Everything Was Going Well Until He Asked Some Situational Questions
“I’m an IT Director. I was hiring an entry-level person and had this one guy come in fresh outta of a correctional institution. He was around 6’6,” 250lbs, ripped muscle wise, and had half sleeve tattoos on both arms. We talked for a little while; he wasn’t a very technical person, but he was one of the better ones in the batch. What I mean by that was, he was very personable and friendly. This was just a desktop support position.
I thought to myself, ‘Well, he was honest, he got popped for possession, showed me a coin that he has been going to a meeting and is sober now, offered to have me talk with his sponsor. We can teach him the easy tech stuff.’
Then, I asked him a few situational questions. This is where it all stumbled.
Me: ‘So, hypothetically, you are at a user’s desk. They are getting really frustrated that you haven’t solved an issue that takes you normally 10 minutes, in the 90 seconds you have been there. How do you handle the irate user?’
Him: ‘I tell the user to please be patient and that I am working on it.’
Me: ‘After three minutes the user says, “Will you please get someone competent here? I have real work to do.”‘
(He was actually starting to get visibility ruffled at this point.)
Him: ‘I tell him it shouldn’t be long, I’m still working on it.’
Me: ‘”Why are you still working on it? Just click a few buttons and be done. Or just call someone up that can actually fix this, now!”‘
Him: ‘I tell the user to go eff themselves and if there is an issue, I’ll beat the crap out of them with their own chair, because they need to understand freaking respect for people.’
I didn’t hire him. I really, really wanted to have my own IT Pitbull, but the next candidate was actually perfect for the job. Sigh.”
Group Homes Are Always Hiring, Even Idiots (Idiots May Apply)
“I work at a group home.
This guy came in with an impressive four years of nursing on his resume, but he hadn’t worked as a nurse in a decade. I asked him why he stopped working as a nurse. Our pay is much lower, to be fair. He responded that he was fired for taking the pain meds he was in charge of giving to patients, resulting in the patients not receiving their meds, despite him signing that they had.
When we told him he would theoretically be responsible for administrating medicine, he said he ‘didn’t think it would be a problem’ because he was no longer an addict.
Previously in the interview, we told him the job required a vehicle and clean driving record because we transport clients. He said he didn’t have a license because he couldn’t afford a vehicle. This would change of course once we gave him the job and he could save up for a vehicle. When we told him it was a requirement for hire, he became very upset and ranted about the catch 22.
He was also 45 minutes late and sweating through a very ill-fitted suit which was complete overkill for the position he was applying.
It was my first interview and we haven’t had many better candidates.
If you are desperate for a job, google group homes in your area. There are always openings.”
This One Candidate Changed How They Arrange Interviews
“We were hiring a few dozen lift operators and were having an open door event. It was a first come, first serve sort of affair where we interviewed a bunch of candidates, met and gave a go/no goes to them, and told them to come in for training the following week or not. There was a start and end time for these and people sometimes show up past the end time. This happens often, we’ll turn a few people away after the window closes.
One candidate showed up late to one of these events. He was ragged looking and sweaty. We had already filled the positions, so my HR manager met with him to explain. When this guy was turned away, he broke down. My HR manager tried to calm him down, we got the notion that he was broke and stuff. The HR manager came in to see me in tears. We had a conversation and looked over some numbers, figured we’d lose a few through attrition in the beginning anyway… it took maybe 20 minutes. When she went out to start the interview, he was gone. We get résumés at the beginning of the interview, so we never took his information.
I felt bad, but it was a busy day so I got back to work. I’ve been thinking about this guy ever since. I handle job rodeos a little differently now, I try and use remote sites, we’ll stay as long as candidates come in. We won’t hire on the spot (though we’ll score them right away) and we take résumés first thing. Essentially this is what we’d do with a large startup, except now we apply similar policies for medium to small startups as well.
If he had gotten the job, he wouldn’t be walking to work every day. You get an advance on your first week and can arrange transportation from there.”
She Was A Promising Candidate, But Her True Colors Showed During The Interview
“A few years ago, we put out an posting for a senior software developer. The description was rather broad; we had a variety of projects we could stick them on, but needed a senior level person that could jump in relatively quickly.
In came this lady, let’s name her Susan, with an excellent resume. She had ten years of development experience, lead-level previous position, listed proficiencies in all the languages we wanted, even obscure ones (who even still knows XSLT, for example).
So we brought her for an interview, one of those public sector committee ones with preset questions, and she was acing it. She talked a big game, excitedly described her past projects and their impact, and seemed all around pretty personable. Then we deviated a bit and started asking basic coding questions and she replied with a line I will never forget as long as I shall live:
‘Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t really do coding, I have my chinaman for that.’
(five seconds of stunned silence)
Us: ‘I beg your pardon?..’
Her: ‘My chinaman, (let’s call him Bob), if something needs doing, I pass it off to him and it’s just done. He’s really good.’
When we inquired if we could maybe interview ‘the chinaman’ instead, she got really flustered and basically wound the interview down. It’s like we committed a great offense by implying the two of them were separate entities. To this day, we don’t really know what the deal there was, exactly.”
