Job hunting can be intense and stressful under any circumstances—but sometimes, it can be so much worse. From questionable conduct by interviewers to details that weren’t quite as advertised, some red flags probably shouldn’t be ignored. Here are 50 true stories about people who were so unimpressed by their potential future employers that they decided to cut their own interviews short!
I was interviewing for a management position, running a mail room. It was something I’d done twice before. All the standard questions were asked. I felt like it was going well. Then, he suddenly says to me, “I’m hearing a lot of ‘I’ from you. I’m concerned, because we are all about the team here at this company, and not the individual.”
The heck? It’s a job interview! And you’re concerned that I am answering questions you have asked specifically about me, with answers that address your questions about me?? That’s utterly nonsensical. I don’t even remember how I responded, but I knew I didn’t want to deal with his stupid semantic word and mind games, which I was sure I’d only seen the surface of.
So I steered us right into concluding the interview, and I left. But that wasn’t all. I also made a subtle show of taking back the copies of my resume that I had brought with me.
I moved to a new city, and tried finding a job in my preferred area. I went to an interview where I sat down with two well-polished ladies, who were the company owners. One of the women said, "Glad you could make it! Now, before we really begin, I see where you were being paid X amount per hour at your last job. I'm sorry, but we can't afford to pay you that much."
I immediately smiled, stood right back up, and said, "Thank you for not further wasting any of my time." The shocked look on both their faces was priceless as I skedaddled on out of there. They were probably expecting some kind of negotiation attempt from me. But honestly, any person who opens an interview with that kind of statement deserves a walkout.
A jumped up security guard made me walk away before I even got in the building for an interview. I followed the instructions that I was sent by the hiring manager, which was to park in the designated guest spaces. Nevertheless, as soon as I showed up, the security guard came charging out of the building, yelling at me when I was barely out of the car about how I couldn’t park there.
Then, when I raised my voice just to try and get him to listen, he started yelling at me for yelling at him. Eventually, when I got to tell him that I was told to park there, he called the hiring manager and started yelling at them about how I had been yelling at him. Part way through that phone call, I thought “Nah, screw this!” I then got back in the car and drove off.
The hiring manager called me to apologize and asked if I’d come back and give the company another chance. I politely declined, saying that I wanted nothing to do with that security guard again.
I walked out of a second interview. The promised advertised wage for the position had been abruptly modified due to a “recent budget change.” The new figure was substantially lower than what was promised on the ad and in my first interview. It was for an Assistant Manger's role at a local cinema, which I thought would have been a lot of fun.
I thanked them for wasting my time and walked out. I spent the rest of my afternoon enjoying a Five Guys hamburger.
When I finished university, I didn't have a sensible job to go to immediately. I went to a job agency and said I was looking for a temporary job for experience working in my chosen field of IT. I didn't care exactly what it was, or even really how much it paid. I just wanted to get my feet wet in the industry. We talked about my existing qualifications and experience.
At the end of the "interview," they said they had the perfect job for me. I was told that someone would pick me up the following morning. I said that I could drive, but no. They insisted that someone from their organization would pick me up. Fine. As I said, I didn't really care where it was or exactly what I was doing as long as it met my admittedly vague requests, and they assured me that it did. I should’ve seen the red flags.
The following day, a minibus came to get me. So where did they take me to work? A salad packing factory, to spend the day literally packing salad. I was getting paid, so what did it matter for one day? The worst was finding out over lunch that if I had literally just turned up at the factory without any special arrangements, they would have probably still given me work.
That is what had happened for most of the staff there, who were largely seasonal workers from Eastern Europe. Also, I found out that those folks were paid more than me. Not because I was new, but because anybody who just turned up would likely get work and get paid more than I was. Obviously, they took us there by minibus, so that we couldn't just leave once we'd been tricked into going.
But I decided to do exactly that. I finished my lunch and then walked all the way home.
I once showed up for a job interview in a suit and tie after answering a newspaper ad for a "warehouse worker." Instead of a normal job interview at the warehouse, they had me get into some truck with one of the employees who drove me a few hours away, pulled over in some random neighborhood, and explained to me that the job was going door to door trying to sell cuts of meat to people, unsolicited.
I told him that this was not the "warehouse worker" job that they had advertised. I then added that if he did not bring me back home immediately, I was going to call the authorities and report a kidnapping. I was brought back to my car, but I was not paid for the several hours of my wasted time. Screw you, Pacific Prime of Cromwell, Connecticut!
