Job interviews come with a lot of pressure. The interviewer could ask questions relating to someone's work history, qualifications, education, and just about anything that they are legally allowed to question a potential employee on. Most of the time, the interviewer is just doing this to ensure that they hire the best employee possible. However, some interviewers have ulterior motives.
Let's take a look at some stories of outrageous job interviews that people have had to endure.
All posts have been edited for clarity.
"My current company was downsizing. All employees in my specific, yet exclusive division were fired and ordered to re-apply for their position plus two other jobs in the company. We would either get one of those jobs or be terminated.
The subsequent interviews were conducted with a manager and a different HR person.
The first interview took place in the executive suite. My manager asked why I wasn't applying for a key supervisor spot. I had listed it second on my list.
I responded that I would prefer to stay in my field of expertise for which I won a national award.
The HR person chimed in that they didn’t know awards like that existed.
In the second interview, my current boss really liked me because of my performance in my existing job. They also knew I was heavily recruited from another company to do the same job.
The HR person chimed in that they had no idea that a real person did my job.
In my third interview, the HR person said he had never heard of my division or that employees actually worked at night. Thankfully, I really didn't want that job but I had to list three.
Of course, I was retained but transferred to the third job that I applied for. My old award-winning job was given to an aging staffer who never worked in that position or had a clue as to what was going on. The supervisor job went to a brilliant colleague who wanted and deserved it.
I quit very soon thereafter and joined a bigger company with better benefits. Thankfully my skills paid off.
After forcing me to interview for three new positions, my old company saw the error of their ways in lost production and general lack of ability and offered me a bonus to return.
Absolutely not. I returned the corporate knife they stuck in my back."
"I drove an hour away to an interview scheduled for eight o'clock in the morning. I waited outside the interviewer's office until eight-thirty with no one to tell me where to go or where she was.
Finally, another employee walked by and I asked if they know where this woman was to interview me. They had no idea where she was, why she was late, and told me if she wasn't there yet, I should leave because she probably forgot. Fantastic start to my time at that potential job.
I decided forty-five minutes was the cut-off, especially for standing in a government building looking like a creep waiting. At forty-five minutes of waiting on the dot, she rushed in, flustered, with wet hair, and wore casual yoga pants.
With all the resurgence of patience I could muster, I greeted her and was met with a passive-aggressive scolding of how the interview was at nine, not eight.
I tripled checked the email asking me to interview and it was scheduled for eight. We had conducted a phone interview and she followed up with an email request to an in-person interview at eight o'clock. I was one hundred percent positive about it because I hate being late.
I said, 'I'm certain you said eight o'clock, ma'am.'
She wasn't having it. Conversely, she also went on about why she was late, surmounting in, she went to the gym and forgot her underwear to change into and had to stop at a store and buy new ones after working out, before coming to work.
She told me that in the first five minutes of meeting me.
Regardless, she looked at my resume, apparently for the first time. She proceeded to tell me how it was unimpressive and my graduate studies should have yielded numerous publications after one and a half years. In my field, most don't publish until after three to four years.
Even still, she kept going on about how I had moved up the interview time.
She showed me the workspaces and told me, 'You probably wouldn't be interested in what they do there.'
I politely told her I had driven, at her request, to be there and interview for employment, I was very interested.
She waved me off.
As we left, I just tried to hold it together because I was very poor and very desperate for a job and I thanked her.
She told me how great it was to work for the government, and how good the benefits, the pension, and the time off was. On and on.
She said, 'If you can find an opening working for the government, you should try to check it out and get hired on!'
I just looked her in the face and said, 'Yes, ma'am, that was my hope with today's interview. Thank you.'
And left. I sat in my car and bawled the whole drive home like the desperate loser I felt like.
That was a low one, to be sure."
"I walked in fifteen minutes early for an interview at three o'clock in the afternoon.
At four o'clock, I asked reception for the last time if I was going to be interviewed. Finally, they showed up five minutes later.
