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There is no shortage of articles “how to succeed” in job interviews. You can find advice on how to answer tough questions, suggestions on what to wear and everything else in between. But, sometimes looking at other people’s mistakes can be an even better lesson.
With this in mind, I asked recruiters and hiring managers to send me some “Interview Bloopers” things that made them stop and say “I can’t believe that he or she just did that!” Having worked in the career field for over a decade I’ve heard a lot of stories about inappropriate behavior by candidates. But, some of the submissions, including one candidate’s obsession with reality TV, shocked even me.
While some of these stories may make you chuckle, they should also serve as cautionary tales.
A woman interviewing for a healthcare leadership position kept asking about the benefits. No matter how hard we tried to steer her back, she could not drop the topic. When I finally told her, she said, “Great, I’ll take it.” We tried to explain that the job had not yet been offered, but that did not seem to change her mind. Submitted by David Kahn, VP of Human Resources
We were interviewing a young man for a customer service position that involved calling customers from a cubicle. He impressed everyone and we were about to extend a job offer when we searched his social media pages where he wrote that he could never imagine working in a cubicle talking on the phone all day and that this was his version of hell. Submitted by Matt Michel, CEO, Service Nation, Inc.
I will never forget the time I interviewed a potential hire and the person came to the office inebriated. At first I thought that the person was just merely very eager and excited to work for our organization, however, at some point in the conversation though the individual started talking about completely inappropriate subjects. He quickly degraded into incoherent ramblings and I decided to politely walk him to the elevator. I finally noticed the smell of alcohol on his breath when he said his good bye. Submitted by David Reischer, Founding Partner, LegalAdvice.com
While staffing a call center for my party goods employer, I made an interview appointment with a woman on her lunch hour, to accommodate her current work schedule. She started the interview just fine but about five minutes into it, she brought out a sandwich and proceeded to eat it while answering my questions. I made a remark along the lines of, “Oh, you’re eating a sandwich,” to which she replied, “Yeah, thanks for seeing me on my lunch hour.” Submitted by Jill Walser, Owner, I got the job!
After interviewing a young man for thirty minutes, he stopped me to ask whether this was COMPANY X, I stated that they were in the building across the street. He apologized and left. I hope he was offered the other job because his interview with us was going really well. Submitted by David Kahn
A woman had long histories with two companies, followed by a few months with the third. I asked her why she was leaving after only a few months, given her track record. She immediate started sobbing, crying uncontrollably; choking out that the last company was just awful and did awful things, followed by more sobs. Submitted by Matt Michel
While I was conducting an interview for a high level executive he mentioned he was expecting an emergency call. Well midway through the interview his phone rang…he answered…it was his ticket agent confirming he had just secured tickets to an NFL playoff game for him. Needless to say
the interview ended shortly after that. Submitted by Frank T. Mitchell, Staffing Professional, Author of Frank’s Roadmap to Career Success, 2nd Edition
I have one example that I have laughed about for years. While hiring a paramedic to work in an ER:
Question: Do you feel change and trying new things are a great way to improve your skills?
Answer: Sure, I think that’s the only way to learn.
Question: So if I asked you to do open heart surgery in the ambulance, and you know you’re not qualified to do so, would that be out of line, or would you be willing to step outside of your boundaries?
Answer: Absolutely I would do it! I mean how else am I supposed to improve my skill level?
I asked the question twice… same response. Yeah not someone I would want working on my loved ones. Submitted by Rick Tresnak, CEO, Innovative Rescue Solutions
While all of the submissions made me wonder WHAT these people were thinking this is by far my personal favorite when it comes to being clueless.
A man cut his interview short because he forgot it was Tuesday and “America’s Got Talent” was airing their elimination round. Submitted by David Kahn
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