He Wouldn’t Stop Dodging Questions
“This guy seemed really nice during introductions and then I asked my first question. Here’s how it went:
Him: ‘That’s your first question? You’re not going to ask about the break in my experience?’
Me: ‘No. I care about what whether you can do this job, not what you’ve done the past year.’
Him: ‘But, why wouldn’t you ask that first?’
Me: ‘Because I want to know about the work you did at this other company.’
Him: ‘Well, I wrote a novel you know. And it got published. Did you google me and know that already?’
Me: ‘I googled you, didn’t see anything about a novel, and that isn’t pertinent here. Can you address the question?’
Him: ‘The movie rights were optioned. I’ve just finished my second novel. I’m looking for a publisher. Want to know what it’s about?’
Me: ‘Not right now. Maybe la…’
Him: ‘It’s this great story…’
Me: ‘I’m sorry, you’re going to have to leave. If you can’t tell me about your practical experience, you’re not suited for this role.'”
If You Really Want The Job, It’s Best Not To Have Your Grandma Interview For You
“A kid looking to get hired at my store came in and asked to speak to me. I was out the day he came in, so he asked my coworkers the next day I would be there and planned to come back.
Well, two days later when I was back, he came back…with his grandmother. Now, this didn’t bother me at first because we have hired some kids who were too young to drive but had a good head on their shoulders. What did bother me is when the kid stood by the door and the grandmother came to talk to me…alone.
She started having the interview for him when I didn’t even plan on giving the kid an interview yet. She handed me a resume that I’m fairly sure she designed in Microsoft Paint and started spouting off all these really admirable traits about this kid. Meanwhile, he stood by the door and looked straight down at his shoes. She told me what a hard worker he was, how quick of a learner he was and because this was a retail job she tried to tell me how personable he was. I kid you not, this lady looked me dead in the eyes with her grandson standing 50 feet away and tried to tell me he was great with people and that he had no problems approaching anyone.
I was stunned. I kindly told her that I would keep his resume on file, but at the moment we were not looking for any new employees. So she thanked me, shook my hand, and walked over to her grandson. She whispered something in his ear and he walked over to me. He didn’t say a word, he just stuck his hand out at me. I went to shake his hand, but I’m not entirely sure he understood the concept of a handshake. I was grabbing his hand and shaking while he just let his limp, clammy hand sit in my grasp until it was over. He then turned around and left.”
Hugs Don’t Always Resolve Conflict, Especially With The Elderly
“I interview at least five potential caregivers a week to work with seniors that have dementia. We don’t ask the typical job interview questions, we ask them a series of common scenarios they will encounter and see how they react/respond.
One of the questions is, ‘What would you do if you walk into a client’s room and they start screaming at you to get out?’
The correct answer is some variation of leave for a few minutes and come back with a big smile on your face and usually, they will be happy to see you. One caregiver said she would bear hug the client into submission because she doesn’t tolerate any disrespect.
When I tried telling her that’s the opposite of what you should do, she replied, ‘No, I would stick with the bear hug.'”
“She Kept Relating Her Answers Back To Her Cats”
“At my previous job, I was interviewing candidates for a position within my team. One of the applicants was internal, so I knew of her and knew she had a few cats as pets.
So the day of the interview arrived. She came in and we started with the basics. I then asked a few competency based questions and she started to give answers not based on her work experience (she had trained overseas teams and had an impressive CV), but relating the answers back to her cats.
For example, I asked, ‘Can you give me an example of your leadership skills?’
I kid you not, her answer was along the lines of, ‘Well I have two cats and around feeding time, I need to make sure [cat 1] gets fed first as [cat 2] has a weight problem and will try to eat [cat 1’s] food. I need to ensure I lead by making sure [cat 2] is kept well away from [cat 1] until he’s finished his food.’
She then showed me pictures of the cats in question. Don’t get me wrong, they were some mighty fine beasts (cat 2 was a fat old boy) and I have a pet cat, but I was a bit surprised. I did get some decent answers from her on occasion, but it was a very surreal interview.
She didn’t get the job.”
“This Was Her 5th Job In 3 Years”
“This smoking hot woman applied for a project manager job. She had a spotty job history. She seemed qualified and interviewed well, but had a criminal charge on her background check. I had to ask her for permission to see the details (we use a third party agency), she agreed.
The charge was public disorderly conduct. Basically, she was semi-naked and wasted on public property during her last year of college. I chose to ignore it and I hired her. She ended up not even reporting to me.
A year later, she came to thank me. She said I was the first person to not try to use her minor charge as leverage to sleep with her as her boss. She also thanked me for being discreet and never passing on the info post-interview.
This was her fifth job in three years. I felt bad for her. Thankfully it’s all been successful ever since for her.”
Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover
“I interviewed a 30-year-old guy who had gotten all his previous jobs through connections. It was his first job interview ever.
Although he turned out to be the sweetest, nicest, gentlest person you could imagine, he looked like a axe-murdering-serial-kidnapper-motorcycle-gang-member psychopath. The dude was genuinely scary looking.
