
“I was interviewing a young guy for a retail position. After he told me about how good he was with the ladies for some reason, I asked him to tell me about a time when he was asked to do something he knew was wrong, for example stealing money out of the register, whatever.
His example was about when he had to get naked and shower with other guys at football practice.”
“I recently had to sit in on an interview because of schedule conflicts. I work at AVON where we basically sign for bulk deliveries, do basic desk work, and put order stuff into the system. I had a meeting with the manager that was booked at the same time someone had an interview and since both would only take a few minutes, I sat in the back of the office and watched the show.
The questions were like, ‘What is your level of computer knowledge?’ ‘Are you familiar with Microsoft Excel and can you make a spread sheet?’ ‘How long can you do a repetitive task without making mistakes?’ Basic office stuff, really. Most of the workers were straight out of high school, it was that beginner-level.
The woman being interviewed thought it was one of the door-to-door positions. She came in looking like Jackie Kennedy! All of her responses were things like, ‘Why would I need to know that?’ and ‘Aren’t you going to ask me about my people skills?’ She pulled out a picture of her mom selling Avon in the 50s and pictures of her kids and she talked about religion and her parenting skills and how she always wanted to be an Avon salesperson. We explained that this was a desk job, not a door to door job.
Needless to say, she didn’t get it. It ended with her saying something about how she was the prom queen back in 19XX and how she knew very important people and that we had just lost the best candidate and that we were making a BIG mistake. Good times.”
Don’t Disrespect Her!
“I had a woman interview when I was a manager of a deli.
She had previously worked at McDonald’s. I didn’t even ask her why she had left, she basically volunteered the information.
She started telling the whole story about how a customer was rude to her and she ‘felt she was being disrespected’ and that she had to tell the customer ‘what’s up when you come around disrespectin’ me?’ and the altercation escalated until she (the interviewee) reached over the counter and hit the customer with a tray and a fight broke out. The police came and she was arrested.
She got really animated while telling the story, like she was angry and reliving it all over again. Clearly she had anger issues.
I asked her, ‘This is food service job you are applying for. Customers can sometimes be frustrating. Don’t you think something like this could happen again?’
She basically said, ‘Long as them [witches] don’t be disrespectin’ me, we won’t have no problems. ‘
Needless to say, she wasn’t hired.”
Bold Thing To Admit
“I had a candidate completely nail the interview. I was about ready to make the offer on the spot, but at the very end of the interview he says, ‘I really feel like I can trust you. Now don’t worry about anything, because I know how to get around this, but I experiment heavily with weed.’
I sat there for a minute in stunned silence and the only thing I could think to ask was, ‘What does “experiment heavily” mean?’
He answered, ‘I pretty much smoke everyday to ease my anxiety, but don’t worry about the substance test. I can get around that very easily.’
I thanked him for his time and ended the interview.
Weirdest hiring experience ever.”
A Unique Approach
“A guy comes in for an interview, slouches in his chair, refusing to make eye contact.
After a series of monosyllabic responses to all of my questions, I finally ask him, ‘Do you even want to be here?’
He shrugs and says, ‘Not really.’
I said, ‘Well, then. I won’t waste any more of your time or mine.’
The look on his face as I escorted him out was priceless. I guess he thought honesty would win him points. It did not work.”
He Hates The Job
“I was interviewing a guy for a sales job. It was for business to business, computer systems sales, averaging at $30-50k per sale…
Me: ‘What’s the best way to get new customers?’
Guy: ‘Cold calling. You have to out there every day, knocking on doors, meeting people, making contacts.’
Me (Quite impressed): ‘So, how successful are you at that?’
Guy: ‘Me? I won’t do it. I hate it.’
Me (stunned): ‘Is there anything else you’d like to say before you leave?’
Guy: ‘No. I guess we’re done now…’
Me: ‘Yes. We are.’
I was all set to give him the job. Except for that!”
The Lies On His Resume Were Not What You Would Expect
“I was told this story by someone I used to work for:
He was interviewing for a senior level C++ developer candidate. A recruitment firm the company hired sends him this impressive resume. My boss is impressed and calls to have the guy in for an interview. Guy shows up and my boss starts throwing him some tech questions. He’s tripping up really bad. Dismayed, my boss says something to the effect of, ‘Well I’m really sorry, but it appears your C++ knowledge actually isn’t that great.’
The following conversation ensues:
Candidate: ‘Well no, sorry. I’m not that strong in C++’
Boss: ‘Really? I thought you were an expert in this.’
Candidate: ‘What makes you think I’m an expert in C++?’
Boss: ‘Your resume says you did C++ development for the past six years.’
Candidate (furrowing brow in concern): ‘May I see the resume you have for me?’
So the guy starts scanning over the resume my boss has, gets wide eyed, and then says:
Candidate: ‘This … this is not my resume!’
