Interviews can be nerveracking and there’s always some leeway given to candidates because of this. But sometimes, there isn’t any reason to justify someone’s behaviour in an interview.
Hiring managers on Reddit where asked ‘what’s the most strange or cringeworthy thing a potential candidate has said or done during the interview?’ There answers are a mixture of the bizarre, unfortunate and downright hilarious.
Here are 25 Real Examples of What Not To Do At Interview:
When asked about strengths and weaknesses, the candidate replied “I crave KFC and often get myself a bargain bucket.”
I just didn’t know what to say next, let alone whether they considered it a strength or a weakness.
We had a girl come in for an interview who brought her boyfriend. He didn’t wait in the car, he actually wanted to sit in on the interview with her. When I explained that it wasn’t protocol and he’d have to at least wait in the breakroom, he actually got angry at me.
She wasn’t a bad candidate, but I didn’t want to risk anything to do with her boyfriend bleeding into our office.
After a pretty terrible interview for a level 1 helpdesk role:
Me: Is there anything you want to ask us, or anything else you wish to say?
Them: Well, I know the Director. He said he’d look after me. leans back and folds arms
He didn’t get the job, and we advised the Director of his comments.
Me: can you tell me about the gap in 2010-12?
Them: I took time out to work on myself
Me: Ok, so can you tell me why you left you last position?
Them: I was asked to leave, and I have to disclose this, I embezzled from them.
Me: So, did you work on yourself in prison between 2010-2012?
Them: I don’t think that’s important.
Now I google people every single time before I interview them 🙂
I interviewed a leprechaun once.
He was a short, somewhat overweight guy that was of Irish descent, had red hair and a beard. He chose to wear of all things a green suit to the interview.
It was hard to keep a straight face especially when my interviewing partner mentioned a rainbow table (cryptography) and said our code was gold standard and lamented the construction going on at the cloverleaf exit near the office.
The guy showed up to his interview wearing pigtails, chunky club kid shoes, a kilt, striped tights, and a shirt that said “f**k” on it in big block letters. I passed him on to my boss to interview.
Legitimately had someone put ‘Medieval Reenactments’ under qualifications….for an IT role.
Before I had even asked the guy to sit down he said, “Yes, this seems like a nice place to work. When do I start?”
I like confidence in a potential employee but there’s no need to be cocky.
A girl stopped me mid question (she even put her hand up) to ask my starsign. Then the starsign of my significant other. Then she asked me to describe our relationship.
“God told me you would hire me.”
“…..Is this the same resume you showed him?”
Not during the interview, but I had a candidate send me a thank you note from an email address that started “easyskanking420”. This was for a finance position.
Asked a candidate about previous job experience, working for a company that made and sold prosthetic limbs.
“Oh, I was so passionate about it! I just loved it so much that I wanted to run out in the street and cut people’s arms and legs off just so they could experience our product!”
Me: “Tell me about your strengths and areas for improvement”
Her: “pretty good”
Me: “…..and your areas for improvement?”
Her: “not really”.
My first management job in IT, it was around 2001 or so. Hiring a general Windows/Solaris sysadmin. One guy comes in with a HUUUGE backpack. Do the interview, he’s clearly on the spectrum, but I like him OK. Pretty smart, functional. As he’s leaving, I casually ask, “What’s in your bag?” He then explains that it’s mostly O’Reilly books that he brings to all his interviews so he can prove people wrong if he needs to.
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 guys was of Indian heritage, but was born here. I said, “Uh, Mike’s not from the Middle East”. Her in a whisper, “You know what I mean, brown people.” I work for a tech company.
Another guy seems nice during introductions and then I ask my first question. “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 abou 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.”
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 arrives, in she comes and we start with the basics. I then ask a few competency based questions and she starts 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 shit you not, her answer was along the lines of ‘Well I have 2 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 fuck) 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.
We had a manager who did phone interviews. She calls one candidate who answers “oh thank god, an Australian. I’m so sick of speaking to Asian’s”. This manager was Asian :/
“Where do you see yourself in our company in 5 years?”
