Everyone who interviews potential employees has a job interview story to tell. Like the man who asked me if the reason that he didn't get the sales manager's job was because he was a recovering alcoholic - on the wagon for over two years. The question followed an interview during which he reeked so much of booze that I could hardly sit in the same room.
Or, the woman who ordered two coffees and a dessert to go - and charged them to my company - following our lunch interview, so she wouldn't "get hungry on her way home." Or, the guy who looked at his watch repeatedly during our interview, and excused himself by saying that he had somewhere important to go following the interview. Yes, you have a job interview story to tell. Share your favorite job interview story.
- Your Favorite Interview Questions
- Your Favorite Questions and Answers From Your Candidates
- Readers respond to additional questions and share their workplace stories.
It's in the past, but worth sharing
- After recently graduating my MBA program I landed a job interview at a major telecommunications company. I was well prepared with great facts, questions, conversation pieces and felt I was in the mindset/ attitude to make my dreams comes true. This can not happen, no matter how well you fit in, and qualify when the interviewer, your potential boss is having obvious physical stomach pains from hunger, gas, or food poisoning - and they proceed to roll up and tightly, violently grip your resume to hold on to their "decency" in the interview, right there in front of you. Almost desperate for work in this economy, I did not mention it, and graciously finished the interview. For darned sake, she twisted, rolled up, and crumpled my resume right in front of me. I'll never forget how blatantly disrespectful that was. She could have excused herself. I was down on myself for awhile after thinking why I deserved that treatment. Now I am over it and have confidence I deserved better. Their loss.
- —Guest T'd Off
- Best advice from an employer I ever received...I can teach someone skills, but cannot change a personality!
- —Guest ginger
No Way to Accept Job Offer
- This is not an interview story but rather what happened after the interview--when we decided to hire someone. I was making the offer call to this relatively young man for a temporary position. He answered and all was well for the first 30 seconds--enough time for me to make the offer. He then asked me to "hold" for a minute--I thought he had to fix something quickly or something along those lines. I then hear the young man say: "yes, I'll take lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, and a little mustard on that--oh, yeah, I just got offered a job--I'm on the phone right now!" He was telling this to the person making his sandwich. He was apparently on lunch break and rather than step aside and take the call separately, he was multi-tasking by ordering his lunch while he spoke to me! We went ahead and hired him for a few months as the offer had already been made--he ended up quitting within a few months. I chalked this up to inexperience and youth.
- —Guest Guest Elle
Is she stupid or am I mad
- I sat in the waiting room waiting for my name to be addressed and a lady in a bright orange dress sat beside me and from the moment she sat she began talking. I responded with a little like "ok" and "yes ma'm". She talked non stop so I put my bag between us giving her the hint that I'm not interested in her convo. She then told me. "OK, Miss Campbell, this interview is over. We will give you further notices." That awkward moment... I got up trying to fix my imagery but she refused and walked away. Is she stupid or am I mad?
- —Guest kevii kevvz tho
Worst job interview
- Recently emailed my resume to an employer, a lady emailed me back within 2 day; I called her. The next day I went to the interview and arrived 15 minutes early. During the interview, she told me to apply at other retail stores. Why did she call me for the interview if my experience is in retail and Customer service?
- —Guest venice
- We were hiring for a new receptionist and this particular candidate only had to wait a few minutes until I could speak with her. When I walked into our conference room for the meeting, her sunglasses were on top of her head, she had personal items from her purse scattered on the table, & she was on her cell phone. When I introduced myself, she stayed seated and barely shook my hand. I started the interview, letting her know that some of the questions might be a repeat from our phone interview and she interrupted me to ask what company this was and what the job entailed, all info we had gone over on the phone. I told her and asked some questions about her previous experience, which she answered by complaining about her previous jobs. When I asked if she had any questions for me, she stated that she was having a hard time getting a job because she thought people were discriminating against her because of her age! I couldn't tell her it was entirely due to her lack of professionalism.
- —Guest KO
- I was once interviewing a candidate as part of a selection panel. It was the end of the day and we were all getting very tired. We agreed we would be disciplined about keeping our last interviewee to the same time frame we had used with everyonhe else. However, this proved difficult to do, because as soon as we asked a question the interviewee would throw back his head and talk non-endlingly to the ceiling! His answers were getting longer as he went on. We prefaced each question with "could you BRIEFLY tell us..." but he paid no regard to that and continued to talk to the ceiling. Eventually I had to get up and touch his shoulder to bring back eye contact, and let him know we would not be asking any further questions. I gestured to the door, and physically walked him to it......he was still talking as we said goodbye....