I actually interviewed and was tentatively hired by a call center that focused on getting donations for a variety of non-profit organizations. I was desperate, so even though there were some awkward moments at the interview, I still agreed to come in and continue with the process. This first interview was on a Thursday, and I was told to show up again the following Monday.
When I showed up on Monday morning, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The entire business unit was completely empty. Like, stripped to the floor, wires hanging from the roof empty. When I was there the week before, I saw around 20 or 25 cubicles of people, all working diligently. There had been a manager's desk at the far back, and waiting area chairs with a table, all in one large room. To this day, I have no idea what happened. I just know that the entire business got out of there quick, in less than three days’ time.
I showed up early for my job interview and the woman at the front desk greeted me while I waited for the appointment time to arrive. I introduced myself and handed her my resume, then waited quietly and patiently. Once I got into the actual interview, I saw that she had taped a bright pink note to my resume that read: "Has the personality of a rock."
How she determined that from our brief introductory exchange was beyond me at the time. The interviewer saw my facial expression when I saw the note. I thanked him for his time and left right away. I later found out (a couple of years later, when I worked with a former employee of that firm) that the woman at the front desk was the boss's wife.
Apparently, she had made it known to him that she didn't want any young (or thin, or single) women working in the office. It’s actually pretty funny to me in hindsight, as awful as it was. This happened close to 30 years ago when I was just starting out in my career. I assume that both the boss and his wife are deceased or at least retired by now.
The firm still exists, but clearly policies have changed as their staff is now quite diverse, including several women on the younger side.
The woman who would have been my boss spent the entire job interview asking me some very inappropriate and just generally un-okay questions. These questions included: “Are you sexually active right now?”, “What are your views on dating a coworker?”, “What are some of your deepest and most intimate romantic fantasies?” No, seriously.
I assumed that, if I rejected her, I would never get the job and, even if I did, every single day would be uncomfortable as heck to work around her, so I just stated that I was no longer interested in the job and walked away. She looked very surprised. Now, I work at a place doing the same thing I would have been doing there, but with more pay and a boss that doesn’t objectify me.
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I was out of university for a few months and was looking for any kind of job, since staying home was getting horrendously boring. I surf through some online job boards to find a part time job where I would get paid $15 per hour for selling water filters. I said, “Hey, not bad!” The ad also explicitly says that the pay is weekly. I apply and get the interview.
The interviewer confirms what the job post said regarding the payment, and then gets the applicants into a room to watch a quite lengthy presentation about the company. And when I say quite lengthy, I mean the length of a feature Hollywood movie. Afterwards, we all got sheets to finalize everything and insert our desired working times. That is where I notice it.
The sheet says something along the lines of, "Employees will only be paid after a filtering unit has been successfully sold," and that our first checks would only come after a month of preliminary working. I’d say about 80% of the interviewees just walked out at that point, including myself. Who in their right mind would say yes to a deal like that?
At one job interview that I had, I showed up and the manager practically bragged about how the job offered no breaks for an eight hour shift. She added that if there was a food break during the day, it would be five minutes max, at a hip-height table with no chairs. She also said that you’d be fired if you sat down even for 30 seconds during the work day.
I'm more than capable of doing that. I did that every day at my last job. But when you brag about how your employees are so overworked that they don’t get breaks or an option to rest their legs, it tells me all I need to know about how little you value other human beings. I should also note that this job wasn’t paying exceptionally well. Above minimum wage, but not at a level that was even enough to live comfortably on.
I finished up four hours of grueling interviews in their offices. Everything seemed to be going really well. They liked me, as far as I could tell. Then, in a completely casual manner, I posed a simple question to three of the software engineers who happened to be in the room with us at the time: "Do you enjoy working here?"
I quickly realized that I was one of three people that the company was looking for to replace them. They were quite unhappy.
The interviewer asked me: “What would you do if an employee of 15 years asked you for a raise?” I replied: “I'd remind him that he already gets a yearly raise…” His answer was infuriating. The interviewer told me: “Actually, I don't give out raises. That’s our company policy.” Oh, well silly me! You can be I got the heck out of there as fast as I possibly could.
I was interviewing for a commission-based sales job selling kitchen knives. The interviewer pulled out a knife to show it to me, and it completely fell apart in his hands. I am also not a salesperson by background. So yea, I moved on because a guy who doesn’t know how to sell trying to sell a product that doesn’t work didn’t seem like the best career move for my future…
I told the hiring manager that I couldn’t start right away because I would like to give more than just two weeks’ notice at my current job as a courtesy. He immediately raised his voice with me and said "Everyone is replaceable, and they'll find that out!" Yea, that seems like a good mentality for your boss to have. I think I’ll look elsewhere. Later tater!