“Sitting in your chair, doing your job” wasn’t what I was expecting.
Okay I need to add this one, I’m an IT Director, I was hiring an entry level person. I had this one guy come in fresh outta of a correctional institution, he was around 6’6″, 250lbs, ripped muscle wise, half sleeve tattoos on both arms we talked for a little while, he wasn’t a very technical person. He was one of the better ones in the batch, what I mean by that was he was very personable, and friendly, this was 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 meeting and is sober now, offered to have me talk with his sponsor. We can teach him the easy tech stuff’ I then asked him a few situational questions, this is where yea it stumbled.
ME: So you are at a users desk, and 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, please be patient I am working on it.
Me: After 3 minutes the user says “Will you please get someone competent here, I have real work to do.
He is 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, call someone up that can actually fix this, now!”
Him: “I tell the user, to go f**k themselves, and if there is a mother f**king issue, I’ll beat the f**k out of them with their own chair, because they need to understand f**king 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.
When asked about experience with source control software, the guy we interviewed said “I’ve actually written a song about it”, and before we could stop him he started singing it.
I only witnessed this because I’m not a hiring manager, but this dude tried to take his mom in an interview with him. Obviously the guy said “i would like to interview the applicant one on one please” and she threw a fit and stormed out with her son.
Me: So you’re a veteran, I did not see that on your application.
Him: Well the military thought I had a drinking problem, and my drinking thought I had a military problem.
Me: I see, and…
Him:-And I accidentally shot someone.
Me: Okay, thank you for your time.
We were interviewing some people to take on the managerial role for the warehouse, me and the owner. One guy had a somewhat decent interview and as usual we ended up with a bit of small talk afterwards. For some reason we ended up talking about vanity. The guy drops the line “some people really need to realize when they’re going bald and accept it”. The owner of our company has a comb over. The guy realized what he just said as soon as it slipped out of his mouth but it was too late, you could see the regret in his eyes.
He didn’t get the job.
I am currently trying to hire a groundskeeper for the cemetery I manage, and the candidates that have applied have been ridiculous.
Candidate #1- A guy who filled out his application in Spanish and answered all of the interview questions in Spanish, even after I repeatedly told him that I don’t speak Spanish.
Candidate #2- Asked how long it would take to fill out the application, because he had somewhere else to be. I told him he could take it home and bring it back when he’d had a chance to complete it, and he said that was too much work. He filled out his name, address, and telephone number ONLY. No references, no work history.
Candidate #3- This guy told me in great detail how he’s been fired from every job he’s ever had because he has a tendency to leave work whenever he feels like it, because he’s too lazy to work an entire shift.
Candidate #4- Brought me a 14 page resume that had food smeared all over it and the pages were out of order. It was his only copy so I had to make a copy of it for myself. He interrupted our interview to check about 5 voice mail messages and return phone calls while I just sat there.
Candidate #5- Came to the interview in a really dingy, plain white t-shirt that had so much of the sleeves cut off, basically his entire sides were showing and there was an inch of fabric holding the shirt together on each side. He also didn’t fill out any references, and for his work history, he wrote that he was currently a cook at McDonald’s, but didn’t say which one. Didn’t leave a phone number or address. I guess he expected me to call all 6 of the McDonald’s in this town until I found the right one? He also confessed to lying about not being a felon on his application when I mentioned that we do background checks. I told him that being a felon wouldn’t automatically disqualify him, but that if it was theft related, he probably wouldn’t be hired because theft is a huge problem here. He assured me it wasn’t theft related and that it was sooooooo long ago, when he was younger and had grown up a lot since then. He finished the interview by begging me not to do a background check. A quick Google search showed several felony thefts from his previous employer and that it was less than a year ago.
Candidate #6- No work history, only reference is his mother. He couldn’t remember her phone number so he said I could just look it up in the phone book.
Needless to say, we’re still looking.
I had a sales candidate tell me, “I don’t get out of bed for less than $200K USD per year.” I let him stay in bed.