It turns out the recruitment company didn’t have any available candidates with C++. So they took some poor guy’s CV and completely forged a new resume for him. The entire thing was a fabrication. Only his name and contact info were accurate. Guess they thought (hoped) someone with development skills was ‘good enough’ and it wouldn’t matter.
Anyway, my boss apologizes to the guy, the candidate apologizes to my boss… they’re both feeling pretty awkward. My boss walks the guy out with no hard feelings.
The recruitment company was promptly fired.”
Casual Racism, More Than Casual Flirting And More!
“I interviewed as a boss for a few years and then recruiter so have a few of weird ones.
Once on a phone interview, I asked them tell me about a time they’d had to manage through a difficult situation. Their response was, ‘Well there was this black lady I worked with so…you know.’ Containing my annoyance and laughter, I say I don’t really know and ask her to elaborate. She says, ‘You know how they are: loud, lazy, and just kinda dumb. So, I basically had to deal with her on top of my regular work.’ I finished out the interview and turned her down later. Spoiler alert: I’m black.
Another time, I had an applicant come into my office and upon seeing me completely change his demeanor. Completely unprofessional and casual (hint: once he saw I’m a minority, he went from ‘Hello,’ to ‘Oh yo! What up homie?!’) Assuming he had the job in hand, he was nonchalant in answering questions and talking to me like we’re old friends. Then his cell phone rang and he said he’d be right back, he has to take the call. Once he walked outside, I told the security desk not to let him back in and tossed his application in the trash.
Once, on a college campus, the applicant was super nervous. They were slightly shaking and visibly sweating. I asked if they needed water or a break and they said no. I decided to be a little less formal to calm them down. It seemed to work until I asked my first interview question and they fainted.
Again, recruiting on campus for an entry level position: the top two buttons on the girls shirt came undone while I was giving the intro and then I was stopped mid sentence by being told, ‘Just so you know, I really need this job and would be open to working something out,’ with a wink and nod.
Yeah…I ended the interview on the spot.”
A Real Psycho
“I wasn’t the interviewer, but I was the lucky guy who got to deal with the bizarre aftermath.
So, this guy comes in to apply for a cashier position at a nicer grocery store. He shows up with ridiculously bad frosted tips and a tye-dye shirt full of holes. Not insanely relevant, aside from the fact it made him super recognizable and he looked incredibly unprofessional. The boss, a pretty awesome older woman that I’ll call Summer, told me when he left that he’d been a chauvinist pig the entire interview, asking when the ‘real boss’ was going to come interview him, and stating he ‘didn’t take orders from silly girls.’ She told him his interview was over and it was pretty clear he didn’t get the job.
Fast-forward to the next day and this guy suddenly shows up behind me wearing the same crap from yesterday while I’m working and tries to take over my register. I was really confused, but told him as plainly as I could in front of customers that he didn’t work there, and needed to bugger off. He kept insisting that he was assigned this register and I needed to ‘let him do his job.’ A manager noticed what was going on at this point and makes a motion for me to close my register once I’m done with current customer. Ok. I get through them, pointedly ignoring this guy, and hit the button to log my employee number off.
Frosted tips flips out. My manager comes over as he’s yelling at me to log back in so he can do his job. I tell him no. He and the manager get in some argument as the manager sends me off to go help an actual new hire. No idea how that went down, but I saw him leave, so assumed things were fine.
I see this guy again wandering around the store clearly pretending to be an employee. I report it to a manager. The manager refuses to do anything about it. I call Summer, as she’s the main boss, and explain what’s going on. She tells the managers to kick him out. Nobody will. He’s now harassing some older woman, and I’m just kind of done.
I, the only other female employee, ended up dragging this guy twice my height out of the store by his ripped tye-dye shirt as he screamed about suing us for not paying him for his hard work and dedication to the company.
He tried to come back the next day and ended up having the police called on him. It was a weird experience, and sadly not the last time I had to kick someone out of that store.”
The Crohn’s Candidate
“I was part of the hiring team for a level one tech support position. One resume we received had good qualifications, but was formatted very poorly. It was around 4 or 5 pages long, the bullet points were the suits of a deck of cards (hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds), and it repeated qualifications under different sections. The cover letter talked about how the candidate had a gap in his work history due to being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and how that’s all under control now, so there shouldn’t be an issue.
Well, we didn’t have a lot of qualified candidates, and this guy looked qualified (if possibly insane), so we pulled him in for an interview. It went exactly how you might expect. He was wearing a suit that was comically too big, including a fedora (I swear this is true). A mullet was present, along with a scraggly attempt at a beard. He spoke like the ‘arrogant nerd’ stereotype, talking down about practices at previous positions, and how he is looking for something much better than that. We try to be very down to earth in level one tech support, so he wasn’t really fitting. Then he started talking about his Crohn’s disease again, unprompted, on a totally unrelated question. He also mentioned how he really needs this job. It was painful.
