Parents at the job interview? Check. Questions about committing crimes? Check. Demanding days off before being hired? Check. It's absolutely astounding what some people think is a good idea to do in an interview.
Some have absolutely no sense of themselves, some think they are smarter than everyone else. Many are stunned when they do incredibly stupid things and are then told they aren't getting the job. Check out what these folks from Reddit had to say about the strangest, dumbest and weirdest interviews they've ever conducted. (Content has been edited for clarity.)
Fired Before He Was Hired
“2005 – A kid made it through the interview with the store manager and I was to do his new hire paperwork, but wasn’t officially hired yet.
As I was getting the paperwork ready, he proceeded to talk an insane amount of trash about the ‘person that does the interviews’ using all sorts of foul language and a really cocky attitude.
I told him to wait one minute.
I went and got the store manager, brought him into the office with this kid and told him, ‘hey, so this is actually the store manager, the person who will be your main boss. Transparency is huge, so please express what you told me to make sure this is still a good fit for everyone.’
The thing was I already told the store manager what was said so after some back peddling from the kid, the store manager said we are going to go in another direction for the opening but thanks for your time.
This Takes A Creepy Turn At The End
“At a job fair a few years back…
Candidate: ‘So what departments are currently hiring?’
Me: ‘At the moment, we have immediate openings in the sales department.’
Candidate: ‘I see. What do they do in that department?’
Me: ‘A combination of traditional sales as well as some business to business, lead generating and media partnerships.’
Candidate: ‘Can you define ‘sales’ for me?’
Me: ‘It’s selling our product to potential partners.’
Candidate: ‘So what do you mean by selling?’
Me: ‘Like a definition?’
Candidate: ‘I just want to know what a salesperson does exactly.’
Me: ‘They close a deal, we provide the service and the client pay us for it or possibly partner with us for a trade and cash combination. The salesperson gets a commission along with base salary.’
Candidate: ‘OK. Is that what this department specializes in?’
Me: ‘Yes. Sales departments specialize in selling.’
Candidate: ‘Everyone in that department sells?’
Candidate: ‘So are you a part of that department?’
Me: ‘No. I’m in human resources. I recruit.’
Candidate: ‘So how would you even know what sales does if you’re not part of that department?’
Me: ‘Part of my job requires me to know the function of every department.’
Candidate: ‘So can I really trust that you’re giving me the right information?’
Me: ‘Do you have any reason to doubt the information?’
Candidate: ‘Just be straight with me. What would I need to do if I get this sales position?’
Me: ‘You would do sales. That’s the main priority.’
Candidate: ‘OK. Just one more question.’
Candidate points at my coworker who has been talking to another candidate: ‘If I get this job, do I get to work with her?'”
Only The Best And The Brightest
“I used to do hiring and interviews.
The company was a multi-level-marketing company, so my interviews were pretty much just for show. Basically, if you weren’t a felon and had $100 I would hire you. Two standouts that I had:
-18-year-old kid comes in. Sees the sign on the front door, fills out the application with the company name on the top of the application. Halfway through the interview he snaps up and asks, ‘Wait…this isn’t Petsmart??’ He went to the wrong interview and didn’t realize it. We still hired him.
-We’re in the office, I am looking at her application. On the question about the felony she answers, ‘Yes.’ I know at this point I can’t hire her, but curiosity gets the best of me. ‘So, what’s the felony for?’ She explains that her husband was abusing their children and she knew about all of it and allowed it to happen and was charged as an accessory when the police finally got involved.
She’s still married to him and has no plans to leave him. In short, she not only turned a blind eye to the abuse, but she approved of it the entire time and is standing by him as he serves out his prison time.”
Lying About The Wrong Thing
“I’m a software engineering manager.
I always ask candidates to send me a couple of available code samples if they have them. This one candidate sent me a code sample that was an exact completely identical open source project that I am the maintainer of! I thought this was so funny I decided to bring him in for an in-person interview.
After a moment, I confronted him and said I think he had just copied an open source project and sent it in as a code sample. He said, ‘Oh no, I am the maintainer of that project! It’s mine. I wrote every line and I have worked on it for years.’ Then I broke it to him that I am the maintainer and that this was my and other contributors code. He looked right at me and said: ‘You stole it from me!’
