Savvy Professionals Share Why They Decided Not To Take The Job During The Interview
As someone looking for a job, you should know that you are interviewing the prospective employer just as much as they are interviewing you. These people reveal what made them steer clear of these potential jobs.
What happened during a job interview that made you not want the job?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
50. Contracts are importantGiphy
English teacher looking for a position. Second interview went well, interviewers said they wanted me to be on their team and that they would set up an appointment to sign the contract by the following Monday. I called to check in on Wednesday and was told that I would receive a call by Friday. Called on Friday afternoon and was told that the person responsible would be calling me back that afternoon.
The following morning, received a phone call from the principal checking in on whether or not HR had been in touch. He promised to "light a fire under them." I started interviewing elsewhere as back up. After three weeks of this kind of back and forth I let them know I had accepted a different position, one which had passed me a contract to sign ten minutes after the interview.
49. When there is nothing to hideGiphy
Shady dude was the only person there in literally an empty storefront (job was for computer repair). We actually sort of hit it off, got into a long discussion about music production and he actually burned me a couple of cds of pirated software for my studio.
Then he explained that the job was really crap and I should find something else. Found out later that the whole business was a scam and he embezzled a bunch of money and ran off without paying his employees. Dude must have genuinely liked me so he didn't hire me.
48. Late is never goodGiphy
When i had a interview at 8:30, but they didn't call me in until 9:30
47. When everyone is quittingGiphy
Did an on the job interview with a security/ locksmith company. Interviewer got a phone call from his boss and they got into a huge argument and he quit right in the middle of the job/interview. I just kinda went home and pretended it never happened.
46. When the ad doesn't match the jobGiphy
Was interviewing for a management position, they said that I first had to work an "amount of time" as a rep. On a rather low pay.
Yeah ... don't advertise a management position if it's basically a ploy to get cheap reps.
45. How tacky!Giphy
When the interviewer double booked and insist she interview us together, then proceeded to compare our answers in real time, in front of the other candidate. When she called me three weeks later, outside of work hours, to offer me the job she seemed genuinely surprised at my refusal!
44. Is this job even open?
Interviewing for a position as an advisor for a financial firm. The manager then gave me the floor for questions:
Me: "Is this a new role or am I replacing someone?"
Interviewer: "Well we had three advisors in this department and I laid off two of them, because I felt we were overstaffed. You would be the replacement"
Me, thinking in my head: "Ok I think we're done here"
43. Bye FeliciaGiphy
When we got to salary negotiations, and they literally wanted to give me HALF of what I was expecting.
42. When you have connectionsGiphy
My interviewer turned out to be a former co-worker from a previous job. Great dude, we always got along. Ten minutes into the interview he leans forward and quietly says, "the job's yours if you want it, but you don't want it. Trust me." I did trust him. I thanked him and left..
41. When the interview makes you feel grossGiphy
I discovered I was being pitched a job as a life insurance salesman for the purpose of taking old people's money.
I felt gross just being there.
40. When you get the job but never startGiphy
They called me to tell me they were going to offer me the job, but I needed to talk to HR. Then I got bounced around for a couple of months, where HR, the department hiring me, and the finance department kept giving me a start date and then pushing it back.
39. Red flagsGiphy
"I suppose, if you put it that way, we are getting our initial site data by violating several US antihacking laws."
38. When you aren't really sureGiphy
I walked into the interview with no real idea what the job actually was. I walked out of the interview with no real idea what the job actually was.
To this day, I still don't know what that job was.
37. When overtime is not paidGiphy
Them: How much overtime are you willing to work?
Me: As much as you're willing to pay me for.
Them: Well, we don't pay for overtime.
Me: You are legally obligated to compensate me for overtime.
Them: Well, it won't be much, but, are you willing to put in extra hours? What kind of compensation would you be looking for.
Me: Cash. And for you to have this system worked out already. I'm out.
36. Way to sell the job...Giphy
Engineer '09 grad, applied to work as an engineer for a coal mine. They took us for a underground tour, essentially making sure nobody freaked out. One of the guys who had been there a long time was leading us... with a bad limp i might add and said "its not if you will be hurt, but when and how bad" this wasn't very long after a safety meeting talking about a guy crushed himself operating heavy equipment at another site a few days before.
35. Sometimes the signs are clearGiphy
I always get a few questions in myself, and I always ask the person who would be my boss, "What do you like about your job?" One time, my future boss said "I don't really like my job" and went on to explain why he didn't like being a manager in the company. That was the end of me wanting to be his employee.