I'm in my 30s, but I look like I’m in my 20s. I applied to work at a music store and got an interview. The place was an independently owned shop in Mineola, New York. It was run by some very eccentric old guy. At the interview, he didn't believe that I was even in my 20s. He thought I was a teenager lying about my age and demanded to call my parents and high school to get their permission to hire me.
So, out the door I was…
I worked as a bagger for a major grocery store chain when I was about 16 years old. One day, I was approached while on the job by a guy who asked me if I would be interested in making $1,100 a week. I said I was potentially interested in hearing more. He told me to meet him at one of the empty businesses in the same plaza after work.
When I arrived, he went on this long spiel about the melaleuca tree from Australia and how his company made soaps and shampoo out of it. He then told me that, for a $500 fee, he would train me in how to sell these products. I just turned and walked out the door with him yelling behind me that I would never amount to anything with my attitude.
I should have walked out in the middle of this interview, but I stayed there out of morbid curiosity. I wanted to see how low they would go, but I had made the decision early on in the process that I wasn't actually going to work there. I'm glad I stayed for the whole thing, as it became quite an experience worth remembering.
The last thing that happened in the interview was the CEO personally asking us all to raise our right hands and promise that, if we ever make a mistake on the job, the company will calculate how much that mistake had cost us, and we will voluntarily pay the company that amount. Funny, I don’t recall them offering to pay us for any surplus our work earns...
It was my third and final interview at a tech company. All three rounds of interviews had taken place on the same day, in one long marathon interview process. The first two went well and I was told that this last one was just a formality to officially set everything up. They wanted me to join their team. So my final interview with the head of the office guy seemed to start off pretty well.
We walked to the cafeteria, grabbed a couple of coffees, and with some small talk we learned that we both knew some of the same people. We get back to his office and sit down. He looks at my file and remarks: “It says here you’re looking for [certain salary].” I said yes, and explained that it’s really close to the market average for someone with my skills and experience.
He looks me straight in the eye, without hesitation, and says, “I don’t think you’re worth that much.” I said, “Excuse me?” He repeated it. I laughed, grabbed my bag, stood up, thanked him for his time, and walked out of the room. Well, guess who got the last laugh. The company went out of business like a year or so later. I feel I dodged a major headache there in the long run.
This happened fairly recently. I made it to the third interview for a large company. The first two, they told me what my role would be, and quoted me figures for my base pay and commission. They also told me they were so excited to have me on board because of my experience. So I sit down for the third interview. They once again go over my role, my pay, etc.
They say they're prepared to offer me that job right now and have had the paperwork ready since this morning. BUT THEN. They say "But we already hired someone for that. So instead what we'd like you to do is..." and proceeded to tell me that the pay was less than half of what they were already offering me prior, for a lot more work.
Basically, in a matter of minutes, I went from being offered a long-term management job to just being asked to train all the new employees that they had just hired and then stepping down to cashier for $10 per hour. And no guaranteed hours. I stood up and told them “I was worried that I was wasting your time prior to this interview, because I wasn't entirely sold on the job yet.
“But after today, it's become pretty apparent that you guys were the ones wasting my time instead. No thank you.” And I left. About an hour later, I got a phone call asking for a fourth interview. They called me almost every single day for the next two weeks, asking me to come back and talk to the owner about the situation. I never responded.
I have a story to share on this subject. It was a virtual interview and I ended it in the middle. The interviewer was a complete jerk right from the start. He had a huge ego, and kept making condescending remarks towards me. After the third or fourth one, I just told him that it sounds like he's not interested in working together, so in the interest of both our time we should just end the call.
And that’s exactly what we did. I didn't realize this was such a big deal, but everyone that I’ve told this story to has said that they found it very inspiring. I want to put it out there that this is something that everyone should feel comfortable doing when in similar situations. Don't let anyone treat you poorly! Just walk away calmly with your head held high, my kings and queens!
I applied for a cash register position at Pizza Hut. I specifically told them during my two interviews that I cannot be a delivery driver due to my car being unreliable. They even acknowledged that and told me it was okay. I got the job and came in for training on the first day. The very first thing they do is sit me down in a chair and start up a training video on delivery driving.
I asked them if I could skip it since I’m only working the register and in the kitchen, and the manager tells me that every position is a delivery driver. I walked out right then and there, and got paid for one hour of training.
