It's not secret that the food service industry has one of the highest turn around rates when compared to other jobs. At some places, the payroll is more like a revolving door than anything else, so restaurant owners and managers have to put with a lot of terrible candidates to find someone who may or may not be around in a month, or even two weeks.
The people in the following stories know that all too well, as they shared on a Reddit thread asking for hiring managers to reveal the worst candidates they ever interviewed. Some of the candidates made it past the first line of questioning, but even those were disasters waiting to happen. Take a look at some of the most ridiculous stories we could find.
And after reading these, make sure to let us know any thoughts in the comments below.
"When I worked in fast food, a woman came in and ordered some food. I was working drive thru, but her stench wafted all the way to my side of the kitchen.
I turned my head to see where it was coming from and made eye contact with a woman, wearing feces-stained sweats and a far-too-small tank top, also covered in some unknown fluid.
She left and ate her food in her car, and came back about half an hour later. She walked up to the front counter and asked, 'How do I apply for a job?' The woman working behind a counter tried to keep a straight face and said, 'You have to apply online.' The customer got mad and started yelling about needing the job because she had no money and couldn't afford the internet.
My co-worker called for the manager who told her that we only keep paper applications on hand when we are in desperate need of new staff members. The customer shrugged and asked where the bathroom is. We pointer her to it and a few minutes later she left. My co-worker went to go use the restroom and came back immediately, she looked at my manager with fear in her eyes and said, 'That woman just left a huge turd in our sink.'"
"I went to hire a girl for a restaurant I was managing, she showed up for the interview and seemed really....off. It was like she was on some kind of substances or a had a few drinks.
A short while later the cops showed up asking whose badly damaged vehicle was in the parking lot and questioned some kitchen staff. The next thing you know she saw the cops and bolted to the bathroom. The police had to go in and grab her, and when they searched her, they found a half empty bottle and some pills of some sort.
She was arrested and removed from the restaurant. Apparently, on her way to the interview, she side-swiped another vehicle.
Needless to say, we never saw her again."
"A girl came in with facial tattoos, one of a spider web on her chin and a couple of others I couldn't really identify. It was for a server position. I hired her because she had a good resume and was personable enough. On her 3rd day, she just didn't show up. Then she came in about two hours later, totally wasted, asking why we called in someone else. She called me some bad names and I told her she was no longer employed.
Then she came in two weeks later with her resume like she didn't know she'd been fired. No one told me it was the same girl so when I sat down with her, I was surprised as heck. I told her she'd been fired before and it wasn't an option to rehire her, and she literally did not remember working there for a few days or meeting me or anyone else at the restaurant.
It was super awkward because she cried for about 5 minutes. About a month later, a coworker said she saw her (kinda hard to hide the tattoos) with a sign near a freeway asking for money. I still feel bad, but c'mon, not showing up and being blacked out on your 3rd day?"
"I was a general manager at a Chick-fil-a for a while. One day, a 19-year-old kid walked into the restaurant for an interview. He seemed nice enough and the interview was good, so I offered him a job on the spot. He immediately broke down in tears. At first I thought he was overly ecstatic and was merely happy crying. Odd, but some people are desperate.
But he kept crying and didn't seem pleased, so I thought maybe the stress level of the interview was high, and he was relief/stress crying. Nope, this kid was extremely upset. Apparently, his parents had given him an ultimatum to either get a job or leave the house. But working fast food wasn't what he wanted to do for with his life. He had an interview later that day at some video game store in town, which was his dream job.
That all seemed like it would be no big deal, but after talking to him (consoling him?) for five minutes, I realized he believed that once I offered him the job, he was forced to accept and had to begin working immediately. It seemed like he felt he was supposed to be fine working at a Chick-fil-a for the next 40 years until he retired, and that he had no choice in the matter.
I asked if his parents told him he had to accept the first offer, or if they were forcing him to keep a job for a few years to get a steady job history. Nope. He just really had no idea that people changed jobs. Both of his parents only ever talked about working at one place, so he assumed you worked your first job until you retired. How this kid made it all the way to 19 without realizing that people can have multiple jobs is beyond me."
"Toward the end of my senior year of high school, I had an interview with Wendy's. My family doesn't make much money, so I wanted to have a job to help pay for my college. The only problem was that my mom is extremely protective and doesn't trust 'non-arabs.' After months of asking her to let me apply for a job, she finally said yes, but only if it was nearby since she didn't want to drive me there (my parents didn't want me to get a license fearing I might run away. I'm 19 and I still don't have one).
After turning in a few applications, I managed to land an interview with Wendy's. On the day of the interview, my mom said she got me a 'congratulations gift,' which was a bluetooth earpiece. Turned out she wanted me to go to the interview wearing it while she was on the call with me. Once I arrived, the hiring manager gave me a weird look but didn't mention the earpiece.
