Most people come completely prepared and more than ready for job interviews, right? Not so much. These employers couldn't believe how unprepared, unprofessional, and just straight up weird these interviewees were.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
He Couldn’t Ninja His Way Into This Job
“I want to begin by stating that the call center I work at is top notch. We pay well, have flexible hours, and pride ourselves on our local reputation.
Part of this is because of our deliberate hiring process. We get about 100 applicants every week, of whom we will end up hiring five.
We don’t hire just anyone, and as a company, we take a great deal of pride in that. So do our clients, all of whom are high-profile, on a national scale.
This morning, my boss, Al, called me into his office and asked me to conduct my first interview.
Now, I’d recently accepted a promotion to be a trainer, so recently, in fact, that I’m not even done with my training, but interviews are the purview of managers and shift supervisors. I mentioned as such, but Al told me that this was a ‘special case.’
‘We are counting on you,’ Al said with tremendous, tremendous gravity. ‘[Our Company]’s reputation depends on our hires. I expect a great deal from you.’
With that, he handed me a clipboard with a list of questions and a pen and ushered me into another manager’s office to wait for my first interviewee.
About three minutes later, the kid walked in.
Oh my god, did he ever walk in?
I am going to take my time about describing this kid because I do not want to leave out a single detail.
He was wearing:
Skinny blue jeans that were so tight I could easily see tendons and bone structure, pulled down around the hips and crotch to avoid mashing his balls into a paste.
Beat-up old Converse sneakers covered with what appeared to be homemade Rageface patches.
A red, hooded sweatshirt over a freaking My Little Pony t-shirt.
Black, lensless eyeglass frames and about six facial piercings
- A Naturo (Japanese anime series) headband.
‘You’re wearing a Naruto headband,’ I said.
Now, to me, my tone said, and quite clearly, ‘How did you make it past the first two stages of the vetting process?’
He, however, assumed that my tone meant ‘How appropriate!’ and said, with an expression of such sheer smuggery I wish I could adequately describe it, ‘Oh, you recognize my headband. Plus one to you! I was almost worried I’d have to deal with some lame suit!”
And then, he handed me his ‘resume.’
I want you to understand how loose I am being with that word, here, because what he actually handed me was about four pages of prose beginning with the sentence ‘I was born in 1988 in the small town of [suburb].’
I stared at this Facebook-profile-styled autobiography in numb shock for about five minutes while he rambled on about ‘suits’ and how they just don’t ‘get’ anything about anything, and I don’t even know.
As I flipped through the pages, I noticed two important things about it:
1) I had initially assumed the kid was about 18 years old, but he was actually 25.
2) There was no work experience in it.
He’d gone to college and that was it; that was his entire resume. Everything else was random musings on the books, TV shows, and bands he liked, and what they’d taught him, and how he basically felt that college was completely beneath him.
He’d never even held a paper route.
I looked up at this kid and I said, ‘Do you think, maybe, you’d like to reschedule this interview for another time?’
‘No. Why? Is there a problem?’
‘Yes,’ I said, ‘Several.’
I asked him if he’d received the multiple calls setting up and confirming the interview, all of which had stated, very clear that we expected him to be dressed ‘business casual,’ and, in fact, had carefully defined what was meant by ‘business casual.’
He said, ‘Oh, were you serious about that?’
I had no words.
‘Well,’ he continued, in that same ludicrously smug tone, ‘I figured, you know, this is me. This is who I am. If you can’t ‘deal’ with that, then maybe I don’t even want this job.’
‘That’s extremely convenient,’ I said. ‘Because I don’t see any reason to continue this interview.’
‘Well great!’ he said with a gigantic smirk. ‘When do I start?’
What? I am staring at this ridiculous man-child and there is zero irony on his pierced, fake-glasses-wearing face, he is patiently waiting for me to tell him when his first day of work will be, and I still cannot stop staring at that Naruto headband.
‘You don’t,’ I managed to say. ‘You don’t start here. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. When I said ‘this interview is over,’ I did not mean that in a good way.’