This was not so much a walk out per se, but we both knew that it was over. It was an interview with Radio Shack around 1990. I was a home stereo geek and was looking for the next college job. I did an interview with a regional manager for a slot in one of his stores. The interview went well. Finally, he asked if I had any questions.
He explained that there was a base rate, close to minimum wage, but that salespeople were "expected" to exceed that with their commissions on sales made. He went on to tell me that the vacant position was due to someone being fired because they couldn't do this on a consistent basis.
He then asked me: "How do you feel about that?" I replied: "Well, I can't say that I'm confident enough about your product line for that to make me very happy." Yeah, it was over at that point.
I once went to a job interview for a large welding shop in the middle of a rain storm. After talking to the interviewer for 30 minutes or so, he walked me out to the shop floor to take a welding test. What I saw made my blood run cold. The machine we went to was in decent condition, but it was literally sitting in a puddle of water.
The welding table's legs were rusty and not grounded well, and also in said puddle. Over half of the shop was flooded. I turned around and said "No thank you." I then proceeded to walk out the door. My life is worth more than $20 an hour.
I bowed out of a third interview for a fancy title role which I was arguably qualified for, but it was the highest-positioned role I’d ever applied for and also the only one I’d ever gotten an interview for. I definitely had high hopes for this job, but I decided to cut the interview short when it became increasingly clear the place was a hotbed of mismanagement and likely wanted, at best, someone to solve entrenched structural problems and at worst, a fall guy.
I was not interested in taking the blame for someone else’s incompetence. Not even for a fancy title.
I attended one job interview where they wanted me to sign a blank sheet of paper. I don’t think alarm bells have ever gone off in my head quite that fast. No thanks! I immediately got up and walked away.
I once had a job interview at a bar. During the very first part of the conversation, the owner of the bar told me that if I get the job, I should never approach him with a problem because he generally doesn’t like dealing with things. He added that I probably wouldn’t like the way he fixed it anyway. That was a major red flag in my book. I did not continue with the interview process beyond that point.
I attended one job interview where the guy who was interviewing me abruptly interrupted the interview to scream at one of his employees. Like, literal red in the face screaming and berating the guy right in front of me, over some random task that he wanted the guy to have done a little bit differently. And then he tried to just pick up the conversation where we left off, like it was nothing. No thank you.
I'm a vet tech. I once interviewed at a primary care, single doctor practice. The manager showed up more than 25 minutes late to my interview. While I waited for her, the front desk staff completely ignored me while they talked smack about the techs, manager, and clients. The manager said they did not believe in referring people’s pets to any specialists, because "Dr. A is a specialist in everything from grizzly bears to canaries."
He was not. He hadn't even done a rotating internship, and definitely had not done any type of residency program. I had already worked in a clinic with a toxic work atmosphere before, but at least the doctors at that one were competent at their jobs. When she asked if I had any questions, I knew exactly what to say. I just asked if I could have my resume back, so that we wouldn’t unnecessarily be wasting any paper.
Gotta think about the trees, even at a time like that!
I once did a job interview for what turned out to be a classic, textbook pyramid scheme. It had been advertised as a "sales and marketing" job, so I thought it was something that I might be interested in. It was a group interview. To try and dazzle us into joining, they served us fancy wine for crying out loud! They also had obvious stooges initiating conversations about how great this opportunity was.
I took full advantage of the free drinks. I got very intoxicated and stopped being polite about it.
I once got in an interview with a small company that I thought would be a very good fit for the kind of work that I was hoping to do. I got very excited when I saw that my interview for the job was going to be directly with the owner of the company. Let’s just say that things at the interview did not turn out exactly as I envisioned that they were going to…
I arrived at the facility and sat down with the owner. The first thing that he immediately said, before even saying so much as a hello, was: “I just want to let you know that I don't hire people with beards.” In case you couldn’t guess, I have a beard. Umm, excuse me? So you’re saying I have to change my entire personal appearance in order to work for you?
Yeah, no thanks. I just said okay, got up, and walked straight out the door. And I never looked back. I’m happy to report that my beard is still safe and sound on my chin, and I love it as much as ever!
Years ago, I went to a job interview and sat down with the man who was to interview me. First, I sat in complete silence while he read something on his computer for a few minutes. I then waited for a minute or so while he looked over my resume. It was a small business, and he is the same person who called me to set up the interview.