The interview was going well, then toward the end, she started mentioning some of the requirements needed for the job, such as being able to talk to people, handle food, and pick up 50 pounds in weight. That's when I heard the click of my mother's phone being unmuted, followed by about two minutes of her screaming about how she didn't want me to hurt my back, how the job was too dangerous, etc. I tried to maintain composure, but then my mom started telling me to get up and leave right away. I asked the manager to give me a moment and she said ok. I went to the bathroom and pleaded with my mom to let me stay to no avail. She told me to leave without saying a word because she was already outside waiting for me in her car. As I walked out, I gave the manager a sad look and waved goodbye to her without saying a word."
"I was hiring for a coffee shop when a nice enough gal came in 20 minutes late saying stuff like, 'What's the big swag deal guys?'
Her interview answers included her strengths - 'She don't take nothin' from nobody.' 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. We sent a female employee to check if she was okay. About 10 seconds later, I heard screaming and so I rushed over to find our flirtatious applicant currently unconscious with a band around her arm and a needle sticking out of said arm just below it.
I called the ambulance and got her squared away before they transported her to a local hospital. Whelp bad news is we needed a new candidate because this one clearly couldn't work. But 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 was she hired.
The stories that could be told about this woman are vast. Just a taster: I was attempting to repair and automatic espresso machine, and had them unplugged while I worked. I found the issue - the water reservoir had a leak and had water all over the place. She plugged it back in while I was still inside the machine working, I got shocked and got thrown at the floor by the ghost of Nikola Tesla. She walked over to me and said, 'Gross, I don't really think you should be laying on that dirty floor at work.' And then she left. I don't know how I didn't murder her."
"Not really a 'company' per se, but I was the assistant manager at an A&W and due to the actual store manager being lazy (she got canned shortly after I and the other 'assistant' left because nothing got done) the assistant and I did a lot of the interviews.
As a fast food place, obviously our standards weren’t the highest, but one firm no for me was appearances. I by no means expected people (mostly high schoolers) to show up in suit in tie, but for me the bare minimum was nice (no holes) pants of some kind and at least a polo. I could not tell you the amount of times a kid came in in cargo shorts or basketball shorts and a tee shirt.
Absolute worst case was a kid who agreed to a Saturday interview because I was in during the morning and it was the only time he was available. Turns out this kid had been hunting that morning, and showed up in camo pants and shirt, with dirt and grime still on his face."
"I used to manage a restaurant. The other manager hired a girl because he thought she was cute and all.
Well, one morning, I was counting the money from the day before and getting the deposit slip all filled out in my office when the new employee came in and said she was there for training. I grabbed the paperwork she needed to fill out, and grabbed my bank bag. I walked up and gave her her paperwork but realized I forgot a document so I went back to the office, but I slipped up and left the bank bag on the counter by the register. It was only her and I up there, as this is about 9am.
Well, I left and went to the bank to deposit the deposit and guess what? I was $40 short. So I was like, 'Man, I dropped 40 somewhere,' and went back to work. When I got there, I couldn't find it, so I asked her if she saw it. Of course, she said no.
I watched the security cameras and sure enough the liar opened the bag and stole it. She had literally been there less than five minutes and stole from us. I called the cops, they came and arrested her. When they were arresting her, they found three pill bottles in her purse, and she had two warrants out for her arrest. She was 18, and had been to jail before. She didn't even tear up, and called me a jerk for calling the cops."
"There was a 44-year-old guy who had no relevant experience. It was for a kitchen porter job and all he had ever worked in was construction, but he figured 'it would be easy and relaxed.'
When I got there he was already sitting so I couldn't see his torso. As my husband explained what the job entailed - basically, washing dishes in a restaurant kitchen - he asked if there would be a lot of dishes. We said the normal amount for a 50-seat restaurant and he kept on asking if there were a lot of dishes, again and again, until I, confused, felt the need to specify that he didn't need to wash the dishes by hand; we had a machine for that and he just has to load the dishes in the machine.
He then said he know but it sounded like a hard job. At this point, we knew we were not going to hire him, but we finished the interview anyway out of politeness. We told him this was a full-time position working 40 hours a week. He said that 40 hours was a lot to work in a week before asking if he could work illegally so he could keep collecting unemployment.
Uh, absolutely not, and the interview was over.
As he got up to leave, I saw that he was wearing a button-up shirt completely unbuttoned. I could see his navel and everything. Why, oh why?'"
"I'm a restaurant manager and one day I was training a new hourly manager, a black man named Garrett. I told him, 'Sit in on this interview I'm about to have so you can get some experience in that area.' Our guy came in, sat down, and I began asking my questions. I got to the part where I ask about his former employer.