- —Guest Gina
- This is a tough one.The primary reason that people are terminated from a job is not getting along with co-workers. My feeling is that the people who are going to hire you like you in the first few minutes (first interview), but when they spend more time with you, they find things about you that will be problematic with the group you'd work with. As a former owner of several companies, I had similar issues in hiring people. Things that would be the kiss of death for a potential employee (and I never told them this) were: someone who smokes (too much time outside), too talkative (too much time wasted), too much of a know-it-all (destroys team spirit), too much pontificating of a religious belief), and others.You need to take a hard look at yourself and see if you have any abrasive qualities, anything that would get on the nerves of people after they have been around you for more than the first interview. It's likely that you won't be able to recognize these yourself. In that case, ask a friend, someone who will be brutally honest with you. It's my guess that the problem will be revealed if you do this. Once you know the problem, it's up to you to take steps to solve it. Or, maybe you will soon find a place that's the perfect fit for you. Good luck.
- —Guest zZGJsuNQ
Big Corp But Unprofessional Staff
- I'm from Country A, and I was called to 1st interview in Singapore. All went well. I even put down my required salary. Days later, HR called again saying another IT staff person would like to meet with me, asking me to ignore the package. After the intervw, HR staff called to offer me the job based on exchange rate and not on my experience and knowledge. What a big corp, tall building located in Jurong East but poor unprofessional HR skills
- —Guest HealthyGuyKL
Job interview story
- Several years ago I was interviewing a candidate for a junior nursing post. She was wearing brightly colored striped leggings. At the end of the interview, I could not for the life of me reflect back on any of her answers. All I could see were red, orange, pink, yellow, and green striped leggings! Needless to say, she failed to get the job
- —Guest chrissy
- I posted an ad that described everything for this position; hours, duties, pay and other details. When my interviewee came in, the first thing they said to me was, "What would I be doing?" I explained the position and referred back to the ad. I asked them the main strength question and they answered, "perfectionist." However, they could not provide an example of how this had helped them in their career. I then proceeded to ask their main weakness. Their answer: "not being able to get the job done." Needless to say, I moved through the interview pretty quickly. At the end, I asked if the person had any questions. They proceeded to ask me what the hours and pay are. I informed him, that all was already mentioned in the ad.
The Swear Whisperer & The Diet Lady
- Early on in my career as a recruiter I was interviewing someone for a position that demanded someone wtih a flexible schedule. This was clear in the ad and was discussed by myself and the administrative manager with the candidate on the phone and during the interview. At the end of the interview the candidate was convinced they had the job and stated "great! I'm so excited about this, I think its a perfect fit. One thing, I can't come in before 9am and I have to leave by 4pm because I'm on the south beach diet. Its the only thing I do for myself and I have to stick to my eating and workout schedule." More recently I met with someone who told me a tearful story about how much they hated their former manager. When we were saying our goodbyes, she bent down and whispered in my ear that he had once told her to "F" Off (she used the word) and called her a C (also used the word) she then patted my arm and left. Neither of these people were hired, needless to say.
- —Guest Jennie
Give and take away!
- I scheduled my interview in the early a.m. so that I could make it into work on time. I let the interviewer know ahead of time that I would have to leave accordingly and he approved. However, as the interview went on, he deemed me a great candidate and decided to give me a tour of the office and then wanted me to meet with the CEO and a few other employees. I patiently waited 45 minutes til the CEO was finally able to meet with me. After that, the HR manager proceeded to make me an offer on the spot with the expectation that I accept. Taken aback, I said I am grateful for the offer but I'd like to sleep on it and get back to you. He yelled at me about why I wouldn't accept. I calmly explained myself and said I'd let him know the next day. I called him the next day and not only did he take the offer back but he said to me that they decided to get rid of the position. I checked their website 2 weeks later and the position was still listed open!
- —Guest Anonymous
Really Busy CEO
- I had a great first interview for a marketing position at a nonprofit company. They scheduled my second interview, which the CEO would be sitting in on, for a week later. The day before, they called to postpone the interview because the CEO had a golf tournament she had to attend. We rescheduled for this afternoon and I took a sick day to make the appointment. They just called and cancelled again due to the CEO's schedule being changed. What a nightmare - and I haven't even had my second interview yet! Needless to say I will not be taking a job with this company!
- —Guest Lanya
- Recently I interviewed with a medical device/software company that has a good reputation although I had heard a few negative stories from former and current employees. You have to realize there are no perfect situations, there are positive and negative influences in all organizations. When I first arrived I met with the HR assistant and the Director of HR, both very good conversations, standard, exactly what would be expected. Then I was introduced to the Director of Marketing; he began the interview by explaining the skill set needed for the position. He utilized what he referred to as his guide to the key points of the job. This key point list was a copy of a page from a Marketing text book, not even a good copy as he could barely interpret it. I attempted to make contact with him as he postured in his chair, stared at the ceiling and just seemed to have no interest in the discussion, or for that matter, the interview. I felt as if I would need to carry him through the interview. (Susan asks: Did you accept this job, I wonder?)
- —Guest Bill Clarke