There were two people doing the interview. They were hostile with rapid-fire questions. Half of which had nothing to do with my experience. One kept asking me where I worked during such and such a time. Despite the other one looking at my application with all that information.
Then they told me that if they hired me it would be for a position below what I applied for with much lower pay and I couldn't take time off.
Finally, they basically told me they would be watching me like a hawk and if I did any illicit substances I would be fired and arrested. I have never even smoked pot. I stood up and told them that job wasn't for me and walked out.
It was bizarre. I felt like I was being interrogated for a murder investigation as the prime suspect."
"I applied to a government branch as a network administrator. The newspaper ad asked for a bachelor's degree. They called me into the interview.
When I got there, the first thing the interviewer said was, 'We wanted someone with a master's degree. Why did you apply?'
I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they had other interviews that day and got them mixed up. It happens. I just informed the interviewer that the ad I applied for requested a bachelor's degree, and confirmed the position I was interviewing for.
She responded, 'No, we definitely wanted someone with a master's degree. So, again, why did you apply?'
I retorted, 'If you wanted someone with a master's degree, why did you bother calling me in for an interview?'
She snapped back, 'You're very rude and unprofessional.'
She definitely had messed up at every junction thus far, but I was the one who was rude and unprofessional in her eyes."
"I applied for a marketing internship the summer before my senior year of college. I remember showing the job description to my dad and he told me it was going to be door-to-door sales. I didn’t really believe him so I still showed up at nine o'clock in the morning for the interview.
Right away, I knew dad was right about it not being a true marketing internship. There were five other applicants that waited in the lobby with me, all for the same position. Behind a closed door, we could hear people shouting and laughing. The receptionist explained that they liked to have fun and that was their Tuesday morning trivia game. While the employees were playing their game the receptionist made small talk for over half an hour. I wondered why they dragged us in at nine if they knew no one would be able to interview us then.
Finally, the trivia ended and it was time for us to get paired up with a current employee to shadow for the day. That was not explained beforehand and not what I would consider an interview. After all the other applicants were paired up and left, to do door-to-door sales, I was told that my person wasn’t there that day. I was really annoyed about being lied to about the interview process and the fact that they attempted to schedule me when they knew my person wasn’t going to be there.
The receptionist took me into another room to show me a diagram of the company structure that is a pyramid and told me that pay was commissioned based. I left and was relieved a week later when I was told that I didn’t get the job."
"During the summer after my freshman year of college, I applied for a part-time job at a mall outlet. Despite having zero retail experience, I got through the first round of interviews without any trouble whatsoever and performed well enough that the assistant manager wanted to give me the job on the spot. Since she didn't have the authority to do that, though, I had to meet with her supervisor a couple of days later.
'It's really just a formality,' she told me, 'You know, to make sure you're not, like, a serial killer or something.'
I told her that I had only ever murdered people in video games. That wasn't as awkward as I made it sound.
When the date of my second interview rolled around, I was in high spirits. The manager had me fill out a brief questionnaire, then started asking me some fairly dull questions. Everything seemed to be going smoothly until a particular inquiry caught me off-guard.
He asked, 'What's the most that you've ever stolen?'
Then he clarified, 'Like give me a dollar amount.'
I asked, 'Uh, is that really a question you can ask?'
He responded, 'I'm just looking for a dollar amount.'
I racked my brain and tried to think of anything that I might have actually stolen over the course of my life. I had certainly gotten up to my fair share of mischief, but actual theft had never been part of my repertoire.
I finally said, 'Zero, I don't think I've ever actually stolen anything.'
The manager's plastered-on smile suddenly dropped away.
He responded, 'I see. Are you sure?'
I said, 'Yep.'
The beginnings of a suspicious glower darkened his eyes.
He said, 'Really? Go ahead and answer again. Just give me a dollar amount.'
What had started as a dull interview had become a downright bizarre interrogation. I thought about getting up and leaving but it occurred to me that the whole thing might have been a test to see if I would change my answer.
I repeated, 'Zero. Zero dollars.'
The man sighed and put down his clipboard.
He asked, 'Come on. Do you actually want this job?'
