No one likes job interviews, but they’re a necessary evil. If you’re lucky, you manage to make yourself sound way smarter than you actually are and you land the position. But if you’re anything like these poor souls….well, things don’t go so well. Forget about not getting the job—these people crashed and burned so hard that they almost lost their last scrap of dignity.
1. An Inconvenient Truth
I was hiring for a convenience store in the United States, so we always scraped the bottom of the barrel and basically just hired anyone who showed up to the interview. In this particular region, the use of bad substances was so rampant that we demanded substance tests for all potential employees. That led to a, shall we say, interesting situation on one occasion…
I did the interview, gave the kid the urinalysis kit to bring to the clinic a block away, and then called the clinic to tell them they could expect him shortly to administer the pee test. He never showed up at the clinic. He also didn’t answer his phone when we tried to get in touch with him. He came back to the store a week later, proudly holding a cup of urine that he was there to turn in.
I asked him politely to please take the cup of pee out of my store and to never return. He looked very confused and was legitimately shocked. I then asked him why he didn’t go directly to the clinic across the street after the interview like I had asked him to. He said that he wanted to wait til he could actually pass the pee test! God bless his simple heart.
2. Lost Innocence
As a teen I was so delighted there was an opening at the Humane Society, Seattle’s local pet rescue and adoption center. I filled out the application. When handing it in, I was posed a question that made my blood run cold. They asked if I was comfortable loading and unloading the crematorium. Growing up comes in one little chunk of horror at a time.
3. Too Good To Be True
I was looking for work a few months ago, really wasn’t having any luck. Resumes out. Apps out. Just doing everything I could to land something in my field. I got a call back from someone and they said they got my resume and wanted me to do a phone screening. I was really excited because I had never gone through the “formal” hiring process.
I had only worked in food and retail up until that point. Then I gave them a callback. That’s when I should have seen the first red flag: they never mentioned the job title upfront. The voice mail was about being a “great fit” and that this would be an “amazing opportunity” for me. On the call, I got the same thing. He just went on and on about how this was a great place to work, great people, super flexible, a great opportunity for me, loved my resume, blah blah blah.
I finally got to the job title. It was “Management Trainee.” I asked what it was and what I would be doing. He said I’d be shadowing a manager, and eventually leading my own team. Great opportunity. Blah. Blah. Blah. I kind of pressed a little bit, sniffed out that it was likely a sales job—but the guy wouldn’t outright say it.
He just kept dodging the question with day-to-day stuff and they didn’t have any postings up, so I didn’t know beforehand. Earlier in the interview, he asked my availability for the week. He scheduled an interview for noon the next day without even asking if I was interested. I was still confused as to what was going on, so I was like yeah, sounds good.
He told me to wear business formal, confirm the email he sent and said have a good day. I researched the company a bit more. I knew it was a sales/marketing firm, but just thought they might need an IT person or something. Turns out, they’re those people that set up a booth in Walmart and try to get you to switch cable/electric companies.
Safe to say, I did not show up to the interview.
4. A Bridge Over Troubled Employees
I used to work at a staffing agency that placed people in manufacturing positions. Everyone had to be tested for substance abuse at the office as part of the orientation process. If the pee cup came back as “inconclusive,” we would send the potential hire to a medical lab. They would then take another pee test and the lab could determine if the person was on a prescription or using illegal substances (and, therefore, not eligible to be hired).
So, one guy failed his pee test at the lab. He came back to my office complaining that it wasn’t his fault. His explanation completely blew my mind. He claimed that he had been riding in a car on his way to take the test when he happened to briefly stick his head out of the window for some air. Then, just as the car was passing under a bridge, someone threw a bag of illegal substances off the bridge. The bag allegedly hit him in the face, and he accidentally inhaled some of it.
5. We All Start From Somewhere
I had an applicant list super basic “I am able to exist in society” skills on a resume. Including, and these are verbatim: Able to work in warm or cool temperatures. Able to take an early or late lunch. Proficient in English (we live in a 99.9% English speaking area). Able to hold bladder for extended periods (???). Able to operate computer and telephone.”
I nearly peed myself laughing and no, he did not get the job.
6. Change The Combos On All Our Locks
I was interviewing a much older guy for a similar position of mine. Everything seemed okay, and he was our best candidate. Before moving forward, I did a quick google search to only find out that he was fired from his previous job because of stealing $5000 worth of computer equipment. My director hired him anyway.
7. The Lab Results Came Back Negative
I interviewed for a lab tech job right out of college that I knew I wasn’t taking pretty much immediately. It was a startup, which was literally the guy interviewing me and that’s it, I’d be his only employee. The entire lab space was like a 12’x12′ room which included his desk and all the instruments I’d be using. These things generate a ton of heat; this would have been miserable.
He could offer me no benefits because it was a startup, but that honestly wasn’t a big deal to me because I was still on my parents’ insurance and needed a lab job. Overall, I decided if he offered it to me, I wouldn’t take it. A few days later, he calls me and says something like, “I’ve interviewed a lot of great people that I’m debating between, so I’m calling you to gauge your interest.”
When I told him that I’d decided I wasn’t interested, all of a sudden, he could offer me benefits! Huge red flag. If you’re debating between that many candidates why are you suddenly offering me more when I say I don’t want it? Do I really want to work for someone who’ll only offer to compensate me fully if they’re desperate?
8. Should Have Rescheduled
This one, I should have walked out of. My appointment was at 1 pm for a temporary company signup, you know, WHMIS policies, government work regulations, and all that. And apparently they expected people to make themselves familiar with the contents of a 4” binder and sign off that I understood various sections. Half of what I had to sign off on wasn’t even in the binder.
The 1:30 appointment showed up and still no interviewer. So, I went to the desk and said, yadda, yadda, let’s go. They asked me to wait a few more minutes. I did. A back-office door opened a few minutes later and a woman who had obviously just finished crying stepped out and called the 1:30 over. She explained that her grandmother had passed away and she’d like to reschedule.
Then she turned to me with a fake smile and started leading me to an interview room. I protested, saying I could come back and that she was in no condition to work, but she brushed me off saying her family would be a while picking her up yet. I don’t know why I didn’t leave. It was awful. She stared at the computer monitor the whole time, robotically asked me the standard questions and typed answers.
The only thing I could do was read the “what to do in case of a bomb threat” poster on the wall behind her head.
9. Off to a Rough Start
My dad works in Human Resources. He just told me about a day when they had to lay off about half of the company at once. It was crazy, and there were a whole lot of moving parts that day. Unfortunately, in all the craziness, no one had remembered to tell this one new hire that (sadly) the position he was hired for was no longer affordable.
So, this poor guy had to come into the office excited for his first day only to see everyone clearing out their desks and leaving. And then, he immediately got told that he was being laid off as well. No more than an hour into his first day on the job. He said that the guy understood, but that it was still the most horrible he had ever felt for someone in his life.
10. That Didn’t Last Too Long
A guy got hired at my work when I was in between being contract and permanent, so I never met him. Dude had just left a good teaching job with a quickness, was vague about his reasons for leaving for a temporary, lower paying job with less benefits. He was apparently super normal seeming and very nice, everyone liked him.
Some weeks later he just doesn’t come in. Find out that night shift was messing around Googling people and found out teacher dude had been arrested for having absolute loads of child porn. The background check hadn’t caught it because he hadn’t been charged (or maybe I mean convicted) yet (was what I was told).
Obviously that bit of information zipped around the company almost instantly and HR fired him immediately. He was in prison last I heard.
11. Yeah, That’s Not Okay
I’m in the middle of job hunting right now, and I just went to the most ridiculous interview of my life two days ago. So first, I got called for a phone interview that lasted 40 minutes. The interviewer, who I later found out was the owner of the company, was obviously just reading a long list of standard questions from a script, which was odd because a lot of those questions were completely irrelevant to the position.
But I gave my answers and was invited back for an in-person interview at their corporate office. I drove an hour to get to this office, which looks like a run-down warehouse in a sketchy part of town. I’m not feeling great about this, but right now I’m trying to change careers and break into a new industry, so I’m not in a position to be super picky about my job prospects.
I go in for my interview with the owner, and he proceeds to ask me the exact same questions as the day before, right from the script, in the exact same order, because he had obviously not bothered to take notes the first time around. I’m feeling annoyed but I still want to see where this will go. THEN he starts talking about the culture of the office, which sounds super toxic and negative, and asks me if I’m a resilient person because I’ll be getting yelled at by managers and supervisors when I make mistakes.
THEN he asked my salary expectations, completely dismissed them, and told me this would be a minimum wage position. Awesome, so I won’t even be getting paid a living wage to get abused and scapegoated by my superiors. But the icing on the cake was yet to come: That’s when he told me that to be seriously considered for the position, I would need to submit to a reference check, background check, rental history check, and credit check.
For an ENTRY LEVEL RECEPTIONIST POSITION. I have been in charge of hiring at one of my previous jobs, and I know that in my state, you absolutely cannot request a credit check from an employee unless the job deals with financial transactions or money management, which was not at all the case here. So I asked him why a credit check was relevant for this position and he said, super casually, “Oh, you know, if you have some loans out in your credit history, we know you’ve made bad choices and won’t hire you.”
This is beyond illegal, and so ludicrously invasive for an entry-level position, and he didn’t even bat an eye. I thanked him for his time and declined the job and practically ran out of the building. Then I went home and googled the company, only to discover they have a one-star review on Yelp and a record of several lawsuits from both clients and former employees. Bullet dodged!
12. A Bald Threat
The owner of the company full-on threatened me. She told me that she’d come to my house and cut off all my hair if I ever shared any information with her competitors. I never shared any info about the company, but you better believe I told everyone what she had said to me.
13. Just Pickin’ Rocks
I was hiring for an entry-level cable tech position in a part of the state with a small candidate pool. A supervisor passed an applicant to me, saying he thought the guy had a good work ethic. I show up to the local office and find a place for our interview, letting the lady at the front desk know to be on the lookout for our applicant.
My first warning sign came hard and fast. When she came back to let me know he’d arrived, the first words from her mouth were: “Please tell me this guy won’t be customer-facing.” His resume was sparse, but since it was entry-level, I wasn’t too worried about that. His work history only contained work at his family farm and a single season at a ski resort.
I’m from a state with a lot of farmers, and I’ve known them to be hardworking, so I don’t think anything of the limited scope of his background or the jeans and collared shirt he’d worn to the interview. I ask him about his work on the farm, and what kind of things he usually did there. His reply was three words: “I pick rocks.” After a few moments when it became clear he wasn’t going to elaborate on his own, I asked him what that meant more specifically.
He said that it was his job to walk alongside the till and pick up any large rocks it unearthed. “Okay, what else?” “Just the rocks.” Trying to find somewhere for my line of questioning to go, I asked him what his favorite part of the work was, given how many years he’d been at it. His eyes squinted slightly as he gazed to the side, as though he was thinking very hard about the question, but was coming up empty-handed.
“That’s okay,” I said “it’s easier for some folks to recall their least favorite part of the job. What’s your least favorite part?” “Pickin’ rocks.”
