HR Managers are tasked with finding the best of the best, which can sometimes be difficult to do. They assume people will be on their best behavior, but that isn't always the case.
HR Managers on Reddit share the most outrageous thing they've seen during an interview. Content has been edited for clarity.
Something Got Mesed Up
“I got a call from a woman I’d never spoken to, asking when she could start. She’d received a job offer after interviewing with a manager for a customer service position, she told me. But no one ever contacted her about a start date or pre-employment processes like a background check, and it had been a month.
After a lengthy investigation, it came out that this manager had fabricated a job opening and offered it to this woman in an attempt to impress her. She quit her job (but, it should be noted, did not respond to the manager’s romantic overtures) with the expectation of joining my company. She got a settlement (with an NDA) and the guy who ‘hired’ her got fired.
There was also a guy who faked his son’s death for some extra PTO.”
A Terrible Batch Here
“A guy who was so high at the time of his interview that he forgot who he was meeting and why.
Our applications say we do not hire violent felons. A guy checked that he was felon. When I asked him about it, he said it was for domestic violence and stalking. I asked him if he read the part about us not hiring violent felons and he just couldn’t connect the dots. It’s got violence in the name of the charge, dude.
Literally had a guy complain, ‘How come we only have overtime when you want it?!’
‘You’ meaning the company. That’s how jobs work, man.
In casual conversation a guy told me the ‘hilarious’ story about how his girlfriend got an IUD without his permission, so he ripped it out by the strings.
Had a mom show up on behalf of her son for the interview.”
She Brought A Friend
“A friend of mine was hiring. A gal walks into the interview with a bug that she found outside. My friend said during the entire interview, she was watching it crawl around on her hands. She would talk to the bug when she answered his questions, never once making eye contact with him.”
He Shared A Bit Too Much
“I was conducting an interview with a candidate who had previously worked for five years as a science teacher. I work in the pharmaceutical industry so I was curious as to why he was leaving his current position. Without skipping a beat, he started going into the legal troubles he was facing. I immediately tried to stop him from going into details since it could cause legal issues for us, particularly if we chose not to hire. He pressed on telling me that he was being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student, and that he was on leave from his current school.
I had to end the interview and excuse myself from the room. I couldn’t believe how open he was in telling me that he was (allegedly) banging an underage student.”
The Lowest Of The Low
“We had an interview with a perky young lady who came with her high school co-op facilitator for an interview. Seemed fine enough, we often employ summer students for our offsite work in summer camps. For some of them, they require some accommodations due to high school education law, etc. Usually kids with autism, Tourettes, ADHD and other disorders do quite well in roles at our summer day camps, and we have several specialized roles to accommodate most teens who really want a job or co-op credits.
HOWEVER, this ‘student’ was not a high school student. She looked young. But she was actually 30, and somehow this co-op facilitator had learned we interview students for roles at our camp. Within five seconds of starting our interview, it was obvious this lady, while sweet and pleasant, was not able to work at our camps. The facilitator we figured, from looking at the organization he came from, was like a headhunter, placing people with special needs in employment, like Community Living, or something like that. He pleaded with us to take her on as an employee.
For every question we asked, she answered ‘I work well in teams.’
She just smiled and said that over and over.
I finally took my interview hat off and talked to her without asking those type questions. I found out she lived with her Mom and Dad who she said ‘need a break,’ and she was trying to earn money because she knew that money ‘gets people breaks.’
I made a couple calls, one to her parents, and found out she had an organic global delay and her parents had paid for this facilitator to try to get her into a day camp as they were retired, and felt she needed a change in scenery from them entertaining her 24/7. I got them in touch with some organizations that they weren’t familiar with and she accepted into their program for disabled adults to get involved in community and work small jobs at coffee shops or picking vegetables in summer, or working for golf courses washing dishes, stuff like that.
This ‘facilitator’ KNEW she couldn’t possibly work at our camp with children, but lied to get her an interview to beg us to take her so he could earn a fee off of her earnings. What a dirtball.”
