Attending an interview can be a scary thing; nerves and pressure both add to the overall terrifying experience. However, since we’re getting into the Halloween spirit here at CareerExperts, we’ve put together some of the worst interview horror stories we’ve heard.
If you think you’ve ever had a bad interview, these Quora users have had it a lot worse…
The Unexpected Turn
This poor guy thought everything was going great during his interview. He’d met with HR, the CEO and things were looking positive. Until he met with the Vice President of the company, that’s when things got a little strange.
“You seem completely qualified, and exactly what we need here,” he says. Awesome, I think. “And, you seem like a really nice guy. So, are you considering other opportunities?” Yes, I indicated, I was fortunate to be looking at several other good options.
“Take one of them. You don’t want to work here,” he said without a lot of emotion, but with complete sincerity.
I took a few seconds to try to read his expressions, gestures and body language to determine if this was a technique to test and evaluate my response. It wasn’t…
Every person that I was to meet with that morning – with the exception of the CEO (and his wife) and one other executive – was exiting the company. As quickly as they could.
“Run, don’t walk away from this place,” he said.
The Downright Weird One
They say interviews are all about body language and eye contact. So, this poor job hunter probably had no idea what was going on!
I was once told something to the effect “We’re going to be asking you a series of questions. Because we want to be objective, we’re not going to look at you or ask for clarification from your answers.” and, sure enough, they kept their heads down while I talked. Maybe I’m just ugly…
The Blast from the Past
Sometimes your past comes back to haunt you. This unlucky person found that out the hard way.
The interview went quite well until the technical part, when I was surprised to see the interviewer was someone I had interviewed at my previous employer, someone we had to declined to hire. It was obvious from the questions asked and the way he received my answers that I was not going to be working at that firm.
“This interview isn’t going to work, is it?” I said. “Nope,” he replied.
When you apply for a job, it’s your skills, experience and personality that count. I don’t think this interviewer got the memo.
I was asked if I had a boyfriend (it was an environment that was 90% male). The interviewer explained that he didn’t want me flirting and ‘messing around’ with the team (I had a turtleneck and suit on, and had glowing references, so no clue where he got this idea).
I said no, and outed myself to him. That was fun. I was offered the job. Needless to say, I didn’t take it.
You’d think that employers would make sure that their job adverts were clear. It would appear that this isn’t always the case. Awkward!
I arrived for the full day of interviews and in my first interview:
Him: “Which stats modules do you take?”
Him: “Why not?”
Me: “I don’t like stats.”
Him: “Are you aware that we are recruiting for a Statistician?”
Me: “I thought you were hiring a Programmer?”
Me: “Oh … Should I go home, then?”
Him: “You might as well stay for the experience and the bus isn’t coming till 5 but I doubt we are going to hire you”
Me: “Right … well … have you seen any good films recently?”
Skype interviews are commonplace these days, what happened during this one isn’t so run of the mill, though.
I had an engineering interview with a Dutch company over Skype.
They throw at me these complicated questions that had nothing to do with the job itself but just more testing my theory knowledge. The questions were not even from the stuff that I was trained for in university but I gave it my best shot answering what I could. Out of 5 questions, I was able to answer only one properly.
The two interviewers just started laughing at each other and said, “Man you do not know anything!! How did you even get your current job and survive for so long?!!” and they just hit the end button on Skype. Not even a proper goodbye.
My resume was pretty clear as to what I did and what my skill sets were. I was scratching my head after the humiliating interview wondering why they even chose to interview me in the first place.
This experience just made me glad I did not get the job.
Smells Like Trouble
Interviewers and interviewees alike should be on their best behaviour during an interview. Good manners, polished appearance and definitely no dodgy smells. Yes, we saved the best of our interview horror stories until last.
I was interviewing with a Senior Director of a widely known multi-billion dollar software industry, for a Software Engineer position in their world HQ. He asked me a question for which I had to come up with an optimized algorithm to solve it.
Now, while I was thinking out loud in that closed yet highly cosy interview room, the interviewer left his desk to move to the door while I was coding the solution. Before even he could open the door, and move out into the open for a couple of seconds, he FARTED! No sound, no noise nothing, until I felt that in my nostrils!
I could hardly keep my composure. I took out my handkerchief and tried to filter out that disgusting smell out by putting it up against my nose. I could hardly think of anything else – first interview, and this is what you get!
The interviewer, as calm as he could be, simply walked out of the room, leaving the door shut! Could it be any worse?
To make sure that your next interview doesn’t turn into a terrifying tale, take a look at our best interview advice.