34. When they don't tell the truth
I've had multiple places blatantly lie about their compensation and benefits up until the actual interview. Last time I was job searching I think I walked out on three places.
They told me that I couldn't use the bathroom whenever I wanted and most people end up with incontinence.
32. What happens behind closed doors...Giphy
The boss passed by, came in to say hi and shake my hand, which left a good impression on me. Not even 30 seconds later I could hear him screaming and chewing out one of the employees in another room and slam a door.
It immediately reminded me of this old SNL sketch.
31. Hiding something?Giphy
They made a big reassurement that what they did in the business wasn't illegal
30. Back in September....
I'm in college so I was looking for a job while I was home for this summer, and I applied at Target. They called me and asked a few questions, one of them was when I was going back to school. I told them the last week of August, and they said they couldn't hire me because I couldn't work through the first week of September, which is really busy for them. I was somewhat upset but it wasn't that big of a deal for me. I moved on and applied to a few other places. A few weeks later they called me and said they looked at my application again and they changed their mind and invited me in for an interview. I was excited and I was glad that I had a second chance. I go in and everything in the interview was going well.
They finally asked when I was going back to school, which was weird to me because they already asked me that before. I told them the first week of August. Then the interviewer said that they couldn't hire me because I wouldn't be there for the first week of September. I asked why they even called me in and I explained what happened. The interviewer said that she had no idea that they called me before.
I was very upset that they wasted my time like that. natethegreat34
29. Duck and Cover....
I'm an accountant. I walked into this company for a job interview and knew something was off. It was on the 40th floor in downtown San Francisco. Had like 6 offices. Had 2 corner offices. Had A section of the office had 10 cubicles. Had a boardroom that can seat 14.
Unfortunately had no employees. Just like 4. The "president" was an expert in his field. At one time. Now he's old and should have been in a nursing home. He had 3 "secretaries." These people were supposed to be servicing over 300 clients money. How ? Something was fishy as hell.
Turned out later I learn from someone that he was stealing money to finance his lifestyle. Which at one point was extravagant but he was at the tail end of his scam. He was borrowing money to keep it up. He was being investigated by the IRS (someone blew the whistle) but IRS never followed up until someone reported him because he was essentially running a money management firm without a license.
Then it all came down. By then, he was so old he couldn't stand trail. His secretaries pleaded "we didn't know" and been bleeding him dry by making him sign random stuff. He died one day. It was sad. He got away with everything. Stealing from people who most likely were stealing money from someone, may it be shady sources of money to ripping off the taxpayer.
I did dodge a bullet. Reddit
28. Telemarketing Biblically....
After college, I was desperate for a job and threw my resume everywhere.I got a call for a company and I thought it was a graphic design position (I majored in history but had a knack for graphic design, so I was amazed I got a call.)
Well, I got there and was immediately told it was a Christian telemarketing company and I'd be a telemarketer making commission. I said the position was clearly for graphic design and the woman told me it was to "draw potentially talented candidates in." They showed me a list of all the charities they telemarket for and I recognized none of them. They weren't religious either. They wouldn't let me take home anything that said charity names on them, but I memorized a few and couldn't find anything about these "charities" when I looked them up at home.
I tried to be as polite as possible through the 2 hour ordeal which had me shadowing a telemarketer, who told me that elderly people were the best to get money out of.
I have absolutely no idea why they kept pitching they were a Christian company when what they were doing was so un-Biblical, but I digress.
It's been 5 years since I interviewed there. I happened to go by the building a few months ago and it's now a medical center. I wonder what happened.... ArtByKC
27. I'm Desperate....
I prepared for an interview a few weeks ago, worked on what to say for a couple of days and as usual got pretty worked up and nervous beforehand. I go to the interview where the guy sits me down and tells me this is nothing more than just a quick informal chat (and here's me in a full suit sweating my butt off having prepared 100 questions/answers in my head)
He then proceeds to say that I'm not suitable for the job I have applied for, he thinks I'm overqualified, but he is thinking about creating a different position in the company I can fill. I ask what the position is, he rambles for a good 20 minutes straight (no joke) about me filling a new job but the job doesn't yet have a training scheme or any kind of official description/documentation. He wants me, as part of the job, to create the job's training scheme for the job I'm literally learning to do.
