You would think that people who have a job interview would show up at least somewhat prepared. You'd be wrong.
scorpioskillz asked interviewers of Reddit: What's the worst interview you have ever conducted?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
When the prospect doesn't know what a job is.
Had an older gentleman interview. At the end I explained that the background check form is sent to his email and all he has to do is go fill it out. He didn't understand this concept at all, despite me explaining it 4 times. He kept asking me where he would have to take the paper work, I said there is no paperwork it's just a form you fill out online (like our application) & it's all done electronically. He then asked who does it, I told him the company name, & he insisted that somehow our county would need to process the information & how did he do that? I kept telling him, all you do is open the email, click the link, fill it out and click submit. Boom done... he left still confused and said he'd have someone at home explain it.
Crazy enough we did hire this guy and when I called him to schedule his orientation he yelled at me because the 4pm class time was too late, even though I had told him there was also a 9am morning class the next week he could attend. He still kept yelling about how "no one wants to do it that late, we have lives, my day's already started I can't interrupt my day that late." He had no concept that 1. We hire people for 3rd shift jobs or people who already have day jobs and 2. The world does not revolve around your ideal schedule.
To answer a few questions, we were just hiring for very basic warehouse work and if you pass a background your pretty much automatically hired. We were in peak season and desperately needed people so we said f--- it, he's seasonal and will be gone in a month anyway. He did apologize profusely at the end of the phone call and didn't cause any more issues after that phone call, thank god. But I still kept my distance from him.
Had a young gentleman come in, not dressed for the occasion posture was horrible as he was slouched over on the table. The interview committee introduces themselves and give him the chance for an introduction. He just says "Look, I'm going to be real honest. My dad is making me go on interviews or else he's going to stop paying my bills." We continued through the interview and he actually answered questions genuinely but it sucked wasting time on somebody we knew we were not going to give the position.
...WHY continue the interview?
Please answer, I have always wanted to know why the interview goes past the time when there is no way a hire will happen. Just end it for god's sake.
It's a legal thing (at least where I interviewed and hired folks). If you don't go through the same process for each candidate, they can claim discrimination. It's fairly rare to get blatantly bogus job applicants but they're probably the type of people who will be the most litigious if they see an opportunity. Most companies would rather waste an hour of time and wages than pay legal fees and damages to someone who never worked there to begin with.
Had a lady show up and interviewed with her child and husband. I told her she was welcome to let them sit in the lobby while we interviewed, but for some reason she declined. So we did an entire interview while she held a toddler.
Did the kid get the job?
Congratulations, you all get a job, we're a family friendly company.
When punctuality is a foreign concept.
I was interviewing at a hiring event, and had a few people scheduled for interviews that completed the application online and did the pre-screening interview over the phone. For people that did not, they could get stuck there for over an hour waiting to go through the multi-step process, so I took appointment times seriously. I was the only person hiring for my department so anyone applying for anything in housekeeping had to do an interview with me, specifically.
One girl was not on time for her appointment so I started working through the other 6 or so applicants that had already been there 45 minutes. Shortly after I started one interview the girl finally showed up, about 25 minutes late. The woman signing everyone in happened to be the recruitment manager for the region, and the girl that showed up late was rude to her when she wasn't immediately sent to me to interview. The recruitment manager told her that I was with someone and would be available soon, but the girl could not believe how rude we were to "bump" her appointment and not be available for her. She got up to complain to the recruiter several times, called her unprofessional and disorganized, and sh!t like that. So I got done with the interview I was in and the recruitment manager pulled me aside to warn me.
At this point I'm just humoring the girl and planned to do a quick 3-5 minute interview so I could get to better applicants. This girl told me how incompetent the "receptionist" was on our walk to the interview room. I asked the same basic questions I ask everyone and instead of talking herself up she explained that every coworker she ever has is horrible and lazy. She said that as a mother of 2 she's much more organized than other people. She insinuated that I was incompetent at my job for not being able to see her right when she walked in. Like I felt like I had to defend myself during her interview it was so bad. She was a horrible person! Don't know why she thought insulting everyone would get her a job.
Times have changed, mom.
I was interviewing for a junior programmer position. We were looking for someone to train for a cheaper rate.
Kid pretty fresh out of college shows up for the interview with his mom. Now, this is OK. Things happen sometimes. One time a girl's car was in the shop. One time it was over 100° outside and dad asked if he could sit in the lobby. No big deal.
But this mom insisted on going into the interview room with her son. I asked her if she planned to show up to work with him every day for his full shift. She said no so then I told her that I was going to have to interview him alone.
At this, she INSISTED that she go into the interview room with him and she WOULD NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER.
So I responded with, "OK, in that case, this interview is over." The kid got the biggest grin I have ever seen at seeing his mother punished for this sort of behavior. I genuinely hope that he could finally cut the cord and make something out of his life.
Something tells me that was a case of "Johnny I'm going to show you how I got a job when I was your age" only to be met with the realization that getting a job isn't the same as it was 30 years ago.
getting a job isn't the same as it was 30 years ago
Thank you! When I first started interviewing after graduating this year, my parents and I got in a big fight because I planned a week-long trip right after an interview. They said "WHAT IF THEY ASK YOU TO START TOMORROW" and "YoU ArE GoNnA LoOk LaZy"
I was like it's a huge company it's gonna take them a week to decide then another week to process all the licensing paperwork if I'm hired.
Was it leg day?
Man brought his own lunch to an interview because he was into lifting and needed to make sure he ate at certain times. Started eating said meal during interview.
Why would he schedule an interview for a time he knew he would need to eat a meal? It's not like he didn't have advanced notice.
