Hiring managers typically have to deal with tons of applicants who could potentially get a position in their company. Their job is extremely important because they choose which people are worth hiring and who are not. Sometimes, though, people do the hiring manager's job for them and royally mess up early on in the hiring process and taking themselves out of the discussion for the job.
Here are real hiring manager's stories about people who took themselves out of the running for a position.
"I was told about a parent who took their child somewhere to fill out an application. While the kid was filling out the application, the parent struck up a conversation with the manager, saying how their kid is lazy, disrespectful, never listens, and how they want this job to whip their kid into shape. After they left, the manager tossed out the kid’s application."
"By looks, I can seem like I don't work an office job earning six figures. Hair like The Weeknd, pure tattoos, heavily embody the hip hop aesthetic and I do not do PC chatter.
I once was heading to the elevator to head up in my building. A super posh lady walked in; pencil skirt, button up, Gucci stilettos (my SO has the same pair) and hair done perfectly. She walked into the elevator and watched me walk towards it - she hit elevator close directly on me, staring at my face with a smirk.
I got upstairs and used our side door for entry, went to my office and forgot she existed. I then got called into the interview room as it was my turn to meet the candidate - guess who that candidate was.
I smiled, offered her water, left to get it, came back, sat down and introduced myself. Without missing a beat post-intro I said, while looking dead in her eyes 'Do you remember me?'
Her eyes dropped and she went red 'Yes.'
'You still wanna do this?'
'Thanks for coming in,' and I walked right out. I left the door open for her."
"One former boss interviewed a set of middle-aged twins back-to-back. I got to sit with one of them during the second half of the interview process where they'd observe our work. The man didn't speak to me at all for the few minutes he sat with me, and wouldn't let me take him out. When my boss asked for feedback, I wasn't sure how to be polite, so just said he was 'kinda weird' and I wasn't sure if he was a good fit.
My boss proceeded to tell me how their mom had come to the interview with them, how they both had terrible body odor, and how BOTH of them picked their nose and looked at it during separate interviews. The dual nose pick still gets me."
"At the time I was running a painting crew. This guy begged me for a few hours of work, said nothing was beneath him and needed a real paycheck to get his parole officer off his back.
I tell him, 'I have a bunch of grunt work you can do, I’ll pay you fair but the work sucks and I can’t promise you a role as a painter. If you want this you need to prove yourself as a hard worker.'
He says, 'No problem! When can I start?'
I tell him show up tomorrow, bring clothes you can get dirty and plenty of water.
The next day rolls around, and he’s 45 minutes late and is dressed up. Not a good first impression but I gave the kid a chance.
I set him up with a 5-in-1 tool and about 200 square feet to scrape old paint off of. Even for a new guy, it’s at most 4 hours of work. I check up on him after about 45 minutes. He has scraped about 3 square feet of the area and is texting when I walk down. I re-train him, give him a specific target for the next hour, and leave.
I come back an hour later. He is still texting and has done half of what I asked him to and is acting like He has done me a favor.
I tell him, 'This is unskilled labor. All you need to do is move your tool over the old paint. You aren’t keeping up. I don’t want to see you on your phone again.'
Third time I come to check on him he’s sitting down texting in the shade. I ask 'What’s up?' and he says, 'scraping paint sucks, when do I get to be a painter?'
I explain to him 'I didn’t need any painters. I hired you as a favor, pick up the pace.' I draw a line and tell him, 'I expect you to finish scraping this in the next hour.'
I come back down an hour later. He is texting. He has accomplished about 25% of what I asked.
He asks me if I have any water, he is thirsty and wants to know when we have lunch.
I tell him. Lunch is right now, and a storm's coming so take the next few days off.
I swing by his house with a paycheck for the few hours he worked that day and tell him I found a more experienced guy and wish him the best.
A few weeks later he asks me to launder his pot dealing profits into paychecks from my company, and he will give me the grand rate of $5 for every $200 I pay out to him. I decline.
He’s a successful real estate agent now. But I’d never buy a house from him."
"A long time ago an old professor's department was looking to hire some kind of new junior assistant professor type. They had narrowed it down to two highly qualified guys, both fresh out of graduate school. They knew they were going to hire one or the other. As a final step of the process, they decided to take both of them out to dinner separately.
