Hiring Managers Share The Times They Thought “What’s Wrong With This Person” (30 Stories)
Looking for a new job is an adventure in itself. Full of peril. Overcoming challenges. And maybe a few dragons if we’re (un)lucky. But how often do you think about the other side of the interview table? What hiring managers have to deal with can be just as nightmarish as what candidates sometimes face.
And we’re about to show you just how chaotic and bizarre things can get. Hiring managers and recruiters have been sharing their weirdest experiences while interviewing candidates in a thread on r/AskReddit. Their stories, well, let’s just say that they’re likely to make you giggle, facepalm, and raise your eyebrows. All. At. Once.
Check out the stories below, upvote the ones that seriously made you question how the human race still functions, and be sure to let us know about the weirdest interview you’ve ever been in. Whether you were a recruiter or an employee.
Career coach Jermaine Murray from JupiterHR gave Bored Panda some spot-on advice on what (not) to do during your next job interview. According to Jermaine, the biggest mistake that applicants make is not doing enough to highlight their accomplishments!
"They humble themselves when they need to be boasting. If you understand why the work that you were doing was important and how it impacts your org (project) then you should be explaining that to the interviewer without holding back. How did you go above and beyond to make sure things worked? What creative ways did you come up with?" Jermaine said. "Show off."
Asked a (male) applicant about a few specific projects he'd done with people I've met. His comments about male collaborators were perfectly normal and respectful. His comments about female collaborators were dismissive, condescending, and inappropriately familiar.
I know there are lots of sexist people out there, but... not being able to conceal it for a 30-minute interview?
I asked an applicant what kind of hobbies he took part in, and he told me he collected random things that 'pretty' women threw away. When the interview was over, I called the police and gave his résumé to them.
Hiring for a Senior Dev position. Had a telephone interview and she seemed confident and competent so I flew her down for an on site interview. She calls not me but the front desk reception and says she can’t drive in a big city and needs a car to pick her up and she refuses to get the rental car we reserved (before Uber/Lyft). Call is transferred to me and I tell her to take the train (Atlanta, MARTA) no, she says, too scary. I tell her to go to the taxi stand and take that, nope afraid of taxis. She wants a corp limo to pick her up and nothing else will do. She is adamant. I put her on hold, have a chat with my boss who says just send her home, shes too much work if she can’t even handle this. I tell her thank you for taking the time to fly down but not even our own VPs get that treatment and to go ahead and change your ticket to fly home, now. She then starts telling me she will take a taxi, etc. i said please don’t bother it will be a waste of everyone’s time, thank you, goodbye.
Not once when setting up her travel plans did she say she needed assistance getting from the airport. It was explained to her she would pick up a rental car at the airport. She was fine with it. No idea WTF she was thinking but ain’t nobody got time for dat nonsense!
Career coach Jermaine was candid about how vital our body language and tone of voice both are to our success during interviews. They're both "super important" and you "always want to be perceived as confident and capable." Creating the opposite perception can reduce your talents to ashes in some hiring managers' eyes.
"If your body language or tone says otherwise, you destroy the perception of your skills. Once that's gone so are your chances of landing the job," Jermaine from JupiterHR warned.
She listed all of her ex-boyfriends who currently worked there and said she couldn’t wait to see the look on their faces when she showed up to work
I had a guy tell me God had chosen him for the job. But I did not choose him
He was naked during the interview, so we declined. When we brought up his video feed, he was laying in bed nude
"You can teach someone to be a better coder but it's near impossible to teach them how to be a better person. Recruiters will always value personality first, but technical skills are a very close second," the career coach gave us a sneak peek into the exciting world of recruitment and HR. "Hiring managers keep that in mind and try to make sure candidates they like can perform competently. Different things contribute to this bar that aren't based on the candidate but the organization's internal ability to support and develop someone. Once those two elements are present a hire will happen.
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 anyways.
The whole interview was bizarre, but ended with the question “what do you think are your weaknesses?”
He replied “ummm tbh. I have some pretty violent tendencies...”’
This kid, probably 18-20, started picking his nose, like nuckle deep and digging for gold in the middle of his food service job interview.
Wrapped that up real quick and didn't hire him.
This one guy was interviewing for a kids job at a school and then casually slips in the conversation how ungrateful children are then tried rubbing it in that they would not be able to withstand PRISON LIKE HE DID
Job interviews can be incredibly stressful. Our heart rates skyrocket, we start sweating, and our tongues feel like cotton wool in our mouths. That’s all part of the process, though, and plenty of HR reps understand this and give us the benefit of the doubt. However, being nervous doesn’t excuse some things, like rudeness.
According to GCFGlobal, poor manners can give your interviewer the impression that you’re unlikely to be a team player and that you’ll have a hard time retaining customers. What’s more, there’s the underlying assumption that you don’t value the people around you.
A graduate sent his résumé in by email, had all the grades — assumably a quality hire. He showed up...but with his entire family
The applicant wrote that can do a backflip on his application. Then, unprovoked, he elected to demonstrate said backflip in my office.
I interviewed a gal once and while we were talking, I was looking over her resume'. (Please note that English IS her first language or else this wouldn't have humored me so much) Her "mission statement" on her resume' was as follows:
"Along with my detail oriented and organizational skills, I will bring encourage team to work cooperatively and creativity to provide an understanding the visual aspects of our work."