14. Wait…But Which Movie?
I had a phone screen interview with a candidate for a software development job at a large internet retailer. For fun, let’s say it was eBay. Some red flags during the interview: His resume was five pages long and obviously faked to game resume scanning programs. His “skills” section was a solid paragraph of every popular technology from the last 10 years.
I’m talking a brick-sized section of text. He answered the phone and I could barely hear him because he decided to have the interview at a Starbucks. He wouldn’t stop talking, but he never said anything of any relevance. It honestly sounded like a used car salesman. He didn’t have a computer ready. He didn’t have a pencil or paper.
He couldn’t answer any technical questions I asked him. He ended the phone screen after about 10 minutes because he had a movie to go see. My head was spinning after I hung up the phone.
15. Next Time, Try Buying Flowers…
While working in Human Resources, I once got a call from a woman whom I had never spoken to, asking me when she could start her job. She claimed she had received a job offer after interviewing with a manager for a customer service position, yet no one had ever contacted her about a start date or pre-employment processes like a background check. It had been over a month, she explained.
After a lengthy investigation, the bizarre truth finally came out. This manager had fabricated a non-existent job opening and offered it to this woman in an attempt to impress her. Thinking she was coming to work for us, this poor girl quit her previous job in order to come join my company. It should be noted, though, that she did not respond to the manager’s romantic overtures.
In the end, she got a settlement (with an NDA) and the guy who “hired” her got fired.
16. So, What Is the Truth?
I went in for a job interview at a place. Everything went well, the salary sucked ($12 an hour), but I needed work. I needed a day to think it over. So that’s what I told them. The next morning, they called me back, saying they went with someone else. Not even a week later, there’s a promo in the newspaper for that same position with the company.
The ad states “Now hiring! $17.50 an hour!” So, I take the paper with me and go back. They were pleasant enough. They offer me the position on the spot, offering me $10 an hour. I’m like,”wait. What?” I point out that the paper said $17.50, and show them. They say, “Oh, not sure how it got to that amount. We’re only offering $10.” I also bring up I interviewed here within the last 2 weeks and the offered $12.
They said, “It’s $10, take it or leave it.” So, I left it. Then I told everyone as I walked out that it was only $10 an hour. Most everyone also left.
17. The Poster Boy For “Promoting Your Problems”
This was about 15 years ago. I was working for the TSA at the time. There weren’t any openings at my airport, but another airport in the state had a supervisor opening they were advertising statewide, so I applied for it. Due to logistical reasons, I had to do the interview over the phone, which was fine. The interviewers then started asking me the dumbest questions imaginable.
My favorite was something like this: the interviewer asks “On what page of the SOP would you find the procedure for screening a service animal?” I replied, “I’m sorry, did you just ask me for the page number for the procedure?” She said yes. I said, “I don’t know the exact page, but I can describe the exact procedure as it is in the SOP.” She said she just wanted the page number.
That’s when I said “I’m sorry, I don’t know that. May I ask what relevance that has for this position when I know the actual procedure, and know I can find the procedure in the SOP in seconds if I needed to?” Her reply was incredible. She said: “We’re asking the questions and it’s not up to you to decide whether the question is relevant.”
At this point, not only did I know I wouldn’t get the position, I was pretty sure I didn’t want to work there anyway. So I just went for it. I said “I’m just concerned because you seem to believe it’s more important to have irrelevant information memorized than to actually know how these procedures are done. When I was studying for this interview, I was studying actual procedures and not wasting my time memorizing page numbers. It seems to me that a good supervisor should have their eyes up, watching what’s going on, knowing whether their people are doing things correctly, and not have their nose in the book.”
That’s when a different interviewer chimed in. He was the Federal Security Director of the airport. He said, “Are you implying that you know better than this interview board the qualities that make a good supervisor?” I replied: “No sir, I’m not implying anything. I’m explicitly telling you that this board has no idea what qualities make for a good front line supervisor. I apologize for wasting your time and wish you the best of luck in finding a quality candidate.”
A couple of days later, my Deputy Federal Security Director called me into his office. He said he had spoken to the FSD who had interviewed me, who had talked about how rude I had been. I explained what had happened. My DFSD then told me not to worry. He said that guy was a complete dummy and the poster boy of “promoting your problems.”
He said the questions that were being asked were obviously so they could get their own candidate to score high and anyone else would score low. A couple of months later, a supervisor position opened at my airport. I applied and actually got it.
18. Names Can Be Misleading
A little different, but a story that always entertains me. I worked for a staffing agency. Guy is hired and comes in for background and drug screen. He has lots of priors, but he was working in a kitchen so we got the okay to continue the process. It wasn’t until the drug screen that he gets a little nervous. I tell them that we are going to do a drug screen now, and he asks to put it off til Monday. Typically, we’d have to have to it that day so they could start work but this was like 4:45 on a Friday and we wanted to go home so we said yes.
Monday rolls around and he shows up. He takes the test and it comes up positive for weed, cocaine, and some other stuff. We told him that we test multiple things and that cocaine also showed up. We asked him if that was a surprise. He told us “I do dabble in cocaine, but I thought this was a test for weed?” We politely said that we couldn’t hire him.
There are so many weird stories from working at a staffing agency.
19. Life Is In The Details
I once received an application from a person whose resume said, and I kid you not: “Detailed Orientated.”
20. Wrong Place at the Wrong Time
My family owned a trucking company. Literally everyone in my immediate family has or had a commercial driver’s licence. Mom’s turn to take the newbie for a road test pre hire. During the road test, they were involved in an accident (they were hit while stopped). The company was based out of Indiana. Accident happened in Illinois.
Newbie gets caught by law enforcement on the spot. Come to find out that he has warrants that hadn’t been out long enough for the background check service we used to register them yet. One of the warrants was for stalking a female dispatcher from the previous trucking company he worked for. Never threw a resume into the garbage so fast.
21. (Un)Equal Opportunities
The company was doing open interviews and they were going over different company policies. One of the policies regarding scheduling was that it was always done in order by the last four digits of your social. So, a 0000 would always get the first choice and a 9999 would always get the last choice. I raised my hand and asked for clarification on the policy.
When they uncomfortably agreed with my synopsis, I got up and left. So did a few others.
22. So That’s What’s In A Name!
While working in Human Resources, I once had a guy come in for an interview who had used so many substances beforehand that he forgot who he was meeting and why. Our applications say that we do not hire violent felons. This guy was found by our staff to be a felon. When I asked him about it, he nonchalantly said that the charge had been for domestic violence and stalking.
I asked him if he read the part of the application about us not hiring violent felons, and he just couldn’t connect the dots. It’s got violence in the name of the charge, dude!
23. Points For Self Publishing
I received a resume where the person’s objective was to save enough money to publish their own manga. All of his experience was centered around manga and watching anime and no actual work experience. He also attached a photo of himself cosplaying as some anime character. Best part? The position was for a truck dispatcher.
24. The Only Engine Is Your Imagination
In engineering. This guy—I’ll call him Tony—applies with a bit of unconventional resume and experience but seemed interesting. He didn’t have an engineering degree, but he’d worked his way up from machinist and had 20+ years’ experience. He brought in a ton of portfolio work and explained how he’d set up these complex processes and improved several product designs. We ended up hiring him as a junior engineer and he was assigned to work with a few different engineers to help with their projects.
Little did we know, we’d just made a HUGE mistake. After working for a bit, we realized that Tony needed a lot of stuff to be explained to him. Like, a suspicious amount. Almost like he didn’t know what he was doing. But if we gave him a night to get his tasks done, he’d always deliver the next morning. We just never saw him actually do the work with our own eyes.
Until one day, when all his lies unravelled. An engineer needed a very simple change to a design and asked Tony to make the change in our CAD software—in which he’d claimed to have years of experience using. Tony pulled his “I’ll get that to you tomorrow” routine but the engineer said he needs it now and will just wait for Tony to do it while he watched. Tony fumbled for a while, couldn’t even figure out how to open the file, obviously pretended to take a phone call, then just left for the day.
After investigating a bit, we found out Tony didn’t have any of the experience he’d claimed. He just took the portfolio work from former engineer colleagues and passed it off as his own. But that’s not even the most insane part. Tony had convinced a local college student that he had an unpaid internship and Tony would have this kid do his work after hours and bring it in the next day. Despite the admiration for Tony’s ability to run several simultaneous con jobs involving several people, we felt it appropriate to let him go.
About two years later, we’re hiring for another similar position and Tony’s resume shows up on my desk. This time he lists two years of “Principal Engineer” experience at my company—as in, the previous two years, the exact amount of time since we’d fired him—with super embellished job duties and fully made-up accomplishments.
Apparently, Tony was looking for work again and had sent his resume to one of the recruiters we work with not knowing he was applying to the same company from which he’d been fired two years earlier and was falsely claiming as his current employer.
25. Speaking On His Behalf
I worked in a grocery store chain back in the day. I started out as a summer temp and eventually got hired out of high school and stayed on for a few years. As a general rule, the daytime shifts were coveted and mostly given to more experienced employees; while a summer temp and one experienced employee would typically work afternoons from 4 pm til about 11:30 pm.
One morning, my boss and I were stocking fruit when a mother came in asking for a summer job for her son. There was no sign of the son himself. My boss told her that he could swing by himself with a resume for him and he’d gladly take a look into it, as we were looking for summer temps. She simply replied that she was all the resume he needed.
She claimed she had many years of experience as an employer and could guarantee that he would do a good job for us. She kept going on and on along these lines. At this point, my boss is sort of just dumbfounded, but then she still keeps talking. She says that he cannot work evenings whatsoever, as he’s far too busy with his friends. She also adds that he would be working 9 am to 5 pm at the very latest.
Apparently, he would also be unavailable for weekends and would take a three week summer holiday to go to Spain with the family. After this, she just asked my boss “So, should he just be here Monday morning then?” I’ve never seen a man struggle so much with giving a polite and professional “No thanks” as my boss did that day…
26. Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch
Whenever anyone gets an interview to work in my department, our whole team looks over their resume and can ask the applicant questions. There was a guy who applied for a mid-career position and had a few connections with some higher-ups in our company. So, they immediately scheduled an interview for him without actually reviewing his resume too closely.
When our team took a look at his resume, there were a bunch of red flags that we all immediately spotted. For example, he had titled the resume, “Why You Should Hire Me” and had a bunch of run-on sentences and misspelled words all over the place. Our team was confused and thought there must have been some kind of mistake.
Apparently, he thought he had the job guaranteed because of his connections, so he didn’t take the whole applying process seriously. He didn’t get the job.
27. When Will Justice Be Served?
We had this new hire. I’d heard about him through the grapevine. He was fired from his last job for inappropriate behavior in the break room. Somehow, he was then hired to work at my company. God knows why, because I haven’t ever heard a single good thing about him from anyone. Not typically what one hopes for in an employee…
Anyway, his job was to sweep the floor of our factory. That’s not exactly backbreaking work. The factory floor was pretty much endless, but you could take it slowly and have time to chit chat with other employees and roam around while on the job. We often have retired and disabled people do this job for us, and they are always fine with it.