The first guy is cordial throughout the whole thing, seems to get along with everybody, seems just fine. Then at the end of the meal he picks up his empty plate and licks the whole thing clean. Like, tongue flat against surface of the plate, covering every inch of it until it's clean. In the middle of a nice restaurant. Then he just sets the plate down like it was the most normal thing in the world. Everyone just stares at him, and then awkwardly try to just wrap things up. Afterward they laugh about it to each other like 'What a bizarre and unnecessary way to throw away a near clinch on a good job opportunity.'
So then they take the second guy out, almost just a formality at this point. Again, everything is fine, he's polite, seems perfectly qualified, seems to know the right things to say. Then at the very end they ask him if he had any questions for them. He pauses and thinks for a moment, then goes 'So what is the student-teacher dating policy?'
Afterwards, the other professors are sitting around together and one of them goes, 'Well, looks like we're hiring the plate licker.' "
"While I was an assistant general manager for a hotel, I was interviewing a gentleman for a front desk position. He was incredibly calm during the interview and would have been a perfect fit.
A while into the interview there was a terrible smell. We were the only two people in the room, so I knew he was the one that let it slip. No harm done. It happens and I wasn't going to point it out even though it was a terrible smell and you could definitely tell by the look on my face. But he just looks at me and says 'Uhm, do you need to go real quick?'
He literally blamed me for his fart."
"I was hiring in pharmaceutical sales, and it was a large launch for a to-be/newly approved product, so they were hiring like 200 people nationwide.
Because of this, first step was a phone screen with us, then a video interview with the hiring manager, before flying candidates out for the final, panel interviews where they would meet with five individuals (VPs of HR and Sales of each region, and Sales Directors for those territories).
Because of this, we were very strict with the interviews and who moved forward, which means it REALLY sucked when a guy went into his final panel interview and started doing magic tricks.
Very seriously, he started pulling flowers from his sleeves, and he tried to 'vanish' an interviewer's coffee, but ended up spilling it everywhere instead.
In that same round of hiring, we also had an individual who did his video call from his coffee table (he sat on the floor) and he had someone ring his doorbell. From the conversation with the hiring manager, he asked politely if he could go answer the door in case it was an emergency. She said 'Sure, no big deal,' and the guy stood up flashing his undies.
She didn't say much about it when he came back, but needless to say she couldn't stop laughing when she told us about it..."
"I had somebody Google answers while I was running a phone interview. It was the most obvious thing in the world. There'd be this huge pause before they'd all of a sudden just start rattling all kinds of facts off. If you actually knew the answer to that level of detail, it wouldn't take 15-20 seconds for you to start answering questions. At one point I brought up the Wikipedia page for the subject on my phone while she answered and silently followed along with her as she pretty much read it out to me.
This was my first phone interview ever, so my boss was sitting in with me. Afterwards he closed the interview by saying, 'Well, you have a good Wikipedia-level understanding of things, but you're not quite what we're looking for,' and hung up the phone."
"I work at a hospital on a surgical floor. We have a two part interview process: One with the unit manager and one with either a nurse or an aide. We have a series of questions to ask based on a survey they fill out at the end of the application.
She managed to make her way to me and this was her response to a question. 'If you saw a coworker doing something unethical, like stealing from a patient, what would you do?'
She replied, 'It depends if it was valuable or not, I mean who hasn't stolen something before?'"
"I'm the receptionist for our office but I'm also my boss's personal administrative assistant. I do almost ALL of the prep work for every single one of her meetings.
We had a guy come in, and he scoffed at me when I asked who he was meeting, wouldn't look me in the eye, and told me to 'scurry off and grab someone important.'
So I scurried off and told my boss that this really rude guy had an appointment with her. Turns out he was there for a managerial interview.
The interview didn't last long, she straight up told him that he wasn't welcome here, and he said nothing and didn't look at me when he stormed out of the office."
"As a female co-founder at a VR startup, my business partner and I did all the development, day to day, and management stuff. He was talking to a guy interested in being involved in our company and explained that the team also consists of myself and two male members of the company.
When he mentioned my name amongst the other male names, this guy interrupted him, scoffed, and asked 'Okay, whose girlfriend is she?'
That was the end of the conversation with that guy."
"We had a guy come in for an interview, and he showed up a full 40 minutes prior to his scheduled interview. It's a one-room office shared by three people, so there's no good place for him to wait. I said, 'You can go to the coffee shop next door and come back at the scheduled time.'
He said, 'No, I'll just wait here - I have a phone call to make.'
He proceeds to have a very loud phone conversation in our one-room office. When it was finally time for his scheduled interview, he was still on the phone, and actually shushed me and said, 'I'M ON THE PHONE.'