So anyway, he starts Monday!
Just kidding, we let him know it wasn’t going to work out.”
Not Picking The Loser
“I assisted in a series of interviews with bosses because of my expertise in a specific field.
A candidate came in and immediately seemed pretty full of himself. He explained how he didn’t enjoy what he was doing at his current job. He said his current supervisors weren’t using his talents, he was bored, and that he would do his own thing instead of what was asked of him. He almost seemed to know his stuff. My bosses were curious to hear his ideas. It was very clear the candidate was the ‘I know I’m better than everyone, so I must be right’ type.
He wasn’t getting the job based on his attitude alone (his ideas were terrible, too), but what made the interview painful, to me at least, was the candidate kept picking his nose. First, discreetly, as if scratching an itch. After a while, the tip of his finger just kept going in there. My bosses didn’t notice, as the candidate would not shut up and kept going on tangents and my bosses spent the time looking at papers or the clock. I sat next to the candidate. I did not have the luxury of looking away.
He had a big nose.”
He Said The One Thing He Couldn’t Say
“A guy shows up dressed less than professionally. It’s a job working with kids at a summer camp. We ask why he wants to work there, he tells us because he doesn’t want to be bored all summer. Okay, strike 1.
Then he tells us that he has a pending misdemeanor. Okay, that doesn’t exclude him…
‘It’s totally bogus man, I put shaving cream all over this chick and ruined her jacket and now her mom is pressing charges.’ Whether or not that was the whole truth I’ll never know, but still not looking great for this kid.
Next, I always ended with one of those goofy, ‘If you were a piece of living room furniture what would you be?’ Mostly because camp counselors need to be able to be creative and think on their feet and some because I just want to hear what people come up with. At that point in the day though, I had probably done 20 interviews and had 17 people answer couch. I straight up told the guy, ‘Say anything other than couch. If I hear couch again, I probably wont hire them.’
‘If you could be any piece of living room furniture what would you be and why?’
After several minutes of thinking:
‘Well, I know you said not to say couch, but ya know, I just really gotta say couch, cuz like I like being comfortable.’
On his way out, he asked if he got the job. He did not.”
One Excited Kid!
“I helped run interviews for IT Helpdesk positions. We ran these as group interviews bringing in 20-45 people at a time. It was a 4 hour process where we had people in groups do various activities, collaborate, and do mini presentations. We basically were taking people with non-IT backgrounds (retail, recent graduates, change of career) and seeing if they had aptitude to learn and could function in a team.
So, in one exercise, we have each table pick a person and then that person presents what the table was working on together. So this one table pics this younger kid to present. He starts talking and the group of us who run the event all glance at each other sensing that something is off. It is one of those things where you can see somebody is very excited but a little awkward. He presents the tables info and it is a hot mess. Throwing in phrases like ‘And Ben in our group, who is a very smart person, and I want to learn more about, provided several powerful troubleshooting steps to accomplish this mission.’ It goes on for too long of time and we signal for him to stop as we often have to do for groups.
Well, he finishes. Pumps his fist in the air and shouts ‘YES!’ and then – I kid you not – puts his arms out like and airplane and begins running laps around the all hands space we host the even in. He has this huge smile on his face, running around, banking his arms as he goes in between tables. As we guide him back to his table, he forces a high-five from each of the people at his group.
Talk about uncomfortable silence in a room of 40 people. We carried on and later one of us running the event took him aside to make sure he was ok and ask that he remain seated. The recruiter flipped through records and saw that they did the phone screen and declined to have him come onsite but he came anyway. It turns out the guy was on the spectrum and his parents brought him to the interview anyway.
We had hired several people in the past on the spectrum but he was not in a place where he could handle customer service items. At the end of the event, all of us just didn’t know what to say. It was just such a surreal experience.”
This Criminal Really Wanted A Job!
“I work at a small retail store and we do interviews pretty frequently. It’s just a minimum wage position so nothing fancy. Anyway, this guy comes in for an application and an interview. Right off the bat he is wearing SUPER saggy pants with his underwear hanging out and a hat with frigging pot leaf on it.
I’m obligated to do the interview. I start asking the standard, ‘Why do you want to work here?’ kind of questions.
Every answer is something along the lines of, ‘I don’t know.’ This goes on for maybe a minute or two.
In the middle of it, I flip the job app over and it has a section for criminal activity. The dude was charged with a count of theft and indecent exposure. We don’t really hire too many people with records.
What’s even better is at the end I asked if he had any questions and he asked, ‘Why didn’t I get hired last week?’
It turns out he had applied a week ago and somehow couldn’t comprehend why he hadn’t heard back. I made up some dumb reason why he didn’t get hired and as he’s walking out, he says he’ll be back next week.
Thankfully he never showed back up.”