Me: 'What made you leave your last job?'
Interviewee: Nervously looks back and forth between Garrett and me. 'Well, there were a lot of lazy black kids there and I didn't want to be around them anymore so I figured I'd find someplace more white.'
Me: '...Well I think the position has been filled. Get out.'"
"I once had an interesting woman interview when I was the manager of a deli. She had previously worked at McDonald's. I didn't even ask her why she'd left because 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,' so she had to tell the customer 'what's up when you come around disrespecting me,' and the altercation escalated until she 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 real 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 disrespecting me, we won't have no problems.' Needless to say, she wasn't hired."
"I once called a girl in for an interview when i was managing a couple of gas stations. She was well dressed, articulate, and polite. She absolutely nailed the interview and I was extremely excited to have someone who seemed competent and ready to work.
Get her set up with her orientation, and send her off to one of my stations.
I walk in two days after she started and she was wearing a strange looking hat, GIANT (like, four-inch long) mirrored skull earrings and was blasting rap music out of her phone behind the counter. I gently reminded her of our dress code and asked her to take off the hat, remove the earrings, and it was okay to listen to her music, but only when there were no customers and at a reasonable volume.
A week later, I fired her after my manager at the store told me she had witnessed her stealing some smokes, begging for food from customers, and requesting breaks every 30 minutes to go smoke. I saw all of it played back on our cameras and just couldn't let it slide.
Interviews are crap, I have had the worst looking candidates turn out to be the best workers by far and vice-versa."
"I was regrettably a manager at the local McDonald's for a few years. We were short staffed one day, so to cover a worker's break, I was on a register. While taking a customer's order, a young man walked into the restaurant, walked straight up to the counter, and attempted to wedge himself between the customer and me.
'I'm uh, here for an interview.'
Not only had he made an uncomfortable and rude intrusion on a customer, he was wearing a white undershirt with pants slung below his butt cheeks and boxers hanging out.
My response was, 'No, you're not.'
Luckily I didn't have to put with that place much longer. During a particularly terrible day, I quit in the middle of my shift by telling the multi millionaire owner of half of Iowa's McDonald's locations to go get bent. I guess they still talk about it."
"I was a young manager at a pizza chain. I desperately needed older employees to open and close the store. I had been opening the store and then coming back an hour before close to close up because most of my employees were high school students or only had the bus as transportation. I was so excited for this interview because this was a middle aged woman with her own car!
During the interview, I was going through the normal questions, describing some of the work and what to expect. I don’t remember exactly what led her to blurt this out during the interview process, but it was something to the effect of being happy to be alive because her mother tried to abort her with a coat hanger.
That's not the answer I was looking for.
All my hopes were dashed."
"I managed a restaurant a few years ago. I asked the applicant about why he left his last waiter position. He started his response with, 'I feel I can be straight with you,' which should have been a big red flag.
He went on to admit to me that he changed the tip on a credit card slip and got caught when the customer complained. Admitting to a federal crime was an immediate 'NO' for us. I gave him the generic line 'We are gathering applications and will discuss them in our manager’s meeting. We will call you on Tuesday if we would like to schedule another interview.'
He looked at me and said 'So, should I just wait around for another interview?'
In general, it was always extremely awkward when I would ask a candidate, 'Why do you want to work here?' and they would tell me they needed to make rent in a week. They were so clueless that it took two weeks of training before they would be waiting tables solo. They just thought they would walk in and be handed an apron."
"When I worked at a small mom and pop coffee shop, the owner and manager would always ask us what we thought of the people who dropped off resumes. We didn't accept applications anyway so we could write notes right on their resume. The owner also told us if anyone was ever rude when they handed it to us to just throw it in the trash and not even bother giving it to us. And if someone seemed particularly nice or interested to let them know specifically.
There was this one time a girl, probably freshman in college age came in and asked if we were hiring in this weird mix of disinterest and disdain. I gave her the spiel about bringing in a resume and we'd call her if we had an opening and wanted to interview. She came back an hour later and didn't say a word to me but rolled her eyes when she handed me the paper. She literally didn't get five feet away before I threw it away. There's no way someone with that much attitude would work well at that place.
The manager frequently did the same thing but she was a more critical person than I am, and I think maybe a third of all of the resumes would actually make it past the front counter and into the potential applicant pile. It was kind of unfortunate though because that manager wasn't the greatest judge of character and had some very deep seated emotional issues she brought into work with her.
That being said, the owner hired me after a five minute conversation when I came in to the shop to get a smoothie and asked if they were hiring. So random and lucky but I worked there longer than anyone and they trusted me more than any other employee so I'd say it worked out well!"