He is still not understanding. ‘But you didn’t even ask me anything,’ he says. ‘There wasn’t even an interview.’
I explained to him that our request for him to dress like a professional adult was mandatory, and by failing to do so, so flippantly, had told me everything I needed to know about him.
‘You don’t know anything about me,’ this kid says and his face goes beet red. ‘You don’t know me, you don’t know anything about me. You need to give me an interview. I know my rights, give me my interview.’
For the sake of not causing a physical incident, I did not explain that I knew more than enough about him already to warrant never hiring him. Instead, I carefully explained that his ‘rights’ here consisted entirely of leaving the building before I had him removed for trespassing.
And now this kid starts shouting at me, screaming that I am a fascist, that I don’t know anything about anything, that he’s a billion times better than me, and when he’s a millionaire, he’ll buy this company just so he can fire me.
When that somehow fails to procure immediate employment, he then, with tears in his eyes, begs me for a job.
His mother, he says, will boot him out onto the street if he doesn’t get this job. If I don’t give him this job, he will be homeless, he shouts at me, and it will be my fault.
‘I’ll cope,’ I tell him as security arrives to show him out.
So there’s me, sitting in the empty office, with this kid’s ridiculous ‘resume’ in my lap, chairs all knocked over, staring off into space and wondering what just happened.
And then Al, my boss Al, pokes his head in. His face is stony-serious as he asks me, ‘What did you think?’
‘You know,’ I said, ‘I don’t think he’ll be a good fit.’
‘Okay,’ Al says and nods with the kind of gravitas you don’t see outside of Shakespeare. ‘Keep up the good work.’
And he walks away.”
He Just Wanted A Hangout Space With His Friends
“This kid was in high school. He put down his friends as references. And 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 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. Our Auto Class teacher makes all of us split up in class, and we can’t work together.”
Mother Knows Best?
“Back when I was the 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 by her, ‘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 and to go off myself.”
They Needed A Translator During This Interview
“I interviewed an Italian girl who couldn’t speak English. She had moved to the country a few weeks prior, and I think this was her first interview, but it was all so painful. Nearly every question was answered with ‘Si…yes.’ Even questions that you shouldn’t answer with a yes. I decided to be nice and go through all of my questions, but it was ridiculous. I nearly called a translator to help me get through the interview.
‘If you had multiple tasks coming from different parts of the business and they were all due today, but you couldn’t finish them all in time, how would you try to balance this?’
‘No, say it’s not possible to do them all by today, what would you do?’
‘So you don’t have time to do them all. Would you see if you could re-prioritize any of these, or would you just not do them or something else?’
‘What I’m normally expecting here is something along the lines of you either asking the someone for more time, or looking for help from a colleague, or even speaking to your manager and asking for a list of priorities from them. Which of these would you be most likely to do?’
At the end of the interview, I was just asking her general ‘shoot the breeze questions.’ She said she was currently learning English. So I asked her where was she learning it, and told me ‘only for a few weeks.’ So I said, ‘No, the location of the school? Where is it located?’ And I get a blank face. I started naming streets, and she goes ‘Ahhh! Dove!’ and she tells me the street name.
After the interview, I told our recruiter that she can’t speak English, and we won’t be proceeding further. The recruiter told me that she had spent 40 minutes with her on the phone (in English) making sure she understood the role. When I asked her if the applicant said anything more than ‘Si’ or ‘Yes,’ she looked a bit embarrassed.”
She Had Some Weird Ways Of Trying To Find This Link
“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 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.”
He Obviously Didn’t Read The Job Description
“This was not the worst, but the weirdest interview I ever conducted. A guy applied for a warehouse/delivery position. We 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, he just got up and left. It was the shortest, most bizarre interview I’ve ever conducted.”