He’d had the resume at his disposal for a few days and invited me in, so I’m not sure why he had to start reading it from scratch at this point. He finally looked up at me and said, “Well, I’m not sure why you applied for this job. You really don’t have any of the skills or experience that I’m looking for.” I saw red. He was just so arrogant and I felt like he was trying to make a power move to set me up to accept a lowball offer.
I didn’t apply to any job that I wasn’t qualified for. I know that for a fact. I was just instantly annoyed that he was trying to play games with me. I calmly said, “Then I’m not sure why you‘re wasting my time inviting me here for an interview.” I then stood up and started walking towards the door. He suddenly panicked and jumped up.
He said something like, “Oh, no, let’s talk about it!” But I told him I wasn’t interested in working for him anymore. I had a job already, so I wasn’t desperate to just take anything that was available. I wasn’t terribly happy with my current job, so I would have preferred to have taken something new. But I really didn’t feel like leaving one bad situation for another equally bad one by putting up with this guy’s nonsense.
I worked as a permanent software developer for six years after university before deciding to quit to do contract work instead, for better pay and more flexibility. I put myself out there and found a three-month contract role that looked like it would be a pretty good fit for me. I was due to start in a week's time. Oh happy days!
In the meantime, I got approached by a recruiter offering me an interview for a permanent role. So I said no thanks, and politely explained to her that I was only interested in contract roles. I also informed her that I had found a contract role now that I was happy with, and that I was no longer looking for employment opportunities.
I told her to thank the company for its interest, but to tell them that I was definitely off the market for at least the next three months. A few days later, the recruiter came back to me and said that the company was really interested in me and that they frequently use contractors too, so they would like to interview me anyway as they might be able to offer me contract work in three months' time when I was back on the open market.
So the next day, I get dressed up all smart and drive an hour through heavy morning traffic to go to the interview at their office, which turned out to be in a pretty lousy location. As soon as I sat down, the very first question they asked me was: "What would your availability be like if you were offered this role?" I was confused, so I asked them to clarify.
They said: “How soon would you be able to start working for us if we offered you this role? I said: "I'm starting a three month contract next week." They said: "Why have you come to interview for this permanent job then?" I said: "I haven't. I said I wasn’t interested in it, and the recruiter told me to come anyway because you use contractors too and are interested in using me in future."
They said: "No, that's not true. We've never used contractors before, and we're only interested in looking for someone permanent to start as soon as possible." I said: "Right, then. Okay, goodbye now!" The contract role that I'd already secured paid almost as much in three months as this job did in an entire year. But the recruiter thought if he could just trick me into going to the interview then maybe I would change my mind and take his crummy role instead.
I walked out of the third interview with a particular company after they offered me a sales job that paid less and offered fewer benefits than both my previous job and what I had presented myself as being interested in working for. This was after I was completely clear about my wage expectations during the first two interviews. I thanked them on the way out for wasting both of our time.
One time a few years back, I was applying for a mailroom manager position at a company that has a growing presence in my area. I heard back and was offered an interview, so I went in for it. A very high-level person was leading the interview. She had flown in from the company’s headquarters in another state to help out with staffing this location, which was new and not open to the public yet.
A couple of local people were also present. It was going very strangely. All of the questions were incredibly easy. After not even 10 minutes in, she said to me: “Frankly, I have to ask. Why exactly do you want this job? You seem way too overqualified to be in this role.” I paused. Then I said “You know, your questions have kind of made me wonder if we’re discussing the same position. What job do you think I’m here about?”
She told me it was a job where I’d basically be a gopher, distributing mail, picking up people’s food, and acting as a courier. But mostly, I’d be waiting around for instructions and be available to do whatever task might be presented to me at any given time. It would also be lots of busy work that an admin assistant might do.
I pulled the job ad and my application for it up on my phone, and showed her what I thought I was there for. Mailroom manager. Turns out there was no such position. An error had been made. They had copied and pasted all the stuff from when a different location had opened, and applied it to this location, apparently overlooking the small fact that there was no need for a mailroom manager this time around.
I was told that the operation at this location was not large enough to warrant a mailroom, let alone warrant hiring a manager to oversee one. That job was never supposed to have been posted online. Nobody knew that it had been, except me apparently. And nobody knew how I’d even made it to this point in the hiring process without it being pointed out that the job did not exist.
I’m guessing that a lot of it was automated and then finalized by someone out of the loop in another state. She was irritated. Not with me, of course. She apologized, took my information, and said that she was impressed enough with me to find me something somewhere in the company to try and apply for, but she didn’t know what yet. Unfortunately, I never did hear back from her.