That actually mirrored my own thought process at that point but I nodded in reply.
He said, 'Then you need to start being honest with me. Just give me a dollar amount.'
I finally lied and poured sarcasm into my words, 'Sixteen dollars. Sixteen dollars and forty-two cents.'
The transformation was immediate. All of the disapproval evaporated from the manager's face, being replaced by a warm, visibly amused smile.
He cheerfully said, 'Hey, now, that's not so bad.'
Then he asked, 'What was it?'
I responded, 'A toaster.'
I hadn't even bothered to think about what sixteen dollars might actually purchase; I just said the first thing that had popped into my mind. It didn't seem to matter, though.
My answer caused the manager's grin to grow even wider, and he spent the rest of the interview laughing and joking with me.
The next day, I got a call, and I was asked if I still wanted the job at the mall.
I told them that I'd already taken a different position elsewhere.
For the record, that was also a lie."
"I was interviewing for a job in Houston and lived in Austin, about two and a half hours away. I drove to Houston for the first round of interviews.
They said it went well and wanted to bring me in for a final interview, so I drove there again. It seemed like it went well and they told me they had one more interview to conduct and would have a decision tomorrow.
So the next day came and went, I emailed the manager to ask if any decision had been made, nothing, waited a couple more days, left a voicemail, nothing.
Then a couple of days later, I just called the main number for the company and told the receptionist why I was calling.
She said, 'Well, someone just started in that job yesterday.'
They ghosted me after I drove a total of ten hours to interview twice. I'm still salty about that eleven years later."
"I went into a family-owned custom furniture shop that had several openings in the carpentry department.
When I arrived I spoke to the person at the front of the house stating I was there for an interview.
I said, 'Hi I'm here to interview for the carpenter position. I saw your post onli-'
The owner stormed out of the office and pointed a finger at me. I later learned that he had been sitting behind a two-way mirror in his office watching me talk to the front desk worker.
He cut me off and asked, 'Are you experienced?'
I responded, 'Yes, I have seven years of experience with carpentry, but I am new to furniture.'
He asked again, 'ARE. YOU. EXPERIENCED?'
I said, 'Yes.'
He responded, 'Fine, I'll get the lead carpenter and he'll talk to you.'
At that point, I should have noped out of there, but I had been unemployed for some time, and my savings were running on fumes. So I assumed he may have just been in a bad mood that day, so I had waited for the lead carpenter.
The lead carpenter came out and we had the interview on the sales floor.
The interview went as normal until he asked me about my experience.
The carpenter said, 'So tell me how you have experience with woodwork but not with furniture.'
I responded, 'I build musical instruments, I'm familiar with all power tools and measurements required.'
The carpenter looked at me like I had two heads while I explained that, but, the rest of the interview proceeded as normal. He stated he would start me off at ten dollars an hour as a probational hire for two weeks to see how I fit.
Then the part of the interview came where he asked if I have any questions.
I asked, 'So is the owner having a bad day?'
He responded, 'No, that's how he is.'
We had an awkward silence staring at each other for about ten seconds, then without saying anything I just walked out.
I found out a few weeks later from a friend who is a woodworker that that place is known amongst furniture woodworkers as the place you want to avoid and he mentioned that a few days before I interviewed that their entire carpentry staff minus the lead carpenter, about eight people, walked out.
I now live about a mile from that store and pass it on my daily commute. Every five to six months they put up a now hiring all positions sign out front. I can't imagine how many people they have cycled through at this point."
"My interviewer came about thirty minutes late. He commented that I was the best-dressed candidate they had had all day.
I was wearing a polo and khakis. The man was in his mid-fifties and well-groomed in a button-down shirt and tie.
When we get to the interview room I expected the obviously senior and ranked guy to do the interview but when we arrive the interviewer turned out to be a guy in his early twenties wearing a t-shirt with a dyed purple mohawk. I was beyond confused but whatever, I didn't want to judge a book by its cover.