Within the first three weeks that this guy was there, I got so many write-ups about him that it was hard to keep track of them all. People said he was taking extended break time, that his job was not getting done after multiple requests, that he was smoking on the job and not in the designated area, that he was constantly on his phone, that he was making offensive jokes, that he had body odor, that he was not wearing his uniform.
You name it, he had done it. So I did what I always do in these kinds of situations. I decided to fast track his termination and send it directly to the head of our Human Resources department. I heard nothing about it until a few weeks later, when I started receiving complaints about him again. I went to speak to our department head, asking if there had been some kind of delay with the paperwork.
In my mind, that was the only explanation as to why he would still be there. He basically should have been fired weeks ago at this point. Turns out, he was never fired at all. And that’s because he was the nephew of the head of HR. Instead, she just transferred him to another department. She took every complaint about him directly from that point on, except for one that accidentally got to me.
And that’s where the story gets crazy. At this point, he had been reassigned as a security guard, but not like the kind you would see at a music festival. He was simply a button operator. His job was to sit by the gate and operate the button to let people in and out of the factory. This, along with keeping track of who entered and left the site, was his sole responsibility.
He was being trained by the sweetest old lady there is. Everybody, even the CEO, called her “Grandma” because she was just so sweet and lovable. I encountered “Grandma” on break one day and she looked very disturbed. It was not her usual break time, so I asked her what she was doing in the break room alone so early.
She told me, “It’s this new hire. I need some personal time.” I asked her what she meant. She then proceeded to tell me, “Well, you know, I made lots of complaints about him. Haven’t you read them?” I said, “No, none of them got to me!” She looked really disturbed, and almost like she was about to start crying. She then told me the full story.
Since he was transferred to her, he noticed that there was a computer at his post, to log ins and outs. Keep in mind that this computer does not even connect to the internet. Well, nevertheless, the second day that he was in that position, while Grandma was gone to the bathroom, he started watching adult videos on that computer using a flash drive that he had brought from home.
She caught him red-handed when she returned, and he just acted like it was no big deal. In the weeks that followed, he continued to play these videos on the job to the point where he would not even stop when Grandma caught him. He told her: “I don’t give a darn if you watch, but if you don’t want to see it then just leave.” So, she made a schedule, where every two hours she would leave for fifteen minutes so that he could do his business in private.
I was enraged when I heard this and went straight to the head of HR with it. I told her that Grandma had gotten a lawyer and was threatening to sue the company. I knew it was false, but that was the only threat that could make things move. The matter was transferred to the legal department and he was fired that very morning.
The head of HR still argued that without proof, we could not fire him. The meeting ended with her storming out and saying: “Fine, do whatever you want.” She quit a few months after that.
28. But Was It A Good Reference?
I once had someone list their reference as “Baby Daddy.”
29. I’ll Be Back
We were hiring for an entry-level, overnight analyst position in the QA lab I worked for. Guy applies, then calls immediately after to ask if we got his resume. We told him yes, we did, and we would be making calls later in the week. My boss and I—I helped with hiring at night because I was overnight supervisor—reviewed his resume, and it looked okay.
About an hour later he calls back and asks my boss if he can give her his “elevator speech.” He then proceeded to brag about himself for 15 minutes and managed to condescend most of us by saying he was a mature adult unlike most recent grads—all of us were under 30 at the time and most had graduated recently. She again thanked him and said she would be making calls later in the week.
The next day—yes, just one day later—he showed up on site at the facility we worked at. The facility has 24-hour security at the gate. He was held up and then security called us asking if we knew who he was. When my boss got the call, her jaw dropped, but she went to the guard shack to meet him, and he again gave her his elevator speech and a paper copy of his resume.
On this resume, he put in the cover letter that he was only interested in laboratory supervisor or the VP position for plant QA (usually requires at least a Master’s). He also changed a lot of the info in the resume. When he called AGAIN on day three, my boss told him she was considering going with other applicants but thanked him for his time.
He called her a gendered slur on the phone, and that was the end of that—for the time being. Fast forward six months and I no longer work there.
I’m in graduate school and I’m talking to a couple people who are undergrads about to graduate looking for job opportunities. I mentioned where I used to work, and one of them says they heard that place was a scam and not a real place to work. Apparently, the crazy guy who applied there told some people at the college we were at it was a scam and had scammed him when he tried to apply.
30. Less Than Ideal Learning Conditions
I’m a teacher and had a demo lesson at a charter school. They had asked me to come in the day before Memorial Day Weekend began. When I got there, the individual who was supposed to interview me had called out, so I was placed with another recruiter who had seemingly seen my resume for the first time five minutes before I arrived. Knew nothing about me or my qualifications. It was the first—but not the last—red flag.
I was also told the principal was out too. I guess she had decided to enjoy an extended weekend as well. Apparently meeting a potential new teacher was not a priority for her. Second red flag. As I was waiting in the office, I overheard teachers and admin making fun of a substitute, calling her the itty bitty committee. Third red flag.
As we were walking to the classroom, the DEAN OF DISCIPLINE, who was apparently standing in for the principal, saw a student meandering the halls. He asked why he wasn’t in class and told him to return to his class. The student completely ignored him and proceeded to walk away from his classroom. Nothing more was done. Fourth red flag.
The lesson was a disaster, the kids were out of control and completely defiant. I know that part of a demo-lesson is classroom management, but given the fact the interviewee does not know the kids, it’s also up to the classroom teacher and admin to make sure the kids are minimally compliant so that the lesson can actually be carried out.
I have conducted and observed several demo lessons and kids are usually on their best behavior, given that 1) there are several teachers and admin in the room and 2) they are generally somewhat sensitive to the fact that this random person had been put in an extremely stressful and awkwardly contrived situation. Not these kids…
The regular classroom teacher sat there looking completely defeated the whole time. The recruiter and dean, who were observing me, sat in the back on their laptops the whole time, not even paying attention to me or the lesson that I had worked on for weeks. I cut the lesson short because it was actually to the point of humiliation.
At the end, back in the office where we were supposed to be wrapping up, I said, “I think we all know that this school is not a good fit for me. Thank you for your time.” That was it. I still feel my face getting hot when I think about it to this day.
31. Hail to the Chief
While working in Human Resources, I was once interviewing someone for a job and he bluntly asked me what the name of our company’s president was. We told him the name, and he immediately said, “I can get hired right now and do a much better job than your president. It would be foolish for you all not to hire me.” He was applying for an entry-level customer service assistant job. Oh, and he also cussed up a storm during the interview.
32. Personality is Everything
Dude came in, 20-something, dressed fairly nice, handed in his resume. He was rather well spoken, and I had high hopes about him joining our team. I take a look at his resume no more than 4 hours after the first encounter. It’s nearly perfect, until got to one section. The not-at-all necessary part about his “Hobbies” was quite peculiar. It included:
- Knitting with my cat
- Singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” at karaoke every Saturday night
- Making corn muffins and then feeding them to the ducks at the park
- Attending the local men’s club and awarding the exotic dancers with numbered scores out of 10
Naturally, I called this guy back quickly for an interview. We ended up hiring him, he’s one of our best employees. This was over 4 years ago, last I heard he has a new girlfriend. As far as I know, I’m the only one around the workplace who knows about his strange hobbies besides him. Perhaps he will share these with his new girlfriend. What a guy.
33. Sometimes, Less Is More
I worked as a recruiter for office jobs in inner-city Philadelphia. One young man had a resume that was co-created by his high school’s counselor.
The career objective was “To be an honest, hard-working young black man that is an asset to any organization.” I wanted to pick up the phone and scream at that counselor. Instead, I very diplomatically asked the young man to remove all mention of race from his objective statement as we were legally unable to submit his resume for jobs with a clear race identifier on it.
We even blocked out home addresses so potential employers couldn’t judge them by their neighborhood. I wonder how many potential employers trashed this kid’s resume just to avoid any liability issues. I’m sure his counselor thought she was doing him a favor, but she was hurting him and anyone else she coached with that nonsense.
34. Head Of Lies
My uncle was on the recruitment panel for his law firm. One day he received a pretty strong application. The applicant looked great and they fully intended to ask her to interview until a lie in her application came to light. One of the achievements that the applicant listed was that she had been head girl at her school. It didn’t really make much difference to her application, but it stood out because by sheer chance it was a local school and my aunt taught there.
“Hey, guess what?” my uncle asked when he got home that night. “You’ll never guess who has applied to us. It’s [whoever], one of your head girls.” “I don’t think so,” replied my aunt, “We don’t have head girls.”
35. Yes, Yes You Do
This horror story was wrong on so many levels, easily one of the WORST experiences I’ve had in my working career, period. When I was working for a transport company, I was the “office girl”—which just meant that, if it wasn’t out in the garage, I took care of it. This included initial interviews. So, we were looking for a loader—it’s a simple job.
We get a resume online, I call the guy, ask when he can come in for an interview. Guy says, “Whatever works for you.” I say I can get him in on Monday. This was on a Friday. Strike one: guy says he has something going on Monday, what else do I got. He went from “Whatever works for you,” to, “No, not Monday.” But whatever, we need a loader.
I ask if he can come in on Tuesday instead. He says sure and asks what time, and what to wear. I tell him 9:00 AM, and that we’re pretty casual—we’re a trucking company, after all. He asks me to define “pretty casual.” Which is fine: I’ve had peeps tell me “business casual” and want dress clothes, or business professional and I show up and everybody’s wearing shorts.
So, I tell him that he needs jeans, a sturdy pair of sneakers, although we prefer boots, and a clean shirt—no graphic designs, please. Pretty simple stuff. He comes in on Tuesday, at 9:10, wearing flipflops, shorts, and a band tee. I want to say it was Metallica, but it’s been a while. Alright, so there’s strike two, since I specifically told him none of the above when he asked, and confirmed the time.
But, sometimes people make mistakes. I ask him to come on in to the back with me and sit down, and we’ll get started. He sits down, and then he asks when he can meet with the owner. I tell him that the owner is out. Then, he commits strike three: He asks what MY qualifications are. I’m a bit confused, so I ask him “Qualifications for what?” “To hire me, of course,” he says, like it’s oh-so-obvious.
“Are you asking if I have the authority to approve your hiring? If so, then the owner could change his mind, of course, but if our interview goes well, I can get you started tomorrow.” He then says, “No, like…are you the HR person or just the secretary?” I politely inform him that, while the owner is on the road, I run the office.
He seems to be satisfied with this. So, I go over the job description, pay rate, what the hours typically look like. I ask is he is satisfied with this. He says he is okay with it until he is able to be promoted to driver, of course! I inform him that you can’t be “promoted” to driver—that requires a specialized driver’s license. He looks a bit disappointed.
I tell him that we’re willing to hire him, on two conditions. One: he comes to work tomorrow dressed appropriately in jeans, sneakers, and a non-graphic tee, or sweatshirt. Two: he has to drive about 15 minutes away to go take a drug test. Guy legit thinks on this for a moment, and then says, “Do I have to pass the drug test?”