I went in for a job interview to become a content writer for a website. I met the team, sat in on some brainstorming meetings, and learned all about the place. It was a pretty fun and interesting experience, and the people were all very nice. Then, at the end of the day, the boss takes me for the more formal part of the interview and says "Frankly, I don't know why they set up this interview. We don't have money to hire anyone right now."
Thanks, I really didn't need those six hours to do any real job hunting...
I was doing an interview for a job at a computer programming company, and it had gone well so far for the most part. Then we get to the point where we're talking about money. They quote me a yearly salary, and I quickly do the math in my head. I determine that it sounds like a reasonable hourly wage. But before I can even respond, they immediately follow up their statement with: "Realistically, you'll be working 60 to 80 hours per week."
I reply: "Will everything over 40 hours in a week be compensated with overtime pay?" They both immediately started chuckling incredulously. That was when I knew it was time to leave.
I was 19 years old and pretty crafty. I thought it would be cool to work at a store that fit my interests. So, Jo-Ann Fabric, here I come! I get to the interview, and something just seemed off right from the start. I show up dressed nicely for the interview, yet I just got the stink eye from the manager. I am led back to the office, all the while the manager is trying to get me to tell her something.
I didn't catch on until later in the interview. It was going well, and she seemed like she liked me and my experience. That is, until the little hints didn't work. She straight up asked me if I was gay, and if my partner knew that I was here. I am a straight man. I was in shock, until I realized that she was being fully serious, and that I wasn't getting any further in the interview if I didn't tell her that I was gay right then and there.
Flabbergasted, I got up, told her I thought her preconceptions were going to hurt her, and left the room. It was by far the weirdest thing that I have experienced in an interview. After talking to others that worked there, I found out that all the other guys had straight up lied in order to get the job. She only hired gay guys because, in her opinion, straight guys wouldn't know anything about crafts and were only there because they were trying to meet girls.
I was applying for a dental assistant job. The doctor conducting my interview kept talking and talking without giving me a chance to get a word in, and every sentence out of her mouth made the true state of the job seem much, much worse. And this is just stuff that she voluntarily admitted to! She signed up with dental assistant schools to get externs (i.e. unpaid interns), specifically because she wanted free labor.
She hired on a couple of them, and even after they found better jobs she coerced them into staying on with her for longer. Despite advertising a full-time position (which is 32 hours or more per week in dentistry), she said that this position was just three days a week. And with odd hours, too. Like some weeks would be two days a week, some days they would open at 10 in the morning.
Some days she will just leave early to do whatever with her four kids, and I would be expected to go home. It was all over the place. As for the mention of it being full time in the advertisements, she explained that away by saying that it “may become full time in the future” if I am able to “prove myself” to her. Umm, alright then? That’s a totally normal way to run an office!
Once it was clear that she wasn't going to give me a chance to say anything, I just interrupted her, thanked her for her time, said I needed a full time position, and walked out. This lady then followed me out the door! Yes, you read that right. She followed me out of her office, through her dental practice, and ultimately through the front door.
She was basically begging me to reconsider accepting the job, saying that it will definitely become full time in the future. Crazy. You better believe that I noped the heck out of there!
I showed up for a construction and trades workers “hiring event,” hoping to get a job opportunity out of it. I’m a plumber by trade and finding work was bleak as heck in my city at the time, so I went to the event with seriously high hopes. Everything looked completely legit until they sat us down to speak about the work scope.
They claimed to be one of the companies that were building “Rogers Place” in Edmonton, a major Canadian sporting venue which was the single biggest real estate development project in the region at this time. After they gave us some sketchy details about their involvement in the project, they said: “However, if you don’t want to help our teammates who are working on that project, you can also do….”
They then started speaking about how to do door-to-door sales of mostly chocolate in the higher-end communities around the city. They talked about construction for maybe 15 minutes maximum, throughout the entire conference. The rest of the time they spent talking exclusively about door-to-door chocolate sales, and UNICEF fundraising, and how we can have an income of $150,000 or more a year by doing this stuff with them.
I left probably 20 minutes into that because I realized how ridiculous the whole thing was. Meanwhile, I had a friend who champed it out and stayed the entire time just to see what would happen. The stories he told me after the event were hilarious. Ironically, 30 minutes after I left, I got a call from a company that actually was a legitimate contractor on the Rogers Place job.
I ended up working for them for more than four years. They were so much better than these guys would have been!