She Freaked Out For No Reason
“First gig in HR, I worked for a company that had a restaurant attached. Teenage girl applies for a job at the restaurant. We – the company – invite her to a job interview. Mom calls, completely enraged, where we got her daughter’s address from, she hasn’t applied for a job with the company. Took me ten minutes to explain to her, that [restaurant name] was part of [company name], and because her daughter had applied to the restaurant, she would be employed by the company.
A day later, getting an application for an office job, sales or something related. Handwritten. Well, okay, some people still don’t have easily access to computers. But it was adorned with glitter stickers and the cover was a hand drawn butterfly tribal.
Second gig in HR, I’m interviewing a guy for a position as security officer (CSO to be precise). And he knows his stuff. But he’s so freaking full of himself. At first, when I come in, he’s on the phone because of a freelance gig and leaves me waiting five minutes. Then he tells me my name is not ‘modern,’ because the ‘cool girls’ are not called Catherine anymore, but Caitlyn (not my real name, but something similar). Tells me how he had training events with colleagues, who can tell me how good he is at his job. When I later ask one of the colleagues, he tells me what an absolute trash bag the person was during the training. Needless to say that he wasn’t offered the job.”
He Was Just Being Polie
“I was supposed to conduct an interview with an applicant, and I make it a habit to drop them a text two hours before the interview to remind them about the interview.
This applicant came 30 minutes past his interview slot. In that 30 minutes, I was calling him and texting him to check his ETA. All he said was he’s on the way.
At the 30-minute mark, I called him again while standing outside the office building and there he was smoking a joint. He turned to me, gestured at his smoke, scowled at me and gestured for me to wait. He didn’t get the job, and when we sent him the rejection email he got upset and sent me a rude email then proceeded to block my number. Joys of being in HR I guess.”
Someone Was Laughing
“We had a new store opening in Las Vegas, and we sent like 50 employees from other stores around the country to help. Well one night this guy decided he wanted to get himself a lady of the night, but a fancy one that takes debit cards.
He picks her up at 11 at night on a Thursday, and he does what one does with a lady of the night. He finishes and it’s time to pay it’s a little after midnight payday Friday. He clearly didn’t realize his check wouldn’t be in his account until 2 am. Being unable to pay for his partner, she got her boss involved into the situation.
Boss shows up at the door mad, demanding money. The employee is trashed, and still undressed grabs his car keys (company rental car) and runs from the guy. Down the stairs through the lobby and into his car driving away. Still undressed and trashed, he gets pulled over and arrested just 10 minutes later.
One of the funniest exit interviews I’ve seen.”
She Seemed To Have Forgotten
“Had scheduled a Skype interview with a woman for this accounting job. She had a glowing resume and tons of relevant experience. I just knew this was the one.
Well I call her at her scheduled time and she answers and is clearly operating a vehicle wearing a tank top like a dress. I ask if she’d like to pull over or reschedule and she said she is pulling over now.
I’m trying to verify her address and some other basic info when I hear random voice come from her side. She pulled over into a Wendy’s drive through! She was reaching to get her food with her phone in her hand and while trying to check her bag she dropped her phone between her legs and she was not wearing underwear! That was the end of the interview. She did not get the job.”
A Simple Mistake
“I was once asked to take a tech interview for a software developer position. It was an online interview, and the candidate had mentioned he had 15 Years of experience and managed around 13 people. He explained that he wanted to be more hands-on and work as an individual contributor.
I had almost half his experience, and I wanted to make sure I handled this correctly.
We ended the interview shortly after and rejected him.
He later emailed the HR saying that he tried running the code he wrote for the interview and it worked, and that they should keep people in the interview panel with some knowledge.
He Should Have Waited A Bit
“I work HR for a large supermarket chain. We were preparing to open a new store, so we had an offsite office space we were using for hiring and handling paperwork. We hire this guy for the store and he’s been working/ training in one of the nearby stores until the new store opens. One day, he brings his friend in and asks if she can get an interview. We typically will interview anyone with a pulse. She had face tattoos, red eyes, and smelled kind of funky. I already made my mind up about her from the start but proceed with the interview to be polite.