I didn’t even say anything; I just stood and motioned him towards the door.
36. Mama’s Boy
A 28-year-old college graduate came in for an interview with his mother. I normally don’t do the interviews except for when there are issues or my boss is out. The interview was for an engineer position that opened up, and we had a lot of applicants. At first, I noticed a lot of my co-workers laughing and thought they were trying to mess with me.
Anyway, I walk into the office, and there he was, sitting with his mother. I was completely stunned. Before I could even ask a question, the mother starts asking how much the position pays, vacation time, and some other off the wall questions about compensation. I explain that compensation and other benefits will be negotiated at a later time and she tells me that anything under 100K won’t work and starts demanding days off next month.
I stopped the interview and told her, since the interview candidate, her son, had not even said a word, that this is over, and asked them to leave. I really thought someone put them up to it, but it was a real interview.
37. Creative Writing
A girl once applied for a job and I had the pleasure of reviewing her resume. On this resume, under skills, it just said “I’m really smart. Like, I’m much smarter than everyone else.” No, this was not Donald Trump. This was a 25-year-old girl. This was also like ten years ago, so the girl is out there in the workforce somewhere in all likelihood.
Another guy applied for the same job. He was more than fifty years old, and his resume said, “See other side” at the bottom. I turned it over, expecting the worst—but I still didn’t expect the words I read next: There was a handwritten message that said, “I committed a bad crime but it’s something I want to speak to you about in person.” I didn’t call him in for an interview, either.
38. In Bad Taste
I had just moved and was looking for a new job. I had worked in the wine industry and as a legal assistant. This new winery wanted me for an interview, and oddly, was really interested in my legal experience too. A bit into the interview, the guy explains that he needs legal help. I explained that I was only a legal assistant and absolutely cannot give any legal advice.
He explains that he’s being sued by a bunch of interns he hired and didn’t pay. He said they knew it was an unpaid internship, which is illegal in California. He then asked me a question that made my blood run cold. He asked if I could handle the case, as—get this—an unpaid intern. This sleaze ball was looking for an unpaid intern to beat his unpaid internship legal case for him.
Both shady and stupid at the same time.
39. An Abrupt Ending
I once had a candidate who our team liked for a senior finance position, and we decided to make him an offer. The decision was made on Friday. I decided to call him the next Monday, giving us time to prepare the paperwork. When we called him, there was no answer. No problem, I left him a message and dropped him an email. I figured he’d respond as soon as possible—but I wasn’t prepared for the tragic truth.
Two days later, there had still been no answer. So, I decided to try and call again. Still nothing. Same approach, message and email. Maybe he is on vacation or something, I assumed. On the following Friday, I decided to call one last time since the hiring manager was starting to get impatient. Finally, someone picked up the phone.
It was his wife. She told me that they had just buried him the day before. Apparently, he had passed in a car crash coming back from the interview…..
40. Snooty Suit
He set an interview time that I would struggle to meet as there was no one to cover my position at my then-current job. He would only move the interview time back by 20 minutes meaning that I would have to go straight from work, after a 10-hour shift with no time to change or freshen up. And it would still mean I’d be skipping my lunch break in order to leave an hour early.
I explained this several times. On the day of the interview, I show up on time. I’m still in my work gear, covered in cement dust, and smell absolutely awful. Some guy in a suit comes into the lobby, sees me, and pulls a disgusted face before walking away. 45 minutes later, I’m still sat there. No one has called me through and every time I ask the receptionist how much longer they’ll be, I’m just told, “soon.”
After an hour, I tell the receptionist that if someone doesn’t come down straight away, I’ll be leaving. Lo and behold someone scuttles through the doors a few minutes later. It’s the same guy who gave me a dirty look before. He apologizes and says that he thought that I hadn’t shown up. I told him that I gave my name to the receptionist when I arrived on time and that no one else had entered the building since then.
He then made a remark about my attire. I told him that I had explained multiple times that the interview time was an issue for me as it meant coming straight from work. The interview consisted of him reading the job advertisement from his phone followed by a few questions about my current job. All of my questions were answered with, “We’ll discuss that if you get the job.”
When he called to say I had not been successful, I gave him both barrels and left horrible feedback on the application site I’d used. It may have been a little immature of me but man, it felt good to unload.
41. Sorry, You Failed
A guy called me to inquire about the status of his application. He starts off with the most incredible opener: “Why the hell don’t you answer your damn phone? People are trying to get jobs.” Taken aback, I asked for his name. I found that he had failed his online assessments and we couldn’t bring him in. I had the pleasure of saying: “I’m sorry sir, but you failed your tests and are not qualified to work at Wal-Mart.”
He quickly hung up the phone without saying anything else.
42. Out Of Her League
I got hired as a long-term temp with one other person to do some basic data entry work at a major brand. It was also at their corporate headquarters, so pretty prestigious. Anyway, we went through all of this on-boarding stuff in the morning that required us to get photo IDs and figure out parking and all that kind of stuff.
Then after two or three hours, we were introduced to one of the employees in our new department, who began going over what we were going to be doing. None of it seemed overly difficult and I figured that while it was a new system I had never used before, I’d be able to work it out in a few days as long as I asked questions and took notes.
And that was the thing that made me realize that the other person who got hired with me probably lied on her resume and was completely out of her depth. She didn’t take any notes and didn’t ask any questions. And whenever I glanced at her, I could see flashes of panic on her face. In hindsight, it could have only gone one way.
So, lunchtime came, and when we came back, she said that another company had called her and offered her a permanent position and she couldn’t work with us any longer. Both me and the person training us knew what was going on, but I’ll give the other lady credit for finding a way out without losing face too badly. The takeaway here is: Yes, “Fake It Until You Make It” can and does work. But you gotta be able to fake it.
43. Nothing but the Utmost Professionalism
I went for an interview at a “sales company,” whatever that means. I was 17 and just wanted an easy job and thought it would be a door-to-door thing. When I got there, I was surrounded by businessmen in suits, all looking really panicked. I got into the interview and the guy looked really shocked to see me, but I instantly smelled something fishy.
I worked out pretty quickly that it was a (very polished looking) pyramid scheme. When the guy doing the interview started to explain the emphasis on getting results and how the pay worked, I stood up, told him he clearly didn’t pay attention when sorting through the CVs and that it wasn’t for me. I shook his hand and walked out.
On the bus home, I figured out that my shirt was on inside out the whole time. Total professionalism on both sides!
44. Give The Guy a Break
I’m a researcher. Our spaces tend to be filled with random things. My office is decorated with various llama items. A lamp, framed art work, a few stuffed toys, etc. Friends and coworkers get me the items as they know I enjoy it and I tend to display them. A job candidate came and flopped down in a chair, takes a lazy look around and goes, “So, you like sheep, huh.”
He did not get the job.
45. Was An Evening of Weird Fun Worth the Job Opportunity?
Had a guy apply for an entry level post with us recently. His CV was okay, so we offered him an interview. Social media seemed okay too. He never turned up for the interview. A couple of weeks later, there’s a story about him in the local paper. Turned out that he was living at the local boarding house, and was found in the kitchen one morning totally wasted, wearing nothing but a pair of socks.
When a couple of women who also lived there tried to escort him back to his room, he got violent and assaulted them. Given the dates stated in the paper, he didn’t turn up because he’d been in jail at the time of the interview. His resume has now been added to the “do not touch with a ten foot barge pole” section in our filing cabinet.
46. You Are What You Eat
I had put a job posting out on the internet, and a potential candidate reached out to me to have a chat about the role. The role was a senior management position. I told him that my calendar was up to date and that he should book me for whatever time seemed mutually convenient. He booked me for one in the afternoon the following day.
For some reason, he put down his phone number in the “location” section. At 1:02 pm, he hadn’t shown up. So, I tried giving his number a call. He answered and told me that he was waiting in line for his food at a burger place. We began chatting over the phone. He then gets his food and says, “I’m going to crush this burger while we talk.”
He was shocked when he didn’t get a formal interview.
47. Smart Alec
This was a while ago at my old job. This new guy gets hired as a bus boy. He was super annoying and tried to insert himself into everyone’s conversation whether they wanted him there or not. It only took a couple of hours for the whole restaurant to hate him. I was working the bar and he kept eating the bar fruit. I personally didn’t care, but the manager did.
Manager comes over and tells him to stop eating the fruit. His response left me flabbergasted. He looks the manager in the eye and eats another piece of fruit. Manager says “Really?” followed by “Come with me to the office.” New guy promptly replies with “Alright man, calm down” in a really testy, petulant voice. In front of me and like four other employees.
I wanted to slam my face into the ice bin, it was so cringey to witness. He promptly walked out the front door 10 minutes later without his uniform on. The worst thing about it was the manager was an insanely laid back guy. Heck, the whole restaurant was insanely laid back. You really had to try hard to get fired from this place.
Had he not been a total idiot about the reprimand, I’m almost positive he would have just gotten a slap on the wrist and kept the job.
48. No Means No
As a manager, I applied to a position in another company. I met the criteria for the position, have proven experience, good references, and all that. I got a phone call with the HR recruiter person in the local branch (in the UK) where the position would be, and we discussed the position, the type of interview, and I got a great feeling.
A week later, I had a follow-up interview with a manager in the same company, but this guy was located in France. He started going over my CV and despite me having 8+ years of experience in the position, he started telling me that I should apply to a lower position in the company, and tried to direct the conversation towards me accepting one.
I stuck to my guns for nearly 15 minutes saying that no, I was interested in the position I had applied to and wanted to interview for that and not apply to a lower position. He kept insisting, so after those 15 minutes, I just told him to stop, that it was really not his place to tell me what I could apply to or not, and that if he wasn’t going to interview me for the position I had applied to, then that was the end of our conversation.
I then hung up the phone and went on with my life.
49. A Taxing Experience
While working in Human Resources and interviewing job applicants, a guy once came in for an interview wearing sweatpants and a hoodie. He then said that he didn’t need the job because of how much money he was making illegally. He only wanted the job in order to seem more legitimate, so that “the IRS wouldn’t get suspicious” of him. This was particularly weird because I don’t live in the United States. I very much doubt that the IRS cares about Canadian tax returns…
50. Having the FBI Involved Is Always A Good Sign
Oh, I’ve got a good one. We had hired a new entry-level graphic designer. Let’s call him Will. He had talent and a decent portfolio, but there were some strange things right from the beginning. For example he would always come in wearing expensive suits, despite our being a jeans-and-t-shirt office, and his having a very low-paid position. We didn’t care much about that. No clue how he affords that wardrobe, but that’s none of our business.
He’s a designer, and I guess he likes to look nice. The weirdest thing was that he adamantly refused to accept direct deposit for his paycheck. He wanted a physical check every other week. I thought it was strange, but I had no idea how weird it would get. So, one evening we’re all working really late on a project together. We’ve got some bottles of wine around, some pizzas, etc. It’s miserably long hours but we’re a good team and having a good time.
