From falling sleep prior and during the interview, to coming up with ridiculous excuses for being late or not showing up at all, employers share the worst way a candidate messed up their job interview.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
Three Red Flags, And You’re Out!
Then she gave us ‘advice’ for asking better questions that won’t scare away good nannies. That was the second red flag.
After concluding the increasingly awkward interview, she proceeded to randomly open closed doors to look into rooms of our home on the way out. That was the third red flag.”
Pulling The Besties Card
“Several years ago, I was the head of a department at a small company. As such, my boss and I were both there for any hiring interviews conducted for my department.
One particular interview stands out in my mind. Halfway through the interview, my boss left for a few minutes to take a phone call.
While he was gone, I asked the candidate if she had any questions for me. She immediately tried to pull a besties schtick and asked things like, ‘Do they block any websites on the computers here? Like, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc.?’ ‘You can text and use messenger when he’s (my boss) not around, right?’ and my personal favorite, ‘How much time do you have to spend working?’
Despite introducing myself, I think she assumed I was an assistant. At the time, I looked quite young for my age. When my boss came back, we politely wrapped up the interview. She did not get a call back from us.”
Clients Are Like Children
“Back in the day, I worked for a non-profit organization that helped adults with developmental disabilities. Not my personal passion, but a job’s a job, right? Almost everyone else was there because it was a personal passion, and I learned the basic etiquette of social work and dealing with clients.
Anyway, I got promoted to a higher position and had to hire my replacement. The executive director and I conducted interviews. Some were bad candidates, some were awkward, but one.
Boss: ‘Do you have any experience working with adults with developmental disabilities?’
Candidate: ‘Yes. My last job involved providing services at a group home.’
Boss: ‘Great! What did you like about it?’
Candidate: ‘I loved working with the clients. They are like little children!’
OK, on the list of serious ‘no-no’s, calling the clients ‘children’ or comparing them to children is a big faux pas.
My boss got quiet, his posture changed, his expression darkened. The candidate had no clue. My boss started speeding through the interview questions after that.
Boss: ‘What would you describe as your biggest weakness?’
Candidate: ‘Oh, I don’t have any.’
Boss: ‘Why should we hire you over other candidates?’
Candidate: ‘I am the best candidate. I am hard working and the right person.’
Boss: ‘Do you have any questions for us?’
Boss: ‘Thank you for coming in. Goodbye.'”
Too Pushy, Too Unprofessional
“So I work for a cabinet company. A while back we were looking for an account manager to work on a mix of design and pricing projects. One of the applicants we got was a guy in Canada, now we aren’t a big company so I thought it was weird to get an out of country applicant.
We decided to call him for a phone interview out of curiosity and hand this information to HR. As it turned out his fiance was living in our city which is why he applied. HR reported that he seemed normal and we scheduled an in person for the next time he is in town.
So, we came to the day of the interview. This bit I got from the front desk person so I didn’t witness it personally. Apparently, the guy came into the office with his fiancee and told her to wait in the lobby for him. She had given him a ride, I guess? But she refused to make eye contact with the front desk girl or make conversation with her at all.
He got shown to the interview room, and the front desk person let us know he was there. The interview is conducted by our HR person, the department manager, and me as the trainer. The three of us walked in with me last in line. He jumped around the two women to shake my hand first and barely acknowledged the other two in the room. So, red flag one.
As the interview proceeded, he began to do a couple of things. One, he asked how long it will be before he took the department manager’s job. Two, he began to bash our product for not being the same as what he was used to. And three started explaining all the things we would be required to do to sponsor his visa. What is normally a 45-minute interview process took about 15 before we ended it.
He kept calling about once a week for two months asking when we were going to be starting his visa sponsorship.”
Representations Of Her Many Personalities
“A long time ago, I worked as a supervisor in a theme park. We were interviewing people to work as face painters- people who would be working with children and guests and would be expected to be a little more personable than your typical gift shop clerk.
Part of the interview process was that the interviewee would need to bring in an art portfolio to prove they could in fact draw.
This girl brought in a HUGE binder, just bulging with art. Good art too! Oils, chalk, charcoal, pen, Prisma, and watercolor. She had it all and in spades.
The issue? They were all of her. Every single one. I get it, self-portraits aren’t unusual for an artist. But this was something of an obsessive caliber. No trees, skulls, flowers, swirly dos or ‘Doctor Who’ fanart. It was just her face, 1,000 times over.
Her spoken interview was fairly narcissistic too. She told us proudly she worked better alone and hated to socialize. Maybe she forgot what job she was trying to apply for?
I decided if I saw ONE piece of art that was not of her, I would hire her. She was talented. As I was going through her artwork, I found this at the bottom of the stack: A drawing of a whole group of people! Differently colored, faceless silhouettes of what must have been her friends.
Or so I thought until she corrected me. They were all just representations of her different personalities.
Much to my bosses dismay, I didn’t hire her.”