Needless to say, I declined to give him an offer.”
The Psycho Interview
“The best interview I ever conducted was with a guy I call ‘I kill pigs.’
I was working as a kitchen manager in Hawaii when the young man checking people in for interviews came back with a wild look in his eyes. We had a couple managers conducting interviews that day, but this guy who came in scared the bejeezus out of everyone. I was just tough/dumb enough to sit with him. The guy wasn’t very big, maybe only half my size, but he was scrappy and tweaking extra hard. Shaking the table, bouncing the chair, and grinding his jaw so hard that if he even had any teeth left they would be missing. I grab his application and saddle up across the table to ‘chat’ with him. Glancing at his application, he had two previous jobs: working on a tuna boat and working at an agricultural co-op.
The reason for leaving the tuna boat was something scribbled extra angrily, so I couldn’t make it out. I asked him about that first. ‘So what happened with the boat?’
Simple question, but it set him OFF! He stood up and started pacing. He starts off with ‘forget that guy, man forget him. I go out on that boat all day and we don’t catch nothing, man, then when we get back in I’m all like alright give me my money and he starts giving me this bull about we didn’t catch no fish, there’s no money for you, so I’m all like eff that, I was on that boat so you give me money or I’ll freaking stab you and I’ll burn your boat and he gave me money. He says he don’t want me coming and fishing no more!’
Rather than agitate him further, as we are still in the dining room with some guests and other applicants looking on in horror, I quickly change the subject.
Next job was the agricultural co-op, so I move on to that and it gets him quick bolted to the chair. This is better.
Me: ‘Alright, tell me about the co-op. What do you do there?’
He gets this wild look in his eyes and answers with a sickly grin, ‘I kill pigs.’
Mmhmm. I just let him continue. ‘Yeah, they get these pigs, we grab ’em, throw them up on this hook, and I gut em! Yeah, drag that knife all the way down on pull everything out of them while they squeal!’ All the while licking his lips and smiling that toothless nutty grin.
‘Wow, that sounds awesome, so why do you want to leave there?’ Is all I could muster. ‘Naw man, I ain’t gonna leave there, I love it there, but they don’t pay me good, so I need a second job. So how much you gonna pay me?’
I reply, ‘Uhh, I haven’t offered you a job yet.’
‘Man, why not?’
So I roll straight into the ‘Q language’: if we decide to move forward, we will call you within 24 hours, otherwise, we have moved on with a different applicant.
‘No! I been here, spending all this time, give me a job!’
At that point he started to stand up, so did I. I am not the biggest guy, but I can be pretty darn imposing and that usually quiets most people up, but this guy ain’t most people.
‘Man you better be giving me a job, whatcha gonna do??’ All I had to was maintain any professionalism and control and repeat my earlier: ‘if we decide to move forward, we will call you within 24 hours, otherwise we have moved on with a different applicant.’
At this point, the dude ain’t getting it and gets up in my face repeating that I will regret it if he ‘don’t get this job.’ A small crowd had gathered, and our staff being a bunch of former military and Samoans, this guy finally looks around, and sidles his bare feet out the front door, hurling insults and threats the whole way.
No, he did not get the job.”
This Interview Took Some Weird Curves
“Me: ‘We work on set schedules Monday to Friday, the part-time offering will be bound within those times within 20-24 hours a week depending on business needs.’
Them: ‘What’s the minimum I can work?’
Me: ‘Expectation is 20-24 hours.’
Them: ‘So like, can I, uh, just work like five hours?’
Me: ‘Again, the expectation is 20-24.’
Them: ‘Does it have to be Monday to Friday? Can I, like, come in Saturday for just a couple hours?’
Me: ‘No. The expectation is set, but we can build a schedule for you within those days that meet the necessary hours.’
Them: ‘Look I feel like you’re being really inflexible here and I don’t appreciate it. I could really get a job anywhere I want but I thought it would be really cool to come work here but if you’re not going to help me out here, then, like, I don’t think I really want to be a part of this.’
Me: ‘Unfortunately I don’t think we have a position here that will work for you.’
Them: ‘So can I have the job?’