After it’s all said and done, they are leaving together and the guy comes up to me and says ‘I know it would be hard for her to work days due to her’ and I cut him off and say ‘Yeah, I don’t know about those face tattoos.’
Which he responds with ‘I was going to say her brain condition.’
So embarrassed, I tell him ‘Yea I’m not sure. I’ll have to interview other candidates before making my decision.’
Never did see her again.”
Would Have Been Nice To Know
“A couple came in for an interview. I opened the door to let one of them in but both of them barged in the room. I decided to interview them together, since they both seemed very uncomfortable. I asked a question to the husband, he answered. I asked the same question to the wife, and she stared at me with befuddlement.
Later on, I learned SHE DOESN’T SPEAK ANY ENGLISH. They never told me prior one of them couldn’t speak English. nor was I prepared for such an instance. It was very awkward from then on because I had never encountered anything like it before.”
He Had A Few Secrets
“A guy comes for an interview for a position at our company. Well-dressed, said all the right things, and had a pretty solid resume.
But something was ‘off’ about him. He gave off this vibe, and I wasn’t the only one who noticed. But we can’t just dismiss a potentially great candidate just because we had a weird feeling about him. Our company runs background checks so that’s what we did. Turns out the guy is a child predator, and for some reason consented to a background check.
And, there was a school right across the street from the company.
Another guy came in with his entire family. Mom and two babies in a double stroller. Mom insists on attending the interview with her husband. She answers on his behalf and barely lets him speak.
The company I worked in was a small business, so we just let her come in because she was very aggressive. She also called to follow up and was rude when we informed her that we would be emailing her husband, and saying ‘Fine, I’ll see it anyway.'”
She Thought She Had A Life Hack
“I was a hiring manager for an operations center, and had a mail room opening. A lady came in to interview and asked if she could sit on the job. I said no, the job requires standing and walking for sorting and delivery. She insisted I show her the mail room where she proceeded to explain how she could sit while sorting mail. I said no, sitting will not allow you to reach the sort bins.
Anyway, this was obviously not a good fit for her. She would not leave. Proceeded to cry and hold on to the chair in my office. I had to call her husband to drag her out of my department making a scene. So strange.”
She Took The Opportunity
“I had an interview with an applicant for a caregiving position. She came in dressed like quasi military, including a Kevlar vest and black leather combat boots. She then spends the interview talking about how she trains people for private security, and she’s just looking to get some clients for her business. She asks if any of our elderly clients would be interested.
She then hands me a crudely hand drawn booklet made of graph paper and string detailing the various moves she teaches her students. It was full of little stick figures and her own special certification process. She was very proud to tell me she’s able to make about 15 of these booklets a week. We ended the interview at that point citing conflict of interest.”
Should Have Thought That Through
“I was working in recruiting, and we were hiring 500+ people to open up a new plant. Suffice to say, there were a lot of interviews. One guy came in, and was pretty nice. He was younger who didn’t seem to have a ton of interviewing/job experience. Not that it was a problem, we were hiring a lot of folks, and it was an entry level job.
One of the questions was something along the lines of, ‘Who is someone you look up to/admire at work and why?’
He pondered the question for a bit. But said he couldn’t think of anyone. So I tried helping, and reframed the question, and asked about his current Supervisor.
His answer? ‘I can’t say her since she’s a woman.’
He says that to me, a woman. Mind you I’m the only one in the room. I was shocked. He did not get the position.”
He Remembered It Wrong
“When I was a beginner in HR and doing more administrative work than actual recruitment, one recruiter from my team told me that she had an interview scheduled and could I please bring the candidate in the conference room because she couldn’t? So I agreed, and I wait for her to tell me when the front desk notifies her that the candidate arrived.
