You can Google lists of red flags for job hunters, but nothing beats actual stories. Some hiring managers really need a good dose of training before they are allowed anywhere near job candidates. Of course, we should be grateful some of them are so unintentionally honest about how awful they are to work for.

A data scientist tweeted this:

And boy, did people respond! I've chosen 25 of my favorite responses, but if you have time, go read the whole thread. It's hilarious, frightening, and worth your time.

  1. Captain Awkward: Potential boss's office was a mess--overflowing with clutter. He offered to take my nice expensive wool professional-lady coat from me, looked around, realized he had no place to hang it, so he balled it up and put it under his chair. And then sat down and started asking ?.
  2. Independent Commentary from a Patriot: ...the "boss to be" tells me "you'll like living here in Birmingham, we have nice housing that is far from the black folk...." I told him I don't want to work for a racist company, got up and left.....
  3. Janet Lunde: Spoke one-on-one to 5 interviewers. None knew I'd be there or had my resume. Each interviewer asked me how I handle someone who is so technically valuable that you can't fire them, but they're an asshole.
  4. Chad and Kisstopher: "We offer flex time." "Great. How flexible?" "Everyone works 9 am to 6 pm, that's the core 40. We're flexible about how you choose the other 20 each week." (Salary: $35,000, PhD required)
  5. Jessica M.H. Smith: "We're looking for someone who can stay a while. Are you planning on having kids?"
  6. Brittany Sutherland: Lab tech interview: PI's 2nd question was whether or not I was pregnant. Toxoplasma lab, so maybe the one time that question wasn't insta-illegal? However, the second he was out of the room, his female Postdoc and grad students were like, "Run." So I left before he came back.
  7. Nicholas T McDowell: The recruiter for the staffing firm asked me to change my resume to put down experience I didn't have. Then he called me every two hours to see if I had done it. Then I blocked his phone #.
  8. EmlpsaLoquitur: "Yeah, most of the other attorneys in the office are guys, but I'm sure you [a young, female attorney] would be welcome to eat lunch with the other office ladies" (i.e., admins and paralegals).
  9. Mark Hoffarth: The person assigned to escort me around for the day talked to me at length about how they regret their decisions in life and are looking to get out of the company/industry.
  10. BMatthew: Me: My Dad is sick, and I want to see him a few more times before anything happens to him. Interviewer: Oh well we really need someone who won't be distracted..... I just shot him a look, grabbed my bag and walked right out.
  11. DrSleeps: I was asked to write a haiku about myself.
  12. Uppity Cancer Pt: Statement after interview by interviewer: "If I were going to have a mistress, you would be the kind of mistress I would want." Company was lucky I was so young and afraid at the time, because that says lawsuit.
  13. lynn boyden (she/her): Interviewed for a UX research job, was told I asked too many questions "like you were interviewing us!" and was too comfortable interviewing to be considered for a job that requires one to interview people.
  14. Kagan MacTane: "Suppose you were trying to send email, but your company's mail servers had been put on various blackhole lists. How would you get around that and deliver the mail anyway?" "That's a... very odd hypothetical." "Oh, it's not that hypothetical for us."
  15. Bad Wolf: Asked about insurance and his response was "well now, we let the gals get their insurance through their husbands' jobs." Grabbed my shit, thanked him for his time and said not interested.
  16. RJK: I asked, "Can you tell me about the organizational culture?" He said, "The person who had the job previously quit and filed suit against the manager you would be working for." He paused then said, "Otherwise, it's fine."
  17. Prof Gina Neff: "What will your husband do if we hire you?"
  18. Mark Samberg: "This sample lesson plan was very hands-on. Our kids prefer not to do hands-on activities." "It's going to be hard to be successful here if you're that cheerful all the time."
  19. Amber Sauer, MEd, PHR: Listed several speaking gigs on my resume. Hiring mgr said "So were you the coordinating admin on these?" Uh, no. It says right there I was the keynote speaker. Him: "I'm not so sure about that." I ended the interview right there.
  20. JustaWoman: A professional job where they were adamant that you couldn't come in a minute after 8am. Hello, no sir.
  21. Rena K. Stone: "I'd like you to have more experience and a better GPA, but I need a Hispanic on staff."
  22. Jamie L. Palmer, PhD: I interviewed for a statistical analyst position. They told me that I was the most qualified but they were concerned that bringing in another woman (they had one for the whole firm) would change the dynamic they had. They said she was special & knew how to take a joke.
  23. Max Dubler: After discussing the job and my qualifications, the interviewer helpfully explained that as a contractor, I would absolutely not work my way toward a full-time job with the company because they only hire people for a year at a time to keep costs down.
  24. Amanda Nevius: Me, when finally left alone with those who would be at my level: "What do you like best about working here?" Them: *stare at each other, the most extroverted finally speaks*: "Lunch break."
  25. Apple of Sodom: "Do you have any trouble working for a woman?" --the CEO. She was of standard height, and I'm a 6'2 man, so I should have said: "As long as I'm taller, it's fine."

Have you had any red flags waved in a job interview? Send them to or join me on Facebook to discuss them.