Ten minutes later he was ready to be interviewed. Not even sure why we proceeded with the interview, but it was over quickly and his resume was in the recycle before the door even closed."
"I once called a woman for a scheduled phone interview, and her husband answered (it was a landline for better connection). I introduced myself as the individual calling for her interview, but when I asked to speak with the wife, the husband said 'She's dead.' I had just spoken to her the day before to schedule, and said I was so sorry, I hadn't realized, and was so sorry for his loss.
He didn't sound upset but kept repeating that she 'was dead,' and trying to usher me off the phone, so I said I was so sorry but would cancel her interview and would pull her info from our system so no one would accidentally follow up. I was starting to get the feeling that something wasn't right, but still trying to be respectful, when he starts backtracking and asks where I'm calling from again.
I told him again what company I was calling from for our scheduled phone interview, and he suddenly says 'Oh! I thought you were a telemarketer, she's right here in the other room,' and hands it off. The wife was VERY angry with her husband (he'd been trying to convince me for a few minutes that she had passed, and it turned into one of the most awkward phone calls I've ever had.
For several other reasons, she didn't move forward."
"A close friend of mine once told me of a very interesting experience she had involving an interview — an interview that she had no part of at a company she was not connected to.
A guy once interviewed for a position at the company in question, and the hiring manager was very impressed by the interviewee's portfolio. It was some truly stellar work. It was especially impressive because the hiring manager had KNOWN the interviewee in college, and the particular project he was showcasing was WELL above his skill level.
The interviewee described how he had done ALL the work on this specific project (a group project in college), and then after the interview, went on his way, thinking he had nailed it. Wanting to get to the bottom of the discrepancy between the quality of the work demonstrated and the quality of the worker claiming to have done it all, the hiring manager took a closer look at this particular piece of the portfolio and found the other name on it: my friend's name.
He found her contact information, gave her a call, explained the situation, and explained that he could tell the work was hers, not the interviewee's. He knew this because it was some of the best work he had ever seen, and well beyond anything the interviewee was capable of, and thus clearly a project she had shouldered the full weight of. The interviewee had applied for the position claiming her hard work was his own. The manager went on to tell her that, although she had not even applied for the position, it was hers if she wanted it.
I'm always annoyed by instances of group projects where one member gets stuck with the brunt of the work while the others just take the credit, and I'm infuriated by stories of plagiarism — so I was pleased by this particularly poetic resolution to both of those problems at once.
She did not take the job, though she was as flattered by the offer as she was baffled by the circumstances. And it wasn't just a 'Hey stranger, want this job?' situation so much as a 'Yeah, I played lacrosse with him, and there's no WAY he got his act together enough one year after graduation to pull this off. Whereas you clearly have talent, and we could use that here. If you're interested, we'd be happy to have you' kind of situation."
"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 started 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 will 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 write the 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."
"At the beginning of the year I was conducting interviews to fill an open spot on my team. This had been my fifth round of interviews over the past year, so I was pretty used to seeing/hearing all sorts of different resumes and interview answers.
This one guy, in particular, that I was interviewing had a pretty strong resume and seemed to be the type of person I needed for my team. As per our company policy, there was another manager in the interview with me. I am one of very few female managers and the other manager was a male. The interviewee started off pretty strongly and was proving to be a good candidate.
But then he made several comments towards the end of the interview how men have a better work ethic and are more willing to put in the extra time and effort needed to meet all deadlines. He also alluded to the fact that women shouldn’t really be in the workforce, as their 'job' is to stay home to keep house and take care of babies. As soon as he made these comments I noted that he wouldn’t be a good fit for my team."
"I've interviewed hundreds of people but three stand out to me.
One young lady showed up in her pajamas for her interview. Not just those flowy pants that LOOK like pajamas, full on fleece pajama bottoms, matching top, and I kid you not....fuzzy slippers.
Another guy at a hiring event asked after every question if his girlfriend was going to get hired too, and if they could work together. Turns out, his girlfriend wasn't even at the event.
Third one insisted that his wife sit in on the interview with him and help him with the answers. Now, I have interviewed people with disabilities that require a coach or interpreter, so I asked him all the appropriate ADA questions to determine his accommodation needs for the interview. It just so happened that he had no official needs, he just thought his wife could answer the questions better than him. His words: 'She's a lot more smarter than me.' "
"We had an applicant call in:
Applicant: 'So, y'all do background checks, criminal history for this job, right?'
Applicant: 'So, the court messed up, and when you run my background, it's not gonna say 'statutory', but it was totally just statutory.'
I hung up."