All of a sudden Will looks up from his computer and freaking runs as fast as he can out the door. Not a word to any of us, he just dashes out. We all look at each other, try calling him, etc, with no answer. We finish up the project and go home still wondering what happened. The next day Will doesn’t come into work. He doesn’t come in the next day either. We try calling his emergency contact, but don’t get any response there either.
So we Google him, and make a chilling discovery. We see the FBI press release. Turns out he was arrested about 500 miles from our office a few hours after he ran out. I guess he got a tip that the FBI was onto him and decided to make a run for it. Turns out he had been defrauding payroll companies for years, to the tune of about $1M. That’s why he didn’t want direct deposit for his paycheck.
What he didn’t know was that we processed our physical checks through the same payroll company as our direct deposit, and they reported his new address to the FBI. Oops.
51. Not The Best Hand To Lay Down
I once interviewed a candidate for an intermediate level analyst position. He bragged during the interview that he used to work other office jobs and play poker at the same time. This was in the late 2000s, while online poker was still in its boom. He bragged these things to me as if I, a relatively young professional at the time, would think he was cool.
Perhaps he thought it demonstrated his ability to multitask and still get his job done. I have no idea. Either way, we did not extend him an offer.
52. Gettin’ Freaky
I had a candidate who came in and immediately said how hot my administrative assistant was—but then, it got worse. He asked if she was single or “Open to freaky Fridays.”
53. That’s Just Gross
Tiny bit of back story; I’m an executive secretary and have worked with executives for years. I know my stuff. Prior to the interview, I was asked by his HR team to take a typing test. A typing test. 20 years of EA experience. OK. Rules. I took their test. I crushed their test. I got the interview. The executive came to the interview late with his breakfast in hand—a breakfast burrito stuffed with scrambled eggs and some kind of meat with a side of potatoes.
No problem, I’ve worked with busy executives forever. He starts shoving the food in his mouth, laughs while chewing, and asks if I mind if he eats while we talk because he’s terribly busy. Of course, none of my business how he conducts himself, but I was going to judge him for it. I smiled and said, “not at all.” He basically interviewed me with food in his mouth and I was grossed out.
I took my name out of that ring soon after that.
54. Vigilante Justice
While working with the Human Resources team on interviewing potential candidates for jobs, we had a series of standard questions that we would always ask. One of these standard questions was usually: “What would you do if you were having problems with a coworker?” Typical answers included things like: “I would try and work it out,” or “I would take it to a manager,” etc.
One guy answered with: “I’d take him out back and beat the you-know-what out of him!” Somehow, he was fairly surprised when he didn’t get the job…
55. Under New Management
I owned a construction business, and we recently hired three new employees due to expansion. I didn’t get to meet them yet, as my business partner was the one who interviewed them. He also watched them get started on the first day and would check in on them most mornings. Along with the new hires, we promoted one of our best workers as manager to oversee them.
So after a few days, I noticed that we were behind schedule on the job. This wasn’t all that surprising because we had the new hires, but I decided it was best to go in and check it out to make sure everything was going well. So, I call up my manager and tell him to go to a different site and that I will take over at the place with the new guys.
I arrive at the site a half an hour late due to traffic, and everyone is already hard at work. In fact, they are working efficiently and correctly on everything. I asked them a few questions about what they are doing and so on and get all the right answers. I figured the delay was just the first two days of learning and am very pleased that everything was picked up and seemed to go well.
Now, it is important that at this point I didn’t actually introduce myself and nobody asked who I was, so it seems everyone just assumed that I was just another worker from the company they never met before. So, two hours before we are supposed to finish for the day, I discover something that makes all the problems make sense.
A guy comes over and says, “Hey, just so you know, we’re all gonna head out now, but clock in that we worked the whole day. The manager allows it, and the owners never notice.” So that is the story of how I fired three new hires on the very first day that I met them… and also how I had to fire our best worker. Not a good day for me.
56. Missing The Target
A certain retail store was coming to my country. I was in college and looking for a part-time job. I get called to an interview and there are dozens of people there. They crowd us all into a room where a TV is playing a clip over and over again about how this retailer is so great and that we don’t need a union. Then I get called to a table to interview with a super nice lady.
She likes me and sends me to the second portion of the interview at a different table where there are two men. They ask me a question about a customer looking for a pair of shoes that is out of stock. How can I help this customer? So I give several answers such as: I check to see when the item will be back in stock, see if the item is in stock at a different location, offer a similar product, etc.
They will not accept any of my answers. Both men are laughing at me as I try to come up with answers. Then they add to the scenario, “the item is discontinued, now what do you do?” and laugh more when they notice that they’re annoying me. Eventually, I ask them if there is a correct answer. Their reply was infuriating. They said no and that they simply had no intention of hiring me.
Well, the joke was on them, because all the Canadian stores closed two years later from mismanagement.
57. Harry Potter And The Summary Of Qualifications
I go a resume that listed this under the “Personal Strengths” section: “Ability to summon and command several kinds of mystical creatures.”
58. Web Of Lies
The craziest job application that I ever witnessed was this kid who tried to pass off other people’s work as his own and made up a fake degree that he didn’t actually have. He got caught. But not on the application. No, he got caught in the middle of the actual interview. The kid claimed to have a Master’s degree in the field and to have completed an internship.
During the interview, he repeatedly fumbled even the most basic questions about the field and, as I mentioned, showed us what was clearly someone else’s work as if it was his own. The reason I know that it was not his own work is because he actually at one point slipped up and said, “Oh, I’m sorry about the PowerPoint. My coworker made it.”
My jaw literally dropped when I heard him say that. He was so bad that the other interviewer Slacked me while it was going on, asking if the kid even went to school at all. Extremely confused at how bad this whole thing had gone, I went to his university’s website out of curiosity to see what kind of education produces such a horrible job candidate.
Well, as it turns out, the school on his resume didn’t even offer the degree that he claimed to have had. Yep. That means he completely made up the degree, put it on his resume, and somehow thought that the hiring manager with more than ten years of experience in the field wouldn’t catch it. I gotta say though, that kid had some serious guts to even attempt something as ridiculous as that!
59. Fake It Till You Break It
This engineer my company hired was a PhD and really hit it off with the guys in management. We had some female colleagues working under his direction, and they said he was an absolute jerk, demeaned their work, and blamed them for everything. Now, my colleagues were excellent formulation chemists, and he was brought on to lead a new formulation project and it wasn’t working.
He would tell them how to do it and it never worked, and then he kept blaming them for doing it wrong. My co-worker got fed up and called him on it during a big meeting. They even had a prepared presentation describing what they tried, how thoroughly they tried it, why what he proposed would never work, and an alternative solution.
The guy was so angry, but the management guys were extremely knowledgeable and started asking him questions, and it was clear he couldn’t answer. That’s when all his lies unraveled. Turns out, his wife has a PhD too, and she pretty much did all of his degree work for him, as they were both from a culture where women are not treated equally.
He knew absolutely nothing. Not only that, but once everyone got to talking, it was clear just how massive a jerk this guy was. Sadly, my colleagues had to deal with this for months before everything was said and done.
One applicant listed all of her ex-boyfriends that currently worked at our company, and said she couldn’t wait to see the look on their faces when she showed up as their new co-worker. This was in the first three minutes of the interview. I wasn’t even close to offering this lady the job yet. I cut the interview right there and sent her on her way.
61. Getting a Second Opinion
While I was working in Human Resources for a large investment bank, I was interviewing a lady for a job. Throughout the entire interview, each and every time I asked her a question, the lady would pull out a Barbie doll and whisper the question to it before giving me an answer. It was as if she had to consult the doll and get its opinion before deciding what to say.
62. Does Not Compute
While working in Human Resources, one of the candidates I was interviewing for a job via Skype. He answered the phone while in his boxers and a tank top, then stood up to grab his blazer, which was probably about three feet away. I had to see him in his stretched out underwear, which was totally appropriate. But that’s not even close to the worst part.
He had an adult site up and open during a shared screen trial (to see how well he could use the digital classroom). I had to remind him that I could see his screen. He just said, “Oh yeah, sorry.” Then, instead of simply closing the window from the corner of his partially hidden window, he clicked open the window into full view. Only then did he close it.
That was nice. No, he did not get the job.
63. Hoping For A Casual Work Environment
In their cover letter, one job applicant once wrote: “I have a 2011 Toyota Corolla,” and: “I keep things organized with STICKERS!!!” The caps and multiple exclamation marks were all included. Shortly after that one, we had a different girl apply for the job who completely ignored the instructions asking everyone to apply online.
She literally just showed up off the street in jeans and a baseball cap and asked if we were still hiring. When we said yes, she threw her arms up in the air like Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune and shouted, “Here I am!” My coworkers later told me that the look on my face was priceless when I heard her say that. Don’t you just wonder how some people make it through life?
64. Looking For Trouble
This happened last week. This new girl is hired, and right off the bat she starts telling me that she regrets taking this job, despite being unemployed for four months, because there are so many new people so it must be a bad job because of the high turnover. For one, this is not really true. A large company just bought us, and they are hiring more people because we have more business.
She then tells us all about how it’s her birthday and she’s going drinking after work. Well, she does a no call no show the next day, which is her third day. We all assume she quit. But the next day, we’re in for a surprise. She comes in and starts just trying to work like nothing happened. The supervisor asked what happened, and she said she got in a minor car accident.
He asked why she didn’t call, and she said she doesn’t have a cell phone…despite being on her cell phone constantly in the office. He decided to give her one more chance, but gave her a lecture about how she needs to communicate properly about missing work, and one more incident will be an automatic firing. Next day, no call no show.
65. Heads Up, Toilet Seat Down
My manager was laughing uncontrollably one day. I asked him what was up, and he just held up a resume, unable to speak through the laughter. The first comment on the resume said: “Please do not drug test me.”
66. Hobo Secrets
I worked as a manager at an ice cream store in high school and staffed the store with other high schoolers. One day, a middle-aged man who was the epitome of a drifter—face tattoos, beat up leather clothes, and a big knife on his belt—came in and asked for an application. I obviously wasn’t going to say “no,” so I handed him one. He proceeded to fill it out in store, and handed it in.
His previous work experience said it all. He’d worked in a liquor store for two weeks about ten years before. Reason for leaving? Got in a fight with his manager. His job before that: liquor store 14 years prior, lasted a week. Reason for leaving: fight with his manager. I told him that we weren’t hiring right now, which we weren’t, but that I would keep his application on file and would call him if something opened up.
Sadly, I never got to hire him and learn his secrets.
67. The Three Strikes
I interviewed a guy who in the interview did all three no-nos. First, he commented that I was a woman, and asked if I was, “Actually his boss, or just an HR desk clerk?” Second, he asked if we drug tested, and if so, could he take it in, “Like a week, because I should pass then.” When I said that we are business casual, his response was, “Well, you will need to provide me with pants, since I only own jeans.”
I didn’t hire him. I am still baffled when I think of how bad of an applicant he was.