So the time of the interview arrives, and my colleague calls me in the conference room to talk to me. She tells me that I’m not going to get that candidate because the front desk informed her that, get this, the guy is absolutely hammered. As in can barely stand and reeks of drinks. Mind you, it was three PM on Tuesday. So the manager goes and gets the guy and the interview ends in like 15 minutes and the guy is kicked out.
The kicker: the next day, I get an email from the guy telling me that my colleague was rude and she kept asking him if he was okay and she suggested rescheduling the interview. He asked when we could reschedule but I blacklisted him immediately on my manager’s orders. Needless to say, the story reached the whole HR department.”
A Lot Of Red Flags Here
“I was about 22 years old in my first HR job. Barely out of college. Part of my job was screening candidates on the phone for the 2nd level interviews. We had an entry level warehouse position open, and I scheduled a phone interview with someone. I’m just about to pick up the phone to call him when reception calls and says my 1:00 interview is here.
So I go down to the front desk and a man in corduroy pants and a ragged t shirt was standing there.
‘Hi, are you the new applicant?’ I inquire.
‘Yeah, sorry I’m late,’ the guy says.
‘I don’t know if you got my email, this was supposed to be a phone interview,’ I told him.
‘Yeah, but I wanted to see you in person anyway, first impressions and all,’ he said.
Alright, red flags one through three. Obviously doesn’t follow directions. But he came all the way out, so we proceed with the interview in person.
I ask all the standard questions and he’s not that impressive. Looked better on paper. It happens. Then I ask why he left his last job. That’s when it got weird.
He got real quiet for a while. Then he leaned in closer to me and he said ‘My old manager shot himself in the head with a nail loaded weapon on the shop floor. He died in my arms. My coworkers thought I had something to do with it, so it was better that I left.'”
What A Guy
“A guy came for an interview with a pasta sauce jar full of sweet tea (or so he said), and proceeded to drink it during the entire interview. I was so shocked I just let him do it. It had half of the label and glue still on the jar. After the interview, he asked me what I did at the company.
When I told him AGAIN, he said ‘Yeah yeah, but what do you REALLY do here?’
As I walked him to the door to leave after his interview, he leaned in really weird like and said ‘I think your boss has the hots for you.’
He obviously didn’t get a second interview.
But plot twist: he did call and email back several times over the next few days and berate me for not hiring him, as per him he was desperate for work and would even consider a lesser salary. Then he told me I was too pretty and young to be in Human Resources. But also he had made millions in his 30’s and 40’s and was only working because he was bored, also he offered me a future job at his new startup company (in the same industry), and I would be making millions of dollars, all while stealing our customers and proprietary information. He literally told me this….. He threatened to do it sooner if I didn’t hire him. But to not tell my boss his plan.
And then he so kindly asked to take me out on his personal airplane for a sunset ride….. he was applying for a sales position starting at 40k.
Bless his heart.”
An Interesting Situation
“I worked for a contractor delivery company. A guy came in for an interview, he was acting pretty weird, I didn’t feel comfortable at all. At one point, I ended the interview because he was acting really strange (not coherent, really vague-pretty sure he was high). He left at around 11 am, and it’s really important to mention it was winter. So at around noon, my team and I had lunch at a restaurant nearby and when we are getting ready at the lobby (jackets, scarfs, boots) my boots were missing. Even my brand new Pajar that I purchased a week earlier!
Also, we noticed that some frames and pictures were missing from the lobby. We just thought someone was joking around, or maybe cleaning team decided to remove the frames for cleaning or something. I was really worried about my boots though. My boss lend me a pair of old boots to get to the restaurant. When we got back to the office, a police officer was standing in the lobby. He asked me directly by name, I freaked out! He told me that a guy was arrested at a gas station nearby, he tried to rob the gas station and was in possession of narcotics and a knife. When they arrested him, he had my business card on him and he had a bag full of stuff. I went to the police station and they had my boots and all the lobby decorations.
Such a weird day.”