A while back, I was looking for a job and was in an interview for a clothing store customer service representative position. Once they started talking about meeting sales goals, I told her politely that I didn't think it was a good fit and left. Nothing about “sales goals” was ever mentioned in the ad or any of the other postings about the job online...
I will never do the whole “sales goals” thing again. That's all, plain and simple. It is a pretty demoralizing way to live when you can't hit your goals and then because of that you must listen to managers say "Don't take no for an answer" or "Get three nos before accepting," and yadda yadda yadda. Why would I want to treat customers like that, not to mention make my own job so stressful?
No means no, dude. It's gross and I'll never do it again.
I did not quite walk out of this particular interview, but I told them that I did not have the skills they wanted, which sealed the deal. This was right after college. I was applying for a job as an assistant buyer for a large retail corporation. I was very eager to get the job. After two or three rounds of interviews, I finally got to interview with two buyers that I liked a lot.
If I had gotten the job, these two would have been my direct managers, so a lot was riding on this next interview. I really enjoyed the first part of the interview. They seemed to like me too, but they must have picked other people, because I was soon invited again to interview with yet another buyer. She came into the room, did not look at me, and did not shake my hand.
She sat to the side of the table, even though there was a seat right in front of me, and started asking me questions with a super sulky and disinterested tone. At that point, I realized that I would have hated to work for her, and so I told her that I did not have the skills she was looking for. I originally thought it was stupid because it closed my doors to other opportunities at the company, but in retrospect I think it was a very smart decision on my part.
Who needs people like that!
I went in for a job interview for an "Office Manager" position. When I arrived, there were 20 other people in the room waiting for interviews along with me. That raised a major flag, but I thought I'd roll with it anyway and see what was going on because I really needed some form of income. One by one, I started seeing people emerging from the interviewer's office and being shuttled to the back room, where I could see a phone center set up. Their faces said it all.
They looked confused and dejected, like they were being led into a slaughterhouse and knew it, even though they were told it was a five-star restaurant. They pulled me in for my appointment and said that the position was cold-calling insurance sales. I confronted them about it immediately, and even pulled up the job description on my phone.
They said, "Well, if you sell really well, you can get a promotion to office manager at some point." Get a promotion to become a glorified receptionist? No way in this lifetime am I wasting time on that, especially for shady characters like this. I flat out told them that they were unethical for lying to desperate people during a bad economy, and walked out.
I told the lady who had been sitting next to me that it was a scam before I left, and I'm pretty sure she walked out too. Not as bad as some of the other things out there, but still a crazy level of wrong and upsetting.
I have three stories that are good examples of this. The first was an interview for a mall kiosk job selling phones. The interviewer was brand new. He informed me that if I got this job, I wouldn’t actually start earning any commission until I had made X number of sales. And I had recently been fired from my previous job for not making enough sales...
The second was some sort of call center job. I had done one before and the job posting was for an analyst position. I had the listed experience, applied, got called in for an interview, and quickly found out it was for a regular call center position, not for an analyst position like I was expecting. When I asked to clarify, the interviewer said, "Do you want the job or not?" I replied that I had been lied to in our very first interaction, and left.
The third interview that I walked out of was for a manager position at a big box store. I got a call back from them a long time after applying, but I needed the job so I took the interview anyway. After driving across town to the interview, the interviewer opened with it “not actually being the manager job.” But he let me know that he always needs cashiers. Yeah, no thanks.
I went in for a job interview for a position that was advertised as “above minimum wage.” They wanted someone to manage sales, ordering, and scheduling for a print shop. I could do all those things. The interview went well and we both seemed to like each other. That is, until the pay discussion came up. They made me an offer: 25 cents over minimum wage.
I literally yelled “I put on nice clothes for this??” as I walked out the door.
I had been told it was a marketing job that I was applying for. The first interview was about marketing and took place in an office. I got a call back and was very happy, as it meant I'd be able to get out of working in a call center and do something I actually liked. I took my last remaining day off that I was entitled to at my old job in order to go to the next interview for this.
When I got there, they said they wanted me to go to the local Home Depot store with them. I got there and made a disturbing realization. This whole thing was just a multi-level marketing pyramid scheme (also known as an MLM). I was so stunned that I let them take me out on the floor and show off the aggressive sales technique they wanted me to use on random customers.
I walked out crying because now I had no days off left for other interviews and I was ashamed to have been tricked by the first interview into thinking this whole thing was legitimate.