68. There Are So Many Creative Ways to Be Unprofessional
Some years ago, I was interviewing a whole bunch of internal candidates for a job at our location. The job posting asked for a copy of your last review and for a letter of interest, basically a cover letter. We have computers and printers available for any employee to use, but one woman in her 40s, who was pretty intelligent overall, made a…strange decision.
She decided for some reason to handwrite her letter of interest on a scrap piece of 5”x7” ripped paper. Umm, what in the world? Why would you do that? The kicker was that she wrote in the letter something along the lines of, “I bet nobody else took the time to write a personal handwritten letter.” Gotta give her an A for effort at trying to spin it into a positive?
69. Well I’m Glad to Hear You Finally Learned Your Lesson
I hired a girl, she interviewed well. First day she threw up some red flags, but I figured I was misjudging or misinterpreting. People start missing money and one of my belongings disappears, which had never happened prior to her hiring. She was also insulting everyone and making customers uncomfortable and I wanted her gone (less than four full weeks from her start date) but didn’t want to pay unemployment.
Finally we do a search—arrest records in multiple states involving domestic violence and theft. She ended up saying she could “just rape” one of my barely legal employees so I fired her for sexual harassment. Lesson learned: CHECK EVERYONE OUT NO MATTER HOW WELL THEY INTERVIEW!
70. Let’s Pull Out The World’s Smallest Violin
I was hiring for our late night shift (shifts ending at 2am/3am) and she was willing to work anything and looking for about 25 hours per week. This was absolutely what the company was looking for. She had mentioned that she was “grieving for her little boy who passed two weeks ago and needed to do something to occupy her time.”
She finished her one day of computer training and stopped showing up. Later in the week she sent me an email stating that she “wasn’t ready to come back to work like she’d thought,” which was understandable. My assistant manager and I decided to look her up only to make a jaw-dropping discovery. This deranged woman was a complete liar.
She had multiple GoFundMe pages set up for her sob story with different amounts of time that the supposed child had been dead for. Her facebook was full of selfies and party photos. She ended up asking for the job back a few months later and we shot her down pretty quick. I’ve recently googled her name and found that all the GoFundMe pages have been taken down and her social media profiles deleted/privatized.
71. Casual Mondays
I worked for a small company in LA for many years. I was on the board that interviewed for a new intern for the recreation department. We went through the process, made our choice, and made the job offer to a nice, smart girl fresh out of college. She was a little bit of a hippy, casual, relatable, but it was all fine, and all accepted.
Well, the girl showed up with her gigantic pet PYTHON wrapped around her neck on the first day. She took “casual” to a whole new level, right back out the door. We hired candidate #2 instead.
72. An Acquaintance in Need Is a Friend Indeed
Back when I was in high school, I worked part-time at a gas station as both a cashier and a backup cook. One of the local substance users and high school dropouts decided one day that he wanted to apply to work alongside me. I gave him a job application to fill out. He put me down as a reference even though I didn’t really know him too well.
He filled the application out right then and there, right in front of me, and then walked out of the store. He spelled my name completely wrong, despite the fact that I was wearing a name tag right in front of him. He did not end up getting the job. Mostly because he had the F word casually tattooed across his knuckles…
73. Sister, Can You Spare a Position?
Not for a job, but back in college I was interviewing girls to join our sorority. On their way in, we’d hand them a pamphlet or flier with general information about the organization. This information included things like dues, our philanthropy, our mascot, etc. The idea was that they’d take it home with them and read it after. That is not what ended up happening in one girl’s case.
Instead, this girl immediately started looking at the pamphlet and quizzing me on it. She would put it up to her chest so that I couldn’t see the answers, and then ask me what our flower was or what year our organization was originally founded. It was absolutely baffling. I didn’t get a chance to ask her any questions, because she spent the entire time of our interview asking me about information on a flier that I myself had typed up.
This was something like twenty years ago, and I still have no idea what happened. Did she think that this was what the interview was for? Did she not want to join and just decided to have some fun with me? But if she didn’t want to join, she could have just turned the invitation down on her end. Maybe she thought she was being funny?
When all was said and done, she did not get in. Soon after, she ended up joining another sorority. I wanted so badly to ask the people from that sorority whether she had done the same thing to them too. But unfortunately, I had no way of knowing who she would have talked to on their side. Either way, that interview was probably one of the strangest interactions I’ve ever had with another human being.
A few years ago, I was hiring for a new graphic designer. The guy didn’t have much working experience and was a little odd, but I liked his portfolio, so I decided to interview him anyway. The whole interview was bizarre, but ended with the question “What do you think are your weaknesses?” He replied, “Ummm, to be honest, I have some pretty violent tendencies.”
75. Call Him for Round Two!
I had a guy show up 40 minutes early for an interview, obviously crazy nervous. 30 minutes later, me and my team greet the guy, and you could tell by the fantastic handshake the nerves were still there, and that it was not going to go well. I motioned him to the board room to do the interview, we sat down, and before I had even asked the first question, he had barfed all over the table.
The funny thing was, he was one of the better applicants, so he did get a callback.
76. Dress For The Job You Want
This was a moving company, in the mid-west. Most people didn’t make it through the first week, as they will hire literally anyone who can pass a substance test. Turnover was really bad, but I guess that’s the nature of the job. Still, I’ll never forget Jeremy. Jeremy was 18 and did not apply for colleges, so his parents made him get a job.
He was hired as a mover, as is everyone. He shows up the first day to roll-call in a full suit and tie asking where his desk is. This was a group full of former convicts, high school dropouts, and generally rough dudes trying to make a living. We laughed so hard. Jeremy went right back home. Next day, Jeremy’s mom shows up to give the manager a piece of her mind. We laughed even harder.
77. Unofficial Credentials
Although not right at the interview, I had applied for a lot of companies in a short time frame a while back. I got an interview for one and started giving myself a crash course in the company so I could answer questions like “Why do you want to work here?” They had some “Best 100 companies to work for” award on their website from Forbes, or some other business publication.
“Cool,” I think. I try to click on the icon to verify it. Nothing, just a JPEG, no link. Okay, well they screwed up the website design, no biggie, I’m just going to head over to that group’s website and check it out. It’s not on there either. That’s when I made a disturbing realization: they had literally added an award they didn’t earn to their website to try to get people to want to work there.
Holy red flags, I was already sitting in their waiting room so I just sort of bombed the interview and walked out not caring.
78. All or Nothing with His Responses
During one job interview that I was conducting, things got interesting right off the bat. On the very first question that I asked him, the candidate started rambling on and on about an argument that he had with his mother that morning. It was something to do with how she thinks that he’s too quiet but he’s actually just deep in thought all the time.
He also added that he absolutely HATES it when anyone interrupts his thinking, because then he apparently has to start all over again. This bizarre rant went on for a full ten minutes as he got progressively more and more upset as he went along. He eventually ended his rant with a loud and angry slam of his hand on the table.
Ohh kaaay then, moving on. We ask him the second question, and he just sits there staring at the wall. The other interviewer and I exchange desperate glances at one another. After the longest minute I’ve ever experienced in my life, I offer that we can come back to that question later. He lets out a long and frustrated sigh, He then just glares at us and doesn’t say another word. He did not get the job…
79. Dishonest Mistake
She was hired because the manager thought she was hot. Turned out she was 15 and unable to actually work there.
80. A Family Man
This was 17 years ago, but when I was 21 I had a second, part-time, job delivering pizzas for Papa John’s. One day, I was waiting for some deliveries when the store manager walked out of his office with a job application and taped it to the wall. He then said, “Does anybody here think we should hire this guy?” Back then, in my state, a job application could ask if you were a convicted felon. A law has since passed making this illegal, unless it is directly relevant for the job.
On this guy’s application, where it asked if you were a convicted felon, he answered yes. After that, it asks a follow-up question: “If answering yes, please explain.” This guy wrote, “I slept with my cousin.” He was not hired.
81. Hostile Takeover Attempt
We had a near miss… one senior hire. We were talking about him and how something seemed a little off when we googled him. It was like he didn’t exist at all and the odd super positive tidbit of information that was always a bit too much of a stretch to be completely believable. I mean one or two people saying you’re the best thing on earth is one thing but this was like all you got were these sporadic and hyper, manic observations.
One of the junior members of the team pipes up at this point. She’s overheard what we’re talking about, and she has a bombshell for us. Turns out she’s worked the last two places he’s worked and he’s like a locust. He’s extremely good at his job but an absolute nightmare in all other ways. Harassment, bullying, turning up wasted. He has a really niche skill set, there are always more roles than people to fill them so he hops along, bullies everyone out of their role in his team, and brings in his entourage to the point where almost anyone normal rage quits because the atmosphere is so toxic.
Then when HR try and step in he hits them with a constructive dismissal case and drags lawyers in so there’s no paper trail. She said he’d done it at her last job and the one before. It’s one of those things that once you know, you start to notice stuff. So at events when somebody mentioned this guy’s name half the table would just give each other a look and the others would have no idea. It’s not quite an open secret but it’s definitely on the grapevine anecdotally if not formally.
Glad we dodged that bullet.
82. This Is Probably Something She Doesn’t Want To Advertise…
I worked at two ad agencies in a row, and in NYC, ad agencies can tend to be a bit incestuous—everyone knows everyone because they’ve all moved around from ad agency to ad agency. At the first agency I worked for, one of the senior account people was this complete crazy lady. She was totally nuts, with real anger issues on top of it.
During one incident, the toner cartridge in the printer ran out while she was printing something important. So rather than just change the cartridge out like a normal person would, she freaked out, almost tore the top off the printer to get at the cartridge, and then threw the cartridge across the room at her assistant’s head (who luckily ducked in time). Her assistant quit, and the boss lady was fired shortly after.
I also quit about six months later and wound up at a new agency, where about a year after that, the old assistant who almost got her head lopped off interviewed with us. She didn’t get the job, which was a shame, because she really was good.
One month later, who should show up but the former boss lady, interviewing at our agency for a senior account position. Before my boss even got to her, I scooted into her office, shut the door, and was like, “Ohhhh, no no no no—I know her from the last agency I was at. She’s got a total rage problem; she almost brained her assistant with a toner cartridge that she winged at her head!”
My boss took that very much into consideration, and she wound up not being hired.
83. Sometimes You CAN Fake It
Not an employer, sorry. However, I did get to see the resume of a man applying for a high school art teaching position. It was in one of those fonts that looks like Comic Sans but isn’t—the letters alternated rainbow colors. On the front was his Bitmoji. I wish I was joking. In his portfolio—this school took its art program seriously and expected all art teachers to be practicing artists—he had several very bad paintings.
The kind of stuff eighth graders make with leftover paint. No attention to concept, color, or composition whatsoever. No technical skills. He had an “abstract watercolor” that was VERY CLEARLY shapes he had filled in with marker. Best of all, his last piece—the big finish—was a wire tree sculpture. The same wire tree sculptures all kids in Art I are required to make at this school. It wasn’t any better than the average one made by students.
All members of the art faculty emailed or spoke directly to the principal to express how dreadful this guy would be if allowed into the program.
He was hired.