This was for an admin position at a law firm. Not sure what "the visual aspects of our work" entailed in this position, honestly. I read it over about 5 or 6 times, worried that I was having a stroke so I didn't really hear much of anything she said during the interview. I haven't been able to make sense of it no matter how many times I read it. I actually cut it out of her resume' and have it sitting on my desk some 15 years later.
Most interview tips are really just common sense dressed up a bit (pun intended because dressing appropriately is important). Things like arriving on time, greeting everyone present at the interview, and keeping your phone turned off.
Meanwhile, other things are a tad more difficult to get right. Especially when we’re nervous! Our tone of voice and body language say a lot about us and our insecurities. So getting them under control should be a priority if it’s a high-profile interview for an awesome job. You want to exude confidence, so you avoid doing things too quickly, whether it’s rushing out an answer before your lips can keep up or moving your body way too much.
While waiting in reception, the applicant wandered into the CFO's office. She was on the phone, so he stood in her doorway and stared at her while she was on the phone
Had a candidate who came in and asked how hot my administrator was and asked if she was single or 'open to freaky Fridays.'
They answered literally every question, 'I don’t know, man' or 'Can’t think of anything right now.'
A lot of issues with performing well during a job interview come down to a fear of public speaking. However, practice makes perfect. If you’re dead-set on making an awesome impression, then there’s really no substitute for putting yourself in as many uncomfortable situations as you can so that you can get used to them.
It’s one thing to know the theory of how to behave in an interview, it’s an entirely different thing to put it into practice. And reading about something is no substitute for cold, hard experience. When you’ve seen it all, there’s no reason to get scared. And your body language and tone will show it.
I was interviewing a CDL driver candidate and this is how he explained his arrest for domestic violence.
“You know how Cherokee Indians get”
Me: I see you managed a vegetarian restaurant.
M: It says here you managed a vegetarian restaurant.
I: Oh, I guess I did write that. Not really though. My girlfriend had an art exhibition, and I organized the sandwiches for the opening. They were vegetarian.
This was a candidate that was otherwise pretty impressive seeming, and had been among the favorites for a quite sought after position, the interview had even gone quite well up until this point. Met him later at a party, he had no memory of me.
"And what do you think you could bring to this role?"
"Hire me and find out."
We stopped the interview then and there. He complained to the CEO that we'd treated him unfairly (he was only interviewing because of a personal recommendation; I think he believed this entitled him to a job). The CEO laughed in his face.
So, dear Pandas, which of these stories caught your attention the most? What’s the most nerve-wracking or just downright weird interview experience you’ve ever had? Do you have any tips and tricks for performing well in interviews that you’d like to share with all the other readers? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below. And remember—never let them see you sweat (metaphorically).
To start the interview, I asked him to tell us a little bit about himself. Thirty-five minutes later, he stopped talking
We have a very simple “pre-employment” test. If you have been in our industry for more than a year you should get 100%. Some times we even give it as an “at home” test.
We had one guy that took his test home had it for over a week. He brought it to the formal interview and got 90% of the questions wrong. Even though according to his resume he was an all star and knew everything.
He had an excuse for every wrong answer to even the most widely known questions in our industry.
It would be the equivalent of saying you have been laying sod for 20 years, and then put the green side down.
He didn’t get the job.
I had a video interview with a candidate. They were clearly in a large room/bedroom, with most of it visible in the background, but it was clean, so I didn't mind. In the back right corner was a closed door. A few minutes into the interview, I saw the door open slightly. Some dude poked his head in and then closed the door. About 30 seconds later, I saw the door slowly open again, only this time the dude came crawling out the bottom. He continued to crawl across the floor, making his way to the opposite side of the room. I assumed he thought he was out of the camera's focus, but he was visible. He got to the far end of the room and turned to fiddle with something — ass in the air facing the camera.
He showed up late. Then, he started checking his hair in the front camera as I was mid-sentence!?
A man told us all about his mom’s Alzheimer’s, talked [bad things] about our company, and got upset when we didn’t offer him the position on the spot. It was a wild ride.
A lady walked in to the office with sweat pants on, a nice blouse, and sunglasses. We asked her to take the glasses off and she declined saying florescent lights hurt her eyes. We gave her the interview questions anyway. We asked what her strengths and weaknesses were. She gave us nothing but weaknesses. She couldn't stand still for "more than 5 minutes and really didn't like talking to people". She applied for a cashier position.
I once received a resume that was just a list of around 20 places someone had worked with the reason they had been fired next to each one.
Once had the spouse of a prominent Soldier tell us that she was obviously the most qualified and if we didn’t select her, she would go to the IG and the General. She wasn’t selected.
Applicant stated during the job interview that they didn't read the job description and had no idea what this position was. And they were an internal applicant... so we pretty much stopped right there.
My wife was interviewing an early college student for a (paid) internship at a pharma company and he just stared at her breasts the whole time. She was not displaying any cleavage or skin, he just stared.
Probably the one who when asked why they hadn't declared their previous convictions which showed up in pre employment screening checks.
"those don't count they are my deadname crimes"
My manager and I were doing this interview. When I called the applicant in, he gave me a huge hug and proceeded to talk to me like I was his best friend.
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