He Just Didn’t Get It
“Behavioral based questions are great in interviews. Everyone has to work at some point with someone they don’t fancy. I like to know how they have handled it in the past, as it is a good indicator of behavior in the future. Are they professional or are they childish and irrational? Will they follow the proper chain of command or go AWOL in the face of a challenging person or thing?
The answers I get are mind-boggling sometimes and really show how people react in the workplace.
For example, I asked one of my standard questions to a candidate, ‘Tell me about a time you had to work with someone you found hard to like or respect.’
He responded with, ‘My last manager wrote me up for being late too many times. Like I get it, we have a rule that you only have three tardy or absent days but she didn’t even TALK to me about it at first or give me a break.’
I was flabbergasted, ‘So, there was a policy and procedure around tardiness and, tell me if I am wrong, you wanted a break or a warning for exceeding three tardy arrivals?’
‘Yes, she could have at least talked to me about it. Anyway, I hated her. She was always writing people up for stuff.’
‘Right. We are pretty stringent on our job duties and expectations here…’
The interview ended there.”
Hard Pass, Next!
“I once asked a candidate a variant of the usual, ‘what are some of your weaknesses’ questions.
She responded with ‘Pass’ and firmly stared back at me.
No, she did not get the job.
She also listed ‘Proficient in Internet Explorer’ on her resume. I won’t forget that one.”
Turning The Tide
“She immediately started interviewing me.
It was super weird.
She just walked in and started asking so many questions I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. And it wasn’t, like, legitimate questions. She was quizzing me about things in the brochure to see if I knew the answers!
The interview ended without me asking her a single question. To this day I still wonder if I was on a candid camera episode that never aired.”
Showing The Important Stuff
“Not an interview, but I once received a resume that was a legitimate 12 pages long.
At first I rolled my eyes because resumes should be brief and concise. However, I was happy to discover that only one page was relevant information and the rest was a detailed explanation on how he had chosen to decorate his house.
He ended the whole thing with the immortal line:
‘I also like night hiking. That’s hiking but at night.'”
One Way To Solve An Annoying Problem
“I work for the university I go to doing parking enforcement, and as you can imagine, we sometimes get confronted by angry students we ticket. One of the routine interview questions for the job is: ‘How do you respond to hostile or aggressive situations?’ The guy being interviewed was a combat vet and when he got asked that question, says, with a completely straight face, ‘Well, when I was deployed and I had hostile situations, we ended up shooting people.’ Not exactly the answer they’re looking for.
Funny thing is, a little while later he interviewed again and got hired.”
“I’ve seen a lot:
- An applicant at a police dept. claimed to be able to tell when people are up to no good because he was ‘clairvoyant!’
It was not uncommon for young people applying for jobs at the university where I worked to bring their parents to the interview to ask and answer questions for them. Parents then make the follow-up call after the interview. They get upset when told their little snowflake isn’t being considered.
I was informally interviewing people to train as a repo man. Several stated how much they looked forward to beating people up.”
This Guy Is Off, WAY Off
“I interviewed a grown man who seemingly had the brain of a 7-year-old.
I asked him why he wanted to work in my law firm and his answer was because the job posting said there were ‘no bad guys.’ He added that ‘no bad guys could come into our town.’
I was stunned and thought I must have been on some sort of hidden camera show, but I carried on to be polite. When I asked him a basic question about filing documents he asked if I liked skateboarding.
He was admittedly extremely confident.”
A Free Spirit
“A girl once came in for an in-person interview, after a pretty successful phone screen.
First question: ‘Tell us something about yourself.’
She starts out by saying she needs to stand up because she’s too nervous to sit down.
Then she says she needs to pace around the room because it makes her think better.
Then she asks if she can take her shoes off (no explanation given).
We all wanted her to be at ease so we went along with it and let her answer a few questions still.
Weirdest interview of my life.”
Technically, She Answered The Question
“I started with a softball: ‘Tell me a little bit about yourself.’
‘Well, my favorite color is orange and I love dogs…’ She then just kinda trailed off and looked at me blankly like that was a complete answer to the question.
To be fair, she was younger and didn’t really have any professional job experience but it still caught me off guard since it was so far removed from the typical interview-type answer.”
Deep Rooted Guilt
“My school has a large amount of Native American students.
We asked, ‘why do you want to work here?’
She responds, ‘my ancestors killed a lot of Native Americans…this is like my redemption.'”