84. An Impressive Journey
Slightly off-topic but relevant. I heard we’d hired a new guy and so I looked him up on LinkedIn. Turns out he was just leaving a job where my father-in-law worked. I sent Pops a text and asked him about the new hire and opinions on him, and didn’t get an answer. When I went for dinner the following weekend, I asked again. Turns out this new hire said he was leaving his former job to go and take care of his ailing mother in Africa.
His former company said to not worry about it. Take an unpaid leave, and come back when you can, however long it takes. I went in on Monday and told my boss. He didn’t fire him immediately, but when he didn’t perform well in his job after a couple of months, he got canned… And then proceeded to go back to his former company and tell them he was back from Africa. They did not rehire him.
85. He Had The Wrong Idea
A guy was once interviewing for a front end designer position where I work. He listed that he’d worked on more than 1,200 websites at his current workplace where he was an IT tech. He explained that he was currently trying to transition to design or development. Obviously, I had to know the specifics of what he did on those projects.
Turned out he was just counting all of the WordPress deployments that his coworkers had done the actual design work on. And I use the word “design” very loosely. I’m pretty sure they just reused existing templates with minimal custom work. All this guy really did was manage the plugin and theme updates. In fact, he played only a minor role in all of the projects that he had listed.
I already went into that interview pretty annoyed because my boss was ready to hire the guy based on a recommendation from a mutual friend alone. I remember asking him some basic design questions. For each one, he either couldn’t answer or insisted that he’d learn once he started the job. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any dedicated designers at that point.
Because of this, my boss was going to hire him as the lead designer. I told him I’m just a full stack developer doing all the design work because we didn’t have anyone on staff for it, and we really needed to hire someone that knew a lot more than me when that’s what they do. He looked so dejected I felt kinda bad for him.
I told my boss privately that this guy was just going to eat up all our time because he needed so much training. I also let him know that I simply didn’t have the time for that. My boss had probably told him that the interview was just a formality, but I was so against it that he ended up not hiring him. Instead, he gave him six months to catch up on his education and promised to hire him then if there was progress made.
My boss had already moved to a different position before that happened.
86. A True Work Of Art
I once had a fella call me up to inquire about an artist position that we had available. When he showed up for the interview, he just threw his portfolio on the desk and said, “My work speaks for itself.” His portfolio was a three-ring scrapbook, to which he had haphazardly taped a bunch of blurry, black and white photos of a bunch of paintings.
Many of the photographed paintings were awful. Then there were a few good ones, which I immediately recognized as my own. This guy had literally taken pictures of my paintings that had been featured in magazines around that time and was trying to present them as his own work. I pointed this out to him and he immediately became upset.
At first, he tried to deny it. Then, he tried to backtrack by saying that they were in there as “inspiration.” I pulled the pictures out of the “portfolio” and threw them into the trash. I followed that up with a brief and belittling statement about ethics, law, and the possibility of accidental injury should he continue such actions. I then happily showed him the door. Good times!
87. Calling All Cars
Entry-level call center positions have really high turnaround, so when posted there are usually several positions to fill for a training class. A guy once applied for a position at the place where I work, and he listed his female “supervisor” from his previous job as one of his references. He had apparently just moved to our town from the next town over.
After he had his interview with us, the “supervisor” who he had listed also happened to apply for the same job. We immediately recognized the name. On her resume, her position at the previous job was not listed as a supervisor. It was actually listed as the exact same position as the guy had himself had. They also had both listed the exact same address as one another. That when I finally realized what was happening.
Turns out she was actually his wife. On his resume, he had used her first name and maiden name. On hers, she used a hyphenated last name. They both had the exact same phone number and email address. It was all so blatantly obvious. To make matters even worse, I’m pretty sure that his second reference was really his father.
I even gave him the benefit of the doubt at first, not wanting to make assumptions. I actually called her for a reference just to see what she would say. She pretended to not have spoken to the guy in the two weeks since he had left his previous job. She also pretended to still work there, despite her having just submitted a resume to us stating that she was no longer working there.
How stupid do people out there think other people really are?! Like, just be honest! Yeah, that’s my man, we moved here together and both left the other place for such and such reason. What is the big deal? And like they really think it wouldn’t come out eventually that you are husband and wife if you both did get the job? Neither of them got the job in the end, and the wife didn’t even get an interview as a result of this fiasco.
88. It’s A Small World After All
Not the hiring manager but I was the intern responsible for checking references and running backgrounds at our company and this was in my first week where I was just learning how to go about things. This guy did great in the interview so I got the go ahead to run a background check and call his references. Something popped up in his background so I had to call the authorities to figure out how to get a copy of the report since whatever went down had just happened.
I talked to someone on the phone and gave them his name and who I was and what I was calling for. After doing so, whoever I was talking to didn’t know how to go about obtaining the information on her end. She put me on a brief hold then took a call back number and promised to call me back with some info.
Well, it’s a good thing neither of us knew what to do because I received a chilling call from the local department less than an hour later. An officer told me “I’m really not supposed to be doing this but I just wanted to let you know that interview guy had been taken in for carjacking a woman and that woman works at your company.”
He saw the company name and the guy’s name and warned us. I’m so grateful too.
89. No Shame, No Fear, And Sadly, No Regrets
Years ago at my previous company a few co-workers met a young man interested in a software development position with us at a local trade conference and invited him to come interview with us later that afternoon. Said fellow eagerly provided the link to his blog. When I read it, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Top post was about being recently released on probation after a stint for illicit drug sales, and how his upstream supplier was kind enough to front him some startup capital to resume his little side gig, as his previous stash was confiscated by law enforcement.
Co-workers and I decided to read a few more posts just to make sure we didn’t confuse him for the wrong guy and inadvertently got the wrong link. Sure enough, a few photos in some older posts confirmed it was the same guy. We managed to get little additional work done in the rest of the afternoon between speculation as to when his apparent commitment to full public disclosure would land himself back in the clink and whether we ought to even mention having checked out his blog.
We all had to try very hard to keep a straight face when he did come in for his interview. He actually was reasonably knowledgeable when it came to the job, and somehow we managed to completely avoid the question of his side gig in recreational pharmaceutical sales. We gave him an A+ for honesty, and a F for good sense.
He was not extended an offer for employment.
90. They Say That You Don’t Get Here By Being A Nice Guy
I was in the waiting room for an interview and one of the partners came up to the front and just started yelling at the receptionist, not realizing I was sitting there. I waited politely and when the interviewer to get me a few moments later I just told him I was no longer interested and left. I dodged a bullet there for sure.
91. I’m Back
I work for our state government’s IT department. The guy we fired for not being able to do his job at all later applied for the same job in another area of the state, that, unbeknownst to him, was now merged with the area he got fired from. Where I was on the interview panel. He listed all of my coworkers’ and my projects and achievements as his own, took credit for all of our work, and claimed he was let go when the project was shut down, not fired.
He didn’t get an interview. But I really wanted to just to see the look on his face.
92. Aiming for the Top
In this case, it wasn’t really anything on the resume or application itself. It was what came after that made things very entertaining. We were hiring for a call center position in my department. This one man passed the phone interview, done by the CEO of the company, and was told to come in for a face to face interview with the managers of the department.
He shows up and answers a few questions before asking what job he was applying for at the company. I replied that it was for a call center position, and he immediately looked disappointed. He then began asking if there were any other positions open. There were not any others open at the time. I began to wrap up the interview and I asked him about his past experience.
He says that he has always worked in upper management. Then, he asks the wildest question I’ve ever heard: “Are you guys hiring a CEO position at the company?” Umm, no dude. You literally talked with our CEO during the phone interview. That position is very much filled. Thanks. I ended the interview after that part. It was one of the worst interviews that I have ever been through. He was unbelievably unprepared and applying for an entry-level position.
93. She Has Her Pros and Cons
I was head of HR for an answering service company at one point in my life. Staff turnover was atrocious and most of the resumes that came through were from people that had zero job history or were chronic job hoppers. Imagine my surprise when Renee’s resume crossed my desk. With the exception of a ten year gap on her resume, she appeared to be an ideal candidate.
And then I found the articles from a newspaper about two hours away. That ten year gap? Serving time for kidnapping and murder…with an axe. A freaking axe murderer. I hired her and as far as I know, she’s still working there. Model employee. Strong work ethic. Positive attitude. 10/10. Would hire an axe murderer again.
94. Stampede of One
I was too young and inexperienced to see the red flags ahead of time. The guy who called to set up the “interview” was not in HR. Strike one. The “interview” was at 7 pm. Strike two. When I got there, I realized it was a group “interview” with like 10-15 other people. Strike three. I should have turned around and walked out then, but again, I was young and naive (or dumb) and still thought maybe it was somehow legit. The “interview” started and the only question any of us was asked was our names.
Then the guy goes right into basically what I know now to have been an MLM presentation, talking about how all of us can help each other and him make money, while advising clients, etc. I sat through the initial 45-minute presentation and then the guy said something like, “If this great opportunity doesn’t sound like a fit for you, you’re free to go now before we start the sign-up and training.”
I stayed put for a second, not wanting to be the first in what I assumed would be a stampede out the door. Apparently, I waited too long and the guy started to talk again, so when I got up to leave, it was super awkward with everyone watching me since I was the only one to take off.
95. “Why Did I Say That?”
I was an interviewee for a job in a record shop, very young and naive, just turned 19. They called me for a short phone interview and I did well enough for them to ask me to come in for a work trial the next day. I could have said, “I’m afraid I can’t attend that day; would it be possible to reschedule?” But nope. I don’t think well on my feet.
Instead, I said the dumbest thing possible: “I can’t come in tomorrow because I’m working, but I can call in sick there if you like?” Surprisingly, I didn’t get it, the manager said he would call “another time to reschedule” and then I got a rejection letter a few days later. I still cringe when I think about that one!
96. Got It All Wrong
Videogame testing is many people’s dream job, and we don’t look for much at entry-level. If they are trainable and not a shmuck, that’s basically the bar. “Describe a scenario where an art bug is more important to fix than a crash,” I asked the interviewee. Their reply? “Lara Croft’s breasts are wrong.” All I could say was: “Thanks for your time.”
97. There’s the Door
I’ve only been part of the job interviewing process once, and this one applicant was a disaster. Right off the bat after she meets me and the business owner, she proceeds to make a joke about semen. The interview lasted two hours, ninety-percent of which was her telling us her life story. She swore multiple times. She used a racial slur when referring to one of the lecturers from the university we both attended.
On top of that, she interrupted me when I spoke. She also did not answer interview questions. She just kept talking about her childhood. She then told us about two people/organizations she is busy suing. Needless, to say, she did not get the job.
98. That’s My Wife You’re Talkin’ About!
We were hiring for a process support role through a staffing agency earlier this year. The candidate comes in, we do the whole tell-me-about-yourself dance, and I dig in with some situational questions. One of the questions dealt with how they had handled joining a new team with strong, sometimes conflicting personalities.
Their reply: “Oh sure. I dealt with that before. You know, I’m not racist, BUT…” The candidate then proceeded to make racist comments about the ethnic group my wife is from. They didn’t get hired.