But it also shows he's inflexible and is he going to insist on taking breaks to keep his schedule when other people don't get to do that? He seems like the kind of person who will make it hell on the people who do break relief too, taking his time and throwing off everyone else's schedule.
"Hanging brain" lmao
I was a recruiter at an agency and had a candidate call in and tell me his impressive qualifications on the high-paying job I was trying to fill.
He shows up in a dirty white t-shirt, greasy hair, pants 3 inches too short and the kicker was - the crotch was completely ripped out and his underwear and balls were hanging out. Fastest interview I ever conducted just to give him the courtesy of one.
I sanitized the lobby chair and interview chair.
What's the big deal? He was just hanging brain.
Job interview: Had someone no-show on an interview. They called back a week later to see if they got the job.
Press interview: We had given our main camera operator the day off and our other camera operator showed up five hours late with no notice. Our sound recordist called in sick. I got to conduct one of our highest profile interviews while simultaneously operating camera and sound. Someone accidentally formatted the card minutes later and all the footage was lost.
Get you a comment that can do both.
Job interview: Had someone no-show on an interview. They called back a week later to see if they got the job.
He's just playing hard to get.
I interviewed Avril Lavigne over the phone about her second album. It was an interview for radio. I knew she was trying hard to be the 'Alanis Morisette song-writer' kind of performer. So I launched into a series of questions about her songwriting process: Do you start with lyrics or music? Do you write on piano or guitar? Those kinds of questions. Her response was "It's like, just really like, organic." End of answer. Everything after that was nonsense and yes or no answers to open-ended questions. It was a rough one. Super glad when it was over. Didn't air a single second of it.
This is actually the type of interview I was expecting when I open the thread.
Same! I clicked in thinking about the worst interviews I'd ever read/watched and then the top comment had to do with job interviews. I was like, ohhh those kinds of interviews, but then I read this comment lol.
When you're awesome but only on paper.
I once gave an interview to a guy that had like ten years' worth of programming jobs but couldn't write a single line of code to solve the interview question. It was apparent in about ten minutes that he wasn't going to figure it out, but we either couldn't or wouldn't just cut it short and show him the door.
So how does that work? Like, were his credentials just made up and he foolishly thought he could wing it? Or like he delegated all his coding throughout his career and never got found out? Or he had a brilliant understanding of one particular language but couldn't transfer his ability to learn other languages?
Find a company with a broken enough hiring process, luck out, get a job, perform poorly, get fired, rinse, repeat.
Screw it, I'm drinking.
Not an interviewer but interviewee.
But one time I returned a call for a potential job, and the guy who answered was clearly drunk. He kept forgetting what he was talking about and repeating himself.
Towards the end of the call, this guy actually asked if I had a cigarette. OVER THE PHONE!
I feel like you could have just turned up at the office the next day and told him that he'd hired you over the phone.
A chance to be a yente.
I've had two nightmare interviews.
First one was maybe 20 years ago, and it was for a professional job. I asked why the guy had recently moved from one city to this one recently. He started off stating that he moved here because his partner got a job here. Shortly after, he got really emotional and started crying (I mean breakdown-type crying). He told me he and his partner had recently broken up with him, and was whoring around with other people. He told me all kinds of sordid details about the breakup, how unfair it was and how he wanted to just kill his ex. Next!
Second one was for an administrative role in another company. The interviewee came in wearing high heels, short shorts, a cotton tank top and no bra. Rather than sit across the table from me, she pulled up her chair next to mine and kept touching my hands and leg as she answered a few questions... all the while leaning towards me showing me her tits. I tried to end the interview, but she wouldn't easily end it. I excused myself after a few minutes and asked the general manager to go back into the conference room and ask her to leave. She proceeded to tell him to "F-off" and that she didn't want to work for this crappy company anyway.
Moral of the story is when on an interview, talk business... nothing else.
Sounds like you should introduce the guy from the first story to the girl in the second story.
Great plan, not.
She had a pretty middle of the road resume with 2 years of relevant experience. I reviewed the notes for her first interview with HR which basically said that she was polite but nervous. I was conducting the technical interview.
I started off by establishing that she had done well in the first interview to try to alleviate some of her stress. She argued with me, insisting that it had not gone well. Whatever, maybe that's how she's expressing anxiety. I moved on, trying to boost confidence by handing her a softball question. I presented a simple problem that was exactly tailored to the type of work she had been doing with a platform that I was familiar with. It was the type of problem that you would almost certainly experience multiple times if you had worked with this product for a short amount of time. She accused me of sexism for questioning her resume (which is the literal function of an interview) and refused to acknowledge the question.
At that point, I offered her some coffee, and stepped out to call HR, legal, and security. I assumed that she was a litigious predator looking to sue a company for discrimination, so we had security escort her from the building as HR observed, and legal immediately took possession of my notes and audio recording. Sure enough, she sued. Her case was dismissed, she appealed, and it was dismissed again. Then, she sued me personally and her case was dismissed.
Why even have the interview?
A girl who gave one word answers. She got the job because the director knew her.
This right here is absolutley what is wrong with the hiring process. A person who potentially could've been very qualified gets no shot just because the director knew this girl, and as a result, could give less of a sh*t, and still gets the job anyway. As long as you know someone within the company it doesn't seem to matter. This is how people get screwed over.
Angry belligerent guy, wouldn't sit up straight in his chair, one word answers, answered a call and text messages during interview.
CRIED when we said no.
What was the job for?
Sounds like the perfect candidate for warehouse work. Angry and belligerent.
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.