The interviewer then proceeded to stay sitting as I shook his hand, never motioned for me to sit, didn't ask for a resume at all, and just started with the questions. I’m not a very formal guy but even I was confused by all this. All the questions were normal stuff like where did I work, my school, if I lived in the area, all of the usual interview that stuff.
Then he got into job-specific questions and started with, 'What would you do if you knew an employee was stealing?'
Obviously, I told him that I would report that employee because stealing is illegal and against company policy.
He specified, 'Well what if it was the cheapest item in the store? A one-dollar water bottle and they only did it once.'
Again, I said stealing wasn't allowed and those costs could add up if they kept stealing.
He said, 'Well, let's say it's your store. What would you do?'
I told him if it was my store and one of my employees felt the need to steal water I would probably just buy it for them and tell them not to steal in the future.
He asked, 'Well, what if you forgot your wallet? You forgot your wallet and you know your employee is behind on rent and their last paycheck hasn’t gone through yet and they haven’t been paid?'
At that point, I was just at a loss for words. Does he want me to say I would just let someone steal or something? I genuinely felt like I was being punked. He noticed I was stuck and just moved on.
He said, 'Alright. How about we test your sales pitches? Imagine someone comes in and wants four of the chairs you’re sitting in at twenty-five dollars each. How would you sell them the chair I’m sitting in for a hundred dollars each.'
Again, I was at a complete loss. What could I possibly say to that? If someone comes in wanting one kind of chair that’s obviously a cheaper option how in the world am I supposed to convince them to pay four hundred percent that price for a different chair that’s not obviously better in any way? Especially on a product, I know nothing about. I don’t even remember what I said but there’s no way it was coherent.
After the guy ended the interview without ever having seen my resume, he called me by the wrong name and sent me on my way.
A co-worker of mine who knew a worker there told me about a week later that nobody who worked in that store has a purple mohawk. All of the district managers were older and the older guy I described is the store owner who should’ve done the interview.
I still don't know who did my interview."
"I got an interview with Amazon to be a supervisor. They asked me to drive one and a half hours to another city to do my second interview. Despite the place that I applied for being ten minutes away from where I lived. The pay they were offering was good so I thought it was worth it. I took a day off from my current job at the time.
I drove there and discovered that they had given me choppy directions which caused me to get lost and have to ask for directions. The place I stopped at rolled their eyes. That clearly wasn't the first time it had happened that day. They knew exactly where to point me. That was red flag number one.
I finally arrived and walk in to do the interview. Over a hundred people showed up. That was red flag number two.
They were doing a group interview for the role of supervisor and told me they accidentally invited too many people. They also told me that they only had ten positions available for supervisor and asked me if I would like a starting position instead for barely above minimum wage instead. That was red flag number three.
Then I realized it was way too organized. They expected that many people because they planned it. They even had everything set up for a large group interview and asked me personal questions about myself in front of multiple people. That was red flag number four.
I did my best but felt completely insulted. I drove home feeling cheated. I wasted four hours driving and interviewing. I wasted all that gas and lost hours that I could have worked and had gone out of my way wasting my precious time going to another town just for them to say oops.
They completely planned it. I realized working for them would be a huge mistake. They had no respect for me as a person, a potential employee, my time, money, gas. What made me think they would care about me once I was hired? That was clearly a deceptive bait and switch and I was not falling for it. Shame on them.
I later sent them a letter declining them for the position. I would not be working for them."
"I applied for a job and the hiring manager called me on a Friday afternoon when I was busy.
I politely said, 'Hey thanks for reaching out to me, I’m actually busy at the moment, can we set something up for early next week?'
He asked, 'How about later today?'
I clarified, 'I don’t have the time today, Monday would be much better.'
He pressed, 'I can just do it now then, it won’t take very long.'
I responded, 'Look I am very glad you called and I’m super interested in the position, but I’m doing a million things right now and my head isn’t in the best place to do an interview. I would really appreciate it if we could reschedule for next week.'
He paused, then said, 'You know what, if you’re not going do what I want you to do, then I don’t want you working here anyway,' and hung up.
I completely dodged a bullet on that one.