I’ve worked in recruitment. It’s a job where you have to learn to read people, to pick up hints that they maybe exaggerating a skills set, that they might lack commitment, or, that underneath the polished veneer of their interview performance, they may not actually be all that competent.
Some people are considerably better at interviewing for jobs than they are at doing them. They make life for people like me a little bit tricky.
Luckily, some people make it really easy. Here’s a round up of three of the most unbelievable interview horror stories that people have shared with me over the years. Purchase the Ultimate Guide To Job Interview Answers
Would you mind leaving…
I’ve heard a few stories similar to this one, but none quite so bad on a scale of sheer rudeness. Someone I know was holding a round of what’s known as ‘walk in interviews’ (where candidates aren’t screened before hand). Now you may automatically assume that this might mean your dealing with a slightly lower level of candidate, still, you probably wouldn’t expect them to take a personal call, right in the middle of the interview. That would be pretty bad.
You know what would be worse? If they made a personal call during the interview.
You know what would be even worse than that? If they made the call to ask somebody advice on how to answer a question you just asked them, that somebody being their therapist.
Pretty shocking, right? Here’s the clincher. The candidate asked the interviewer to leave, because it was a private phone conversation. Yes, that’s right, they were asked to leave. Their own office. Words. Fail. Me.
Too Much Information…
You know that feeling, where you say something insightful and erudite, that astounds everyone in the room and then, rather than leave it hanging in the air, brilliant as a chandelier, you carry on talking, say something really dumb, and take the tarnish of the whole darned thing?
A company was interviewing for a sales position. They thought they had a great candidate. When asked “what’s the greatest sales challenge you’ve ever asked” he gave a stella answer, outlining in detail the initiative, charm and know-how he’d used to crack the decision making structure of a Fortune 500 company.
There was a silence as the astounded interviewer scribbled down notes, in an attempt to record to key points of the anecdote he’d just heard. To cover up the silence as the interviewer finished up his jotting, the candidate continued to talk a little bit about the large bonus he’d received, concluding “shame most of it went up my nose.” Answer, erased, interview over. Simple as that.
You Seem Familiar…
This is my favourite because it touches on so many areas of stupidity, from a failure to master a basic level of literacy, to an inability to judge an audience, to a propensity for lying badly. Really, badly.
The candidate in question was making small talk with the interviewer before the start of the interview proper. He happened to mention that he’d once worked for a company with a very similar name. The interviewer, knowing the industry well and unable to think of any competitor in that sector with a name reminiscent of his company’s, looked down at the resume in front of him and quickly realised that the candidate had misspelt the name of his ex-company. It wasn’t a company with a slightly different name at all. It was the same one.
He’d actually already worked their, a number of years ago, under the same person who was now interviewing him, but was seemingly oblivious to the fact. The interviewer, scanning through the rest of the resume, found that it took credit for a number of things that he himself had done whilst the candidate was an employee working alongside him.
When challenged, the candidate was initially defensive, and it took a full ten minutes of having the situation spelt out to him (spelling not being his strong suit) before it finally dawned on him that he’d made a monumental error. He had the good grace to leave, you have to give him that, but that’s probably all you should give him, certainly don’t give him a job. Or anything sharp to play with.