I'm sat there confused as hell, he hasn't got any notes with him and is just improvising this entire 'job description' where I, as a fresh graduate, am in charge of 38 people's IT systems on my own with no proper experience. I ask what the pay and hours are, "oh, I haven't even thought about that yet."
So I went for an interview that wasn't even a proper interview or related to the job I'd applied for. Such a waste of time. Toby95
26. Sorry Ron....Giphy
Applied for a job in Clearwater, FL. In-person interview was normal enough got passed through to a secondary interview. At the start of the secondary was asked to take some tests. I think no big deal, been there done that with other jobs. They hand me a book sized stack of papers with hundreds of questions. I look down at the bottom of the sheet and in small print it stated that this test was created based on the concepts of L. Ron Hubbard and printed by The Church of Scientology..... I stood up... put the stack back on the ladies desk and noped the heck right out of there. elusivegroove
25. Out I go!
You've had a lot of jobs. Yes. They were temp jobs. But why so many. They were with the same agency. But why do you leave them after a short time? Because they were temporary assignments? I don't understand. How do I know you won't leave here? Because I won't be working here.. goodbye. Thick as s**t. Reddit
24. Just Hang Up!
I had a phone interview with a company that bragged about having an on-site doctor. To me that meant 1 of two things.
- it was so stressful to work there they had a doctor on site for liability.
- if I needed a sick day I would be expected to see that doctor instead of my own.
I ended the interview right there. click_baiter
23. Life Ain't Free....
"Oh, we won't be paying you during your probation, which is about 3 months."
And this was an entry level job. rolling_inthederp
Oh ok no problem, i wont be working during my probation. Rationalbacon
22. Being Hunted isn't the best!
Being headhunted from my then current job as a manager in a small but busy and successful café to work for this large, posh hotel.
They phoned me and said that they had found my stored CV online (which I hadn't removed since finding employment) and that one of their board members had been impressed with me as a customer in the café. They offered me an interview and a job with potential to move up etc and that I'd be starting as the restaurant manager on great pay, benefits etc.
It sounded great and being quite pleased that I had just been headhunted for the first time, I went along to the interview which was within the restaurant I'd potentially be working. I turn up in my best suit and this guy comes to interview me wearing jeans and a polo shirt.
Very shortly into the suspiciously informal interview, the guy says to me "look the job is yours, I can get you a uniform and you can start whenever suits." At this point I'm like what do you mean uniform and he points out the waiters and waitresses walking about in pinstripe shirts with huge long aprons. I asked what he meant I was asked to come here because of my managerial experience etc. Guy replies yes potentially in the near future but you'd have to start out on the floor first.
I thanked him and went home. Told my boss about it and he gave me a raise. When I left that job around a year later, he put an extra £250 cash in with my wages and threw a leaving party in the café for me. Told me to invite all my friends and family and it was a free bar all day and night. Best boss ever. So glad to have worked for him. GrumpyBake
21. Out before it's too late....
I applied for the job because someone told me the manager was awesome, during the interview she mentioned that moving to the south was hard on her husband's health (humid air and bad lungs) and that they really missed home.
I had a feeling I'd be getting a new boss as soon as I started, and that's almost always a bad thing. I was right, she left 3 months later, and I heard the new boss was heinous. Spikito1
20. Frankly my Dear....Giphy
The guy interviewing me kept calling me Frank and he wouldn't stop. -brightlights-
If you didn't say "well, to be frank, I don't want this job anymore!" before you left, frankly, you missed out. legitimatelynonrobot
Interviewed for a faculty position at a prestigious university on the east coast and was supposed to interview with the Department Chair. I had to wait outside his office because my interview was delayed by 15 minutes while he ripped apart this other professor over some billing issues. When I finally walked in, he asked who I was and then why I wanted a job in his department. I should have stood up and walked out at that point, but figured I'd be polite and finish up the afternoon. Went out that night and had a nice dinner and got drunk by myself on their tab. I ultimately got the job offer but turned it down. contraphd
18. ok... byeeeeee
Was out of work, this was during a phone screen:
Me: "I'm sorry that salary is significantly less than what I was making previously."
Her: laughing "Well, it is more than you are making now, so..." FakeNewsfortheWin
Applied to a bartending position at a new club, the guy's second club.
Strike one: when he said it was an unpaid position, just whatever tips were made.
Strike two: he told me that the bartenders at his other club had done the dance from coyote ugly to earn the bar more money. He asked me what lengths I was willing to go to to drive sales.