They Couldn’t Even Figure Out How To Get Through The Door
“I was working as a temp for a business on the day they were holding interviews for new staff. The business took up one floor of a large office building. Clients and potential employees would press a buzzer outside the building which connected to the relevant floor/business, and the receptionist would speak to them and then press a button to open the door, and they could come into the building and get the elevator to our floor. I was the receptionist responsible for buzzing people in.
All goes well throughout the morning. Then around lunchtime, two guys buzz asking to come up for their interviews. I check their names off and press the buzzer to open the door. Five minutes go by, and they still haven’t appeared from the elevator. They press the buzzer again. I buzz them in again. No guys show up. For half an hour they are asking to be buzzed in, and I’m pressing the button and they are failing to open the door.
I’m starting to think maybe it’s me, but another guy presses the buzzer asking to come up for his interview, I buzz him in and a couple of minutes later he’s getting out of the elevator.
Finally after almost an hour, well after their interview slots had passed, someone who worked on another floor was coming into the building and saw the guys standing outside. He buzzed me to ask what was going on, and I asked him to let them in. He says he will, and I wait, curious now to meet these two guys who can’t open a door. Another 10 minutes go by, then another 10, and still nothing. Finally, almost an hour after the guy let them in and two hours after their interview times, some lady from another floor comes in leading two guys. She says ‘these two have been sitting in our lobby for an hour. I thought I’d better bring them down.’
They didn’t get jobs.”
“I Don’t Know”
“Interviewer: So, what qualities can you bring to the team?
Applicant: Uhm, I don’t know.
Interviewer: Well, what do you consider yourself good at?
Applicant: Uhm, I don’t know.
Interviewer: Ok, why did you apply for the position?
Applicant: They told me to.
Interviewer: Who told you to apply?
Applicant: Uhm, I don’t know.”
She Just Needed A Job Because Mommy And Daddy Weren’t Giving Her Squat
“I was working as a front-end supervisor for a big box retailer, going into the holiday season.
A girl 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. I inquired as to whether she was looking for seasonal or a long-term position.
In the most stereotypical Valley-Girl voice I’ve ever heard, she replied, ‘Well, I 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. I still wonder if she ever got a job that helped her pay her car insurance for that month.”
He Needed To Learn Some Manners Before He Could Ever Nail Down A Job
“A younger guy in his 20s was scheduled for an interview, for which he arrived 40 minutes late. He didn’t apologize or even acknowledge that he was late, he just walked in like he was ready to go. I told him that the managers were getting ready for their next interview, and if he wanted to be considered, we would give him another chance to come in at a later date.
He showed up five minutes late for his second interview. That was not acceptable, but we went forward with the interview.
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. 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.
He didn’t get the job. When the feedback was given, he was genuinely surprised and thought we had it out for him.”
His Interview Attire Automatically Set Off Red Flags
“I was moved from my former specialist position in IT and moved 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 first interview was with a gentleman from a Fortune 500 company located in our town. 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. The position was going to be hard to fill with that mix of skills, so we were flexible on it all.
This gentleman comes in wearing sunglasses, but thankfully, he was wearing a suit. Less thankfully, it was green and tweed. The assistant manager and I started the interview, and our Manager came in halfway through.
We ask him about his experience with Powershell, and he responds with, ‘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 excited about.’
Okay, fine. We didn’t expect to get a slew of support techs with deep PowerShell knowledge. So I ask, ‘What about it excites you?’
‘The power of the shell, and all that it can do.’
Moving on. We ask what he knows about our company and what makes him want to work here, and he reads the first line of our Wikipedia. Fair enough, he did some web research. We ask why he wants to work here and he says, ‘Because you’re hiring! And you need good talent!’
By the way, the sunglasses? They’re still on. My manager comes in, notices the Ray Bans, and immediately closes all the blinds. Making the room much darker. Sunglasses remain on. My boss shakes his hand, does his intro, gets caught up on the questions we’ve asked, then compliments the interviewee on his suit. His 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 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 he 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 turns to us and asks, ‘Okay, did he explain the sunglasses before I got here?’ And we both simultaneously said, ‘No!'”