I interviewed for a job at a firm when I had just moved to a new country. During our conversation, they proceeded to bring up my Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter profiles on the computer screen in front of me. They started going through my accounts and commenting on things. They laughed at me over photos where I was wearing a dress at a Christmas party. That’s not even the worst part.
They also complained that I didn't have any endorsements on LinkedIn, which was really important to them for some reason. And I only had 20 Twitter followers, which they felt they needed to bring up. And in case you’re wondering, this position had nothing whatsoever to do with social media. They just stalked my accounts for the fun of it, apparently.
I had all the required experience for the position, but they were just so ridiculously caught up in these stupid freaking social media profiles that they felt like they needed to belittle me from the get go. They told me to send through some references, but I was so embarrassed and disheartened by the direction of the interview that it drained any interest I had in working for them at all.
To their surprise, I told them not to expect any references from me, and then I quietly walked away.
They spelled my name wrong on their internal documents, all the while emphasizing to me how important attention to detail was at this company. On top of that, they kept asking me the same exact question in about 12 different ways. As if that isn’t dumb enough in and of itself, the answer that they were looking for was clearly listed in my work experience on my resume.
This was for a thermal engineering position. They offered a tour of the facility while the person I was to work under finished up a meeting. I declined and left.
I went to one job interview where I was not informed about the evidently very strict building security prior to the interview. It turned into my worst nightmare. The front door was practically unmarked, and you had to swipe a card to get in. But there was no intercom. The elevator required a card as well, but the stairs didn't. However, no one informed me that the stairwells are locked from the outside, meaning that I quickly found myself locked in the stairwell with no way to get out.
I had no idea what to do. I tried to call the recruiter over and over again, and I even called the front desk of the building, but they both just kept putting me on hold instead of sending someone to let me in at the correct floor. I ended up getting a call from the recruiter while still stuck in the stairwell, telling me that they would not be going forward with the interview because I was late.
At that point, I almost screamed my head off at her. I somehow maintained my composure and asked her as calmly as I could manage to if she had gotten any of the messages that I left for her, letting her know I was presently stuck in the stairwell with no way to get out. She said that she hadn't, but added that it was too late anyway because they had gone ahead with another candidate. Somehow, it still got worse.
She almost hung up before I could yell (probably too loudly), "THEN CAN SOMEONE PLEASE COME FREE ME FROM THE STAIRWELL SO I CAN LEAVE??" They sent security to get me, and I was treated like a criminal as I was led from the building. I have never been so confused, humiliated, and angry in my entire life. I left them a scathing review on Glassdoor.
Every time I tell this story, I get frustrated all over again. In fact, a lot of people have said that they are angry on my behalf. That's usually the reaction when I tell this story. This happened eight years ago in the Boston, Massachusetts area. I honestly don't recall the name of the company or the specific industry that it operated in. I have no idea if it even exists anymore.
I was scheduled for the interview through a temp agency, and had really only been told the bare minimum about the role and the people involved. In retrospect, temp agencies are not worth it in my opinion, and I wish I had just applied for jobs directly. I was only 21 years old and fresh out of college at the time. When people ask me why I didn’t report this to the authorities, I think I can only assume it was because of my youth and shy attitude.
I didn't want to make waves, but now I realize that this was the wrong approach. So to those suggesting that I should have called the authorities and/or sued the company for putting me through that, I agree 100%. And my current self would definitely give my 21-year-old self the same advice in a heartbeat. I guess this is a perfect example of the “live and learn” philosophy.
One time, many years ago, I had applied for a software developer position for an online retailer. The first round of interviews was pretty straightforward and uneventful. It was basically just a traditional test of my technical skills and whiteboard coding session. I was informed that I got through to the second round, which was to be a “cultural fit” interview with HR.
Naturally, I assumed that it would be a one on one interview with a specific member of the HR team, but boy was I wrong. I got there and it was a room filled with 20 or so people all there for the same interview at once. These folks were applying for anything and everything at the company, from legal to finance. But the fact that it was a group interview wasn’t the end of the surprises…
When the interviewers entered the room, they asked us all to stand up, then crawl into a ball and pretend that we were flowers opening up. At this point, I honestly thought it was some kind of prank, but then I saw everybody around me doing it. Yeah, sorry but I don’t think we’re a good “cultural fit” if that’s the kind of thing you expect me to do.
I just said thanks for the opportunity, but that I didn’t get all dressed up in my most expensive outfit just to roll around on the ground and ruin it for the sake of some stunt. I then left the room, and I haven’t regretted it since.
My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.
Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.
Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.
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