A third strike was unnecessary. LaSwanduh
16. Goes Both Ways!
Just happened yesterday.
"We want someone who can be committed to this job for a year or longer. It is part-time and you will get hours as we have demand. You can eventually get full time. We just had someone who has been here for three years become full time."
WTF? You want me to commit to you but you will not commit to me? I was also told they are in dire need to fill this position. I should be receiving an offer today. Christiphis
15. No Kids!
All went well until the male interviewer turned around and asked Me- "kinda hoping kids aren't on the cards for you, I'm sick of you girls pulling maternity crap!" PotatoPixie90210
14. Pack my tools....
In welding jobs, you do a job interview, then take a welding skills test. I was taking the test and current employees came up periodically, introduced themselves to me talked to me a little. They all said pretty much the same thing. It's a s**t show in there. I was skeptical at first but I witnessed a father and son get into a super heated argument during my test. I packed up my tools and thanked the owner for the opportunity, and explained why I was declining the job and left. LasagnaFarts92
13. A Strong Woman Wins!
I went to an interview for a machinist position. In a machine shop. I am a journeyman machinist. The guy didn't expect a lady machinist as someone else had called me to come and interview. He asked if I'd like to sell dietary supplements with his wife instead. Wtf? Ummm noooooo. Reddit
12. Panera for the Win!
First job interview out of college and it was for an account manager job that clearly said it was an office job where you make some cold calls, keep customer happy, etc. Show up in a suit and tie and as I'm sitting in the lobby another guy shows up interviewing for the job as well. The lady then decided to take us to Panera and interviews both of us at the same time. She then starts going on about the job saying it's best to wear shorts and comfortable shoes since we will be going door to door 6 days a week, 8am-8pm trying to get people to switch their gas and electric provider.
After she said that I kind of tuned out and stopped caring what she said. As soon as we got back to the office parking lot she wanted us to come in and explain how after all this work we can end up being district managers making 80k and all this other bull crap. I instead said no thank you, went to my car and drove off depressed that I fell for that scam. MrHimp1990
11. You Better WERK!
It was doing a corporate, behind-the-scenes kind of role for a shoe company. I wore their shoes (I had some in the back of my closet) and a corporate looking simple black black dress and black jacket. This is important to note for later - I didn't look offensive, I looked respectable for the role I was applying to, and the outfit showed their shoes.
So I get into my interview, it's with a brother and a sister who control the brand since their granddad passed it down to them. We go through the normal questions, I pull up some numbers and campaigns they've run and discuss it with them as well as a vision for their future.
Then out of nowhere, the brother says, "but you're not a FASHIONISTA!" He practically spits out the last word. I'm really taken aback, because I don't need to be in the role I applied for. "You don't have a fashion blog, how can you understand fashion?" and then he goes on a mini rant about how can I possibly understand their brand.
I knew it had tanked at this point, and it wasn't an industry I normally work in so I took a risk and decided to burn future bridges. I took one of my pumps off and waved it in there. "What is this thing?!" I said dramatically. "Does it belong on my feet? I don't understand, is it feet clothes?"
His sister tried deescalating the situation at that point but it was done.
I have never, ever done anything like that. Lots of other interviews have passed me where we both knew it wasn't the right fit but we've always gone through the motions. I checked in a few months later. They promoted one of their shoe designers to the role. The brand is not doing well. AOLchatparty1999
10. Not Three Pennies More....
Graduated college with a teaching degree and a bunch of video production experience (shot college events, cut them into presentations and posterity videos, ran the college television station, etc.).
Interviewed with my state teachers union association. They posted an ad in the paper looking for someone to cover their events; drive to the capital, film the event, interview attendees, bring the footage back, cut it into three different videos: one for internal use, one for TV and one for the website. Also write articles for the website about said event. 3-5 days a week job, 7 hours a day, most weekends. Oh, and the capital is at least an hour and a half drive from here.
This interview goes on for an hour. Finally it's question time. I asked if there would be benefits. She laughed. I asked about salary. She stifles a laugh. Then she says, "We were thinking three hundred."
That number rolls around my head. There's no way she said three hundred.
That triggered the laugh.
"No! No, maybe three hundred a month?"
Will you cover expenses? Driving, hotels, editing equipment, filming equipment?
"We figured you'd bring that stuff from home."
I stood up, looked her dead in the face and said, "You have wasted an hour of my time."