99. Sorry, You’re Not Tall Enough to Get on the Ride Called: Employed
Oh goodness, I had one girl where it seemed clear was only there because her parents wanted her to get a job. I’m sitting there, attempting to make conversation. I hire for a fast-casual restaurant, so it’s not like I need their life story. It’s nearly impossible for me to get this girl to have more than a one or two-word response. I’m to the point where I’m about to be done with this girl and just tell her to leave.
Then the store owner walks up to the table. She often sits in on interviews and asks questions that I don’t think to ask. She walks up and introduces herself as the store owner, “Hello, my name is [redacted], how are you?” Her response? “Wow, you’re tall.”
100. “Eh, Glad I Made It on Time.”
I went to hire a girl for a restaurant I was managing. She showed up for the interview and seemed really off, like she was on something or had had a few drinks. A short while later, the cops showed up asking who’s badly damaged vehicle was in the parking lot and questioned some kitchen staff. That’s when things really got out of hand.
The next thing you know, she sees the cops and bolts to the bathroom. The police had to go in and grab her. When they searched her, they found a half-empty bottle of vodka and some pills of some sort. She was arrested and escorted out of the restaurant. Apparently, on her way to the interview, she sideswiped another vehicle.
Needless to say, we never saw her again.
101. A Suspicious Sell
The company said it was an entry-level marketing position. Red flag number one was that like 35 people were there to interview and all were either recent college graduates like myself or recent immigrants. Red flag number two was that each interview was done in pairs, “because that’s how you’ll be working.” Red flag number three was when the interviewer said that everyone in the company is expected to become a manager of about 10 people a year after being hired.
The place did not seem like a company undergoing that kind of exponential growth. And finally, after repeatedly asking different variations of “What exactly do you do here?” and getting “we protect our clients’ brands” as the answer, the interviewer finally clarified that it was “face-to-face direct marketing” AKA sales.
When the interview was over, I thanked the interviewer for their time, walked out, went to a Wendy’s with my brother for lunch, and promptly emailed them saying I was no longer interested. As for the final red flag? They refused to take no for an answer, and sent me three emails a day and called me twice a day for the next week trying to get me to come in for a second round of interviews.
102. Phoning It In
One day, this kid came into the liquor store that I work at looking for a job. He was kind of a jerk and was demanding a job application, so I just gave him one to chill him out. He decided he’d fill it out at our counter, with our pen, and then proceeded to ask me what other stores were around in the area so that he could put them down as a previous job.
Umm, what? You want to lie on your application about working at another store to my face? Idiot. Once he left, I immediately threw the application into the garbage. Oh, and he stole our pen. But the plot thickens…About a week later, he comes back in, says he just got fired from another store in our shopping plaza, and asks me once again if we’d hire him.
I asked him why he got fired from the other store, and he said that it was because his boss was a jerk. Why was his boss a jerk? For refusing to let him play Candy Crush on his cell phone while he was working behind the counter. His boss fired him on the spot. It was his first day on the job. How freaking stupid can you be?
103. Better Late Than Never?
I run a weld shop. Generally speaking, I don’t give a hoot about my employees’ past history, tattoos, or anything like that. As long as you’re here on time every day and do a good job, you’re golden as far as I’m concerned. I’ll look past a lot on a resume. One morning, I check my emails and see a reply to a Craigslist job listing that I had posted about a month prior.
In the very first line of his cover letter, the applicant asks, “Do you guys test for substance use?” Okay, whatever. Most of my guys are on something. I reply back and tell him that no, it’s not our company policy to give mandatory substance tests to all our employees. About an hour later, I get his resume. The dude had absolutely zero welding experience.
Now, this isn’t necessarily a problem in and of itself. To be perfectly honest, some of my best guys have come in with no experience. But this particular resume, if you can even call it that, had only one job written on it. Taco Bell. After ignoring the resume and giving the guy a chance, he shows up about two days late for his interview.
The guy was very clearly intoxicated out of his mind. This dude was probably about 35 years old. He insisted on still being given an interview. I had to very kindly tell him to screw off. He started crying. Like full on anger-weeping right in front of me as if I had just attacked his mother. We had to literally drag the dude out of the office.
Eventually, he wiped away his tears, got on his bicycle, and screamed a mouthful of profanities at us as he pedaled away.
104. Role Reversal
I have a story from the other side of the desk. When I showed up for my interview the hiring manager was not there. I was told he was “out sick” but I could interview with his backup. Halfway through the interview the office starts buzzing with activity. Whispers of an emergency were circulating and the “sick” manager’s name is part of the emergency.
We wrapped up the interview early and I went home. Later that day I googled his name and learned the horrible truth. He wasn’t sick. He had turned himself in that morning for shooting/killing his baby’s mother. The bullet also grazed the baby but didn’t cause serious injury. The silver lining to this incredibly dark cloud? I got the job.
105. In an Office Far, Far Away
First post because I had to share this. Interviewing for a call-center position. Got an application where the cover letter said something like this: “Ever since I was a young girl, when people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up I replied “Darth Vader.” Since galactic evil icon is not available at the moment, I decided to settle for less and apply for your company.”
It then went on with a well-written and normal explanation of why she wanted to work for our company but then in the end she finished it this way: “If they ever take me for Darth Vader I will go, as that is my dream job, but be assured, your company will be the last one I destroy with my Death Star.” We hired her.
Writing With Hope
106. Bad Math Strikes Again
It was a sales position at an air filter company. He liked me enough to start talking salary, which is where I noped out. Basically, it was a ridiculously complicated system where I could make up to a certain amount, but really realistically, I’d be making less than minimum wage. He kind of got red-faced and angry when I kept saying, “But wait, this means I’ll be making like $5/hour. I must not be understanding this right because you advertised this position as $40k/year. Can you explain? Am I missing something?”
Basically, he would rope people in with bad math and false promises and when they didn’t make any money, he’d say that they’d agreed to it. They’d quit and the cycle would begin again. Once this became clear, I politely declined and left.
107. Lady, Get Over Him Already
I used to manage a group home for developmentally disabled adults. I was in charge of hiring the staff that we needed to make the house run properly. I saw a name come across my desk that I had to interview and I instantly looked them up. Turns out, this was a girl that had an obsessive crush on me from years ago and, based on her social media, she still did.
I was in a panic, because she was basically stalking everything I did, and I really couldn’t back out because it was five minutes before the interview. She came in, and it was so weird… she acted normal. We interviewed in a professional manner for about 15 minutes, I showed her around, and I thought, “Wow, maybe she has done some maturing and just let it go.”
Then we got back to my office. I started a sentence like, “Well, (name), it’s been a pleasure having you here and I-……”
“Oh, no no no, we aren’t done yet. You think you can ignore everything like you don’t know what’s going on?! I know where you work, now. I know where you live, and I’m going to keep calling.” There was more she was saying along the lines of me telling her to kindly leave, but a phone call to the police, as well as a restraining order kept her away from work and my life.
108. Times Have Changed
Tonight, a guy walks into my family’s convenience store to buy a pack of smokes. I know him from my days growing up here, and he and his younger brother used to give me a hard time. They were real bullies, hateful types who encouraged others to pick on me and even to turn violent against me. I hated him and his family for ruining a part of my childhood.
He was unusually friendly tonight, smiling at me and cracking cheesy jokes that I smiled politely at but didn’t really respond to. He counted his money with his damaged hand, which had been partially blown in half by fireworks a few years ago. I gave him his items and his change, said thanks, and went about my business. But that’s where it all changed.
Before leaving, he stops, hesitates for a moment, and turns around to ask me if there are any job openings at the store. While I had heard him correctly, it was almost as if the words didn’t register in my mind, so I asked him to repeat himself. He asks again, “You wouldn’t happen to have any jobs available, would you?”
I explain that we’re sufficiently staffed at the moment, and that with my sister and me around for the summer, we wouldn’t be needing anyone else to fill in the hours. I told him to ask again in the Fall, when I’d return to university. He said that it was okay, but that he needed something now….because his wife had just left him.
He said thanks anyways and walked out. Memories of him being a jerk flashed around in my head, and through these a clearer picture began to form. When he had just graduated high school, his parents broke up in a massive way, leaving a fractured home for his younger siblings to grow up in. Sometime in his life, he experienced his hand being blown apart by an explosive.
He had amounted to very little, and his marriage was falling apart. And now, he had come asking for a job from the local kid he used to make fun of and claim superiority over based on my mixed-race background. Realizing this didn’t feel good. I should have enjoyed it, but I didn’t. While I don’t feel bad for him, not in the slightest, I don’t feel like any kind of justice was served.
If the universe is truly neutral toward what is right and wrong, then this was just the way that life played out for someone who did a lot of harm to people in his time. He could have been rich, he could have been powerful, he could have kept the use of both of his hands. But it didn’t turn out that way. Karma had nothing to do with it, there was no justice.
What occurred to me is that I’m not at all connected to this place anymore, this village where I grew up, not even to the pain and harsh memories that stayed with me for years. I’ve become my own person, capable of, at least on some level, sympathizing even with the scum of the universe that tormented my childhood. I have also all but forgotten about the painful memories that followed me well into my twenties as echoes from the past.
109. So Much for Privacy Settings
I was interviewing for a big promotion at my old job. I had put in the time, the hours, and the effort for this promotion, and I had been passed up a few times, so I was sending out resumes while trying to get this promotion. I go through the first interview, and everything seemed great. They invited me for the second interview.
I was so excited. Flash forward two days, and I go in for the interview. The interview is with the regional and site managers. Everything is going great, they are asking me, “What are your priorities, goals, etc.” At the end, the site manager changes his posture and says, “Would you say that you’re a loyal employee?”
Taken aback, I say, of course, I’ve been here almost two years, etc. And like a shark circling his prey, this dude turns his computer monitor around, and shows me my PRIVATE Facebook posts that I posted that I was in the market for a job in the same field. Now, there’s no way he could have seen this, as it was a friends-only post.
Someone I work with had to have tattled on me here. He then proceeds to read them to me out loud, not only the posts about my job search, but personal posts about my health situation and questions that I didn’t bring up to anybody other than personal friends. I look at the regional manager and this guy won’t look me in the eyes, he is shifting, obviously uncomfortable.
I tried to say that I was looking just in case this promotion didn’t work out, as I am a college student paying my way through school, but he kept interrupting me and saying, “Loyalty is key.” He then tells me, “We will think about it,” and points toward the door. The regional manager kind of coughs and goes to shake my hand, but by that point, I was already out the door.
So I said “Thanks anyway,” and then proceed to have the most uncomfortable walk back to my desk—I was wearing heels for the first time in like a year so I stumbled on my way out the door—with coworkers asking for the details if I got the promotion. I didn’t get the job. I think the whole thing was just an “in your face” type deal.
I went on to get a promotion in a different department. I worked there for about another year and a half, and then I moved on to work for Netflix, actually. So, it all worked out! That manager was unfortunately promoted to regional, but the replacement manager was much nicer and not a huge jerk.