He was super quiet, super shy, and was so nervous about this interview that he was sweating like crazy. Overall, he wasn’t making a good impression.
He said in the interview, ‘I know I look scary, and I’m really shy, so people think I’m a psycho, but it’s not like I’m some effing criminal. I’m just a nice guy.’
He then realized that he said the f-word while admitting that people were scared of him. He then said, ‘I imagine this isn’t going very well…’
I ended up hiring him. He was the best worker and one of the nicest people I’ve ever known in my life.”
When The Interviewee Is Low Key Racist
“I’ve had some ridiculous interviews.
One older white woman said, ‘Will I have to work with middle easterners?’ And she pointed to a guy outside the meeting room. The guy was of Indian heritage, but was born here.
I said, ‘Uh, Mike’s not from the Middle East.’
‘You know what I mean, brown people,’ she whispered.
I work for a tech company.”
The Cardinal Sin Of Interview Behavior
“I have a lot of stories I remember.
One time, this guy showed up wasted for an operations manager interview. It was short perfunctory interview followed by a ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you.’
Another showed up in a tie and suit vest for a near minimum wage unskilled labor job. He got the job and actually turned out to be a pretty good worker.
This one person was interviewing for a general manager position. While shaking my hand before the interview began, he said, ‘I’ll have your job someday.’ I offered him a ops supervisor position instead. He took it, but he didn’t last long.
Finally, the cardinal sin of interview behavior. I’ve seen this too often to recall all of them, but it’s when the interviewee complains about their previous employer being an idiot or bigot. It still makes me cringe every time.”
Not Cut Out For A Corporate Environment
“I work in a corporate office environment. I had someone come into an interview wearing red Ferrari Pumas, skinny light jeans and an Abercrombie hoodie with fur on the collar. He wouldn’t look at me, he kept looking at the ceiling.
During the interview, I asked him what he knew about the company. He said, ‘To be honest, nothing. I saw the list of jobs posted on a board at my college and applied to all of them.’
Side note: I shouldn’t have let this interview go on any longer, he clearly wasn’t the right fit, but it was my first time interviewing someone and I wanted the practice.
So I replied, ‘You’ve known for two weeks you were coming to this interview and didn’t bother to google us?’
‘No not really, I haven’t had time,’ he said.
This went on for about five more minutes and I ended it abruptly. When I was walking him back to the entrance, he turned to me (here I’m thinking he’s going to shake my hand and thank me or something), and said, ‘Please don’t hire me if the pay is less than $___k per year.’
I replied, ‘I don’t think you have to worry about that.’
Highly Intelligent, Socially Inept
“I participated in the interview process when I left my last company, but I wasn’t the hiring manager. As we sat in the interview with one highly intelligent interviewee (he had a 3.94 GPA in Chemical Engineering!), we quickly realized why he would not be a good candidate.
For one, he decided to pull out this ratty old binder from his broken down backpack (who brings backpacks to interviews anyway?) In that binder, he had a bunch of poetry he wanted to share. Specifically, he wanted us to listen to him read to us his ‘Ode to Benzene.’ For four minutes, all four of us interviewers had to awkwardly sit there as this kid went on and on about benzene.
Then when he started talking about his skills with Excel, he mentioned how he has created a sociability chart. What is this chart, pray tell? Well, he has created some kind of algorithm to measure how social he is per day. If he leaves his room to get a meal, he gets x points for that day. If he speaks to a girl, it’s worth double. He proudly exclaimed how after this interview, since all four of us were female, he would be able to double his sociability score for ‘left the room and spoke for an hour with another human.’
He offered to pull up his laptop to show how his chart has steadily increased in slope over the past few months, kindly explaining that it was in due part to him preparing for this interview. It was then my responsibility to bring this poor boy on a tour of our lab facilities and the office area of the company. The entire time, he had his eyes glued to my chest.
Sadly, he did not get the job. I wish him well in life though, and hopefully someday he can find a girl or employer who loves benzene as much as him.”
“Thank God I Take Copious Notes”
“I was interviewing a candidate for a senior software engineer position. I began to ask him some technical questions. He refused to answer them and said that he felt it was demeaning to be questioned about his skills. I said that unless he was prepared to answer the questions, the interview was over. The interview was over. The weirder thing is that this was a candidate provided by an agency. I told them never to send me a candidate like that again.
Then there was the candidate who had worked for the company in the past. He was extremely arrogant and brushed off questions with: ‘I can do that,’ or ‘I’d be very good at that,’ but could not give any kind of detail about how his experience was relevant. He struck me as the kind of engineer that thought he could do anything but could not, and would have a very hard time taking constructive criticism. A management nightmare in other words.
I rejected him after this phone interview. Then he called HR and complained that I rejected him due to his age. Cue me spending the next week in meetings with HR demonstrating how reasonable my decision was.
Thank God I take copious notes.”
LOVE STORIES AND WANT TO READ MORE LIKE THESE?
Subscribe to our digest and receive a weekly email of hand-picked stories.