I walked out to the sounds of her hemming and hawing about maybe bumping it up to three-fifty. ComicSal
9. 18 & Up?
When a few years ago, the interviewer asked repeatedly when exactly I was going to turn 18. Really sealed the deal when 20 minutes after I left he called again, just to confirm, exactly when I would turn 18. budapestgirl
8. School Scam...Giphy
Went in for what I thought was a low level IT job with some on the job training. Turned out to be an overpriced A+ Certification Course that essentially gave you a one week paid internship at the end so they could justify calling it a "Job" and advertise on job sites. DONT_PM_ME_BREASTS
7. Family First....
Now I grew up in a small town in nowhere Montana, so I was prepared for the reality. The job I was applying for was in an extremely isolated area I had never been to before. The interviewer told me straight up it would take years to be accepted into the town. He also asked about what church we would be interested in seeing on the tour. That was when reality set in about what I was stepping into. The job itself was great, but I couldn't put my family into that situation. DarrenEdwards
6. Don't Ask....
Not me, but a friend.
I guess this won't translate well for many people, so the background is: We live in a country where you are not allowed to ask about family planning during a hiring process, as this is considered discriminatory. Family planning is not supposed to be taken into account when hiring (the same way as you cannot chose to hire someone based on religion, sexuality etc.)
My friend was asked if she was planning on having a baby. Even though she needed a job she didn't want to work for them after that. (Ironically this was an auditing firm which exists to ensure that other companies follow legislation, yet they failed to do so themselves in the hiring process.) lolitrusa
I mentored a student during his degree as part of an Alumni program. This fellow is destined for great things, off-the-chart smart, and keen to immerse in his industry. He tells me about an interview he went to with a large, well known pharmaceutical firm to get more lab experience - he ended up being accepted to Cambridge for his PhD - and he was left in a room on his own for over an hour (there was a short questionnaire he'd completed fairly quickly) and no one came to get him. Apparently, they forgot he was there. Needless to say that he declined their generous offer to join their team. geekpeeps
4. Family Craziness....
I had a family owned chiropractic business interview me. And while they're having me small talk about myself I mentioned my daughter. And they asked about her dad and I implied I was a single mother and their response was "yeah, so we're a heavily Christian based organization so we will be looking elsewhere." I was so taken aback I just left and didn't realize it was illegal until after when I called my friend who hires people for a living! A**holes. I wouldn't have wanted to work for them anyway. I had to agree to morning prayer circles and crap. It was so weird. pschlick
3. It's A Sign!
They had me speak with two people separately and they both asked me what my horoscope sign is and then they said that if they wanted to move forward with me they would invite me to a dinner to see how I fared.
I'm sorry, but, an employer who is going to care about the stereotypes of what your horoscope signs are is bullcrap. cookofthesea
2. Stay Alert...
I had an interview a couple of days ago, at a smallish local bank - 12 branches, they do about 1.5b in business a year, so it's a legit company. I had a feeling I might be a little overqualified but applied anyway, and part of the application was a salary requirement. I got an email asking for my availability to come in for an interview, and replied with my availability, but suggested a quick phone interview first to make sure we're on the same page and not waste anyone's time since I'm already employed.
They didn't want to bother with that and we scheduled a time. I met with the director of the department I'd be working in, and the interview went very well. Then I sat down with the director of HR, and that interview went very well as well, until she mentioned the salary requirements I'd put in the application and asked if it was "some pie in the sky number," which I'm pretty sure I actually laughed at, and informed her that was the number at which I would start thinking about leaving my current job. Lady, did you not look at my resume before you asked that question? I don't expect a follow up with them.
Don't ask for a salary requirement in an application if you're not going to pay any attention to it when you bring people in for an interview. MonkeySherm
1. Y'all a Hot Mess!Giphy
I was interviewing for a teaching job. They did the interview in a closet room next to the gym where kids were screaming/playing basketball outside. It was so distracting. The principal came in and out of the room about 5 times and would jump into the conversation without any context. They asked me redundant questions and forgot which position I was being interview for. They also wrote and underlined specific answers that I gave that were obviously not what they wanted to hear. The entire thing was so disorganized and if I hadn't needed a job I would have walked out. little_cranberry5
Minimum wage is often paid by some of the most physically and emotionally intensive work—service industry jobs. Having to work in a hot kitchen all day or deal with irate customers while being paid less than you need to survive is not exactly the best situation to be in.