Job interviews are stressful and often awful, but sometimes highly amusing for anyone not directly involved. A few weeks ago, I wrote "15 True Tales of Job Interview Embarrassment," and in response, the stories kept rolling in. Here are 15 more tales, making you realize that no matter how bad your last interview was, it wasn't this bad.
You should be assertive, but not this assertive
1. While interviewing and recruiting candidates for a staff accounting position, I was scheduling a quick 15-to-30-minute phone interview. This lady insisted that she come in for a one-hour in-person interview instead. I explained my process and asked whether or not she wanted to schedule a phone interview. Phone interview scheduled.
About 10 minutes before the phone interview, as I was finishing my lunch at my desk, an employee walked into my office and said this woman was wandering around the office asking for me. I asked her who she was, and it turned out she was the job candidate who insisted on the in-person interview.
She sat down at my desk and tried to browse through the papers I had on it. I had to grab them from her and shove them into a drawer. No boundaries; red flag! She then started talking about how she's "the one, the perfect candidate."
That honesty thing gets you every time
2. I was interviewing for my first job after college, and said I planned to stop working after I had kids to be a stay-at-home mom. Yeah, I didn't get that job. I did, in fact, become a stay-at-home mom, after five years with three different companies, but I never mentioned planning to in an interview again.
3. Someone interviewed with us for a receptionist position in a radiology clinic. She had recently been a nursing student, and said she had dropped out, because she wasn't fond of the medical aspect and had a hard time working with people.
4. My husband went on a job interview at a retail store. The interviewer asked if he was optimistic about his future. He blanked and was thinking the question meant the opposite and said no!
5. The candidate had applied for three positions, a finance one as well as two as a case manager. Part way through the interview, after asking us several finance questions, the candidate says, "Wait, is this not for the case manager role?" He then went on to say that his career goal was not to work. Needless to say, we didn't take his application any further.
6. I was interviewing for a senior account manager position in the consumer electronics industry (the industry I've worked in for about 15 years). The interviewer asked a lot of clichÃ©d questions that might have been appropriate for someone fresh out of school. I had already decided that I wasn't interested in working for this person. So when I was asked, "What is your biggest weakness?" I decided to answer truthfully--Oreo cookies. We both got a good chuckle out of that, but I think because it wasn't one of the canned expected responses, I was disqualified. Just as well!
As good a reason as any
7. I was just about to graduate. An excerpt from one of my first interviews (I was really nervous and had no idea what to expect):
Interviewer: Why should we hire you?
Me: Uh ... I live, like, five minutes away.
Lying isn't that great of an idea, either
8. I had an interview for a disability-compliance-specialist position, and in preparation for it, I discovered a website on the topic created by the interviewer. I made a point during the interview of mentioning that I was a fan of the website and had previously used it several times. Later, I learned that the site had just been put up. Needless to say, I did not get the job.
Overthinking is a killer
9. I was at the end of an hourlong interview in which I had to do a 15-minute "micro teach" for a training position. I nailed it, and then this one guy asks, "Do you know what job you're here for?" This totally derailed me. I thought, "Why is he asking me? Does he not know? Did someone screw up?" And then I thought, "Well, I thought I did, but he's asking me, so maybe I'm wrong?" (This was all split-second thinking.) I blurted out, "No." Yeah, I didn't get the job. I tried to recover, but it was too late.
We don't want to know you this well
10. At my last job, my boss and I once interviewed someone for a horticultural technician job, and my boss asked her what her hobbies were. She said she practiced interpretive dance and proceeded to get up from her chair and dance around my boss's office! We were pretty embarrassed for her.
11. We had a candidate cancel the interview at the last minute. Why? He said his wife was ovulating. I'll spare you the details.
About that professionalism
12. After graduation, I managed to score an interview in my field and at a great company. Now, it had been a while since I had worn makeup. On the day of the interview, there was a snowstorm and I was running late. I managed to pull into the parking lot two minutes before my scheduled time. I scurried inside and spoke to the secretary, who ushered me back to the HR manager. I have to say, my interview question-and-answer session went beautifully, and I thought I was a shoo-in for the job. I stopped by the bathroom on my way out, and a quick glance in the mirror revealed that my eyeliner had smeared. I looked like a football player with two black streaks. Two of the job's qualifications were "customer service" and "professional attire."
13. I had brought a young woman in for an interview. She had temped for us before, so she was familiar with our company and had spoken to me in person before, but she still must have been nervous about the interview. I should point out that I am only 5 foot 1, and she (like most people) was a good bit taller than me. Anyway, I went out to greet her and get our interview started. She was sitting in our lobby, and I extended my hand and said something like, "Hi! Nice to see you again." She stood up, shook my hand, looked down at me, and said, "Well, hi there, shorty!"
14. The candidate had done pretty well in the first interview, and I had invited him back for a second interview with my boss. He came across pretty well, but our main concern was his arrogance. After the interview, I walked him downstairs to Reception to sign out and then out to the car park. We have a complicated barrier system in our car park that I needed to explain to any candidates who'd driven to the interview. He shook my hand, and as he was walking away, he'd obviously relaxed and wasn't thinking he was being interviewed anymore. He started being rude about the person who'd parked near him, saying something like, "You'd have to be really stupid to park like that," as the car was a bit close to his. Of course, he didn't think about the fact that he was being rude about one of his possible future colleagues! This comment really went against him when we had to decide between him and another candidate with similar experience who hadn't made any rude comments on exiting the building!
Stupid questions can sometimes come from the candidate
15. A panel of three interviewed a gentleman for a training position within the organization. Panel: "Do you have any questions for us?" Job applicant: "Yes. If you could be any kitchen utensil, what would you be and why?" Awkward silence follows, and the applicant waits for an answer. Panelist A cannot take the silence and pressure and blurts out: "I would be a food processor, because you could use it for so many different things." Panelist B: "I am not answering this question." Panelist C: "Well, I would be a spatula. What would you be?" Job applicant: "I would be a knife!" (He holds up a hand.) The panelists then realized that the applicant was between them and the door. It was awkward and somewhat creepy. The applicant did not get the job.