The Way We Work
August 27, 2009 by Frank Higgins

Job interviews are part of life (for most of us) and as a freelancer, they come up more often for you. Here are some quotes from hiring managers about real-life interview mishaps they've seen from their side of the desk:

interview

Needless to say, please do not do any of these:

1. "... he said he was so well-qualified that if he didn't get the job, it would prove that the company's management was incompetent."

2. "... he stretched out on the floor to fill out the job application."

3. "... she brought her large dog to the interview."

4. "... she chewed bubble gum and constantly blew bubbles."

5. "Candidate kept giggling through serious interview."

6. "She wore a Walkman and said she could listen to me and the music at the same time."

7. "Balding candidate abruptly excused himself. Returned to office a few minutes later, wearing a hairpiece."

8. "Applicant challenged interviewer to arm wrestle."

9. "... she asked to see interviewer's resume to see if the personnel executive was qualified to judge the candidate."

10. "... she announced she hadn't had lunch and proceeded to eat a hamburger and french fries in the interviewer's office."

11. "Without saying a word, candidate stood up and walked out during the middle of the interview."

12. "Man wore jogging suit to interview for position as financial vice president."

13. "Stated that, if he were hired, he would demonstrate his loyalty by having the corporate logo tattooed on his forearm."

14. "Interrupted to phone his therapist for advice on answering specific interview questions."

15. "... he wouldn't get out of the chair until I would hire him. I had to call the police!"

16. "When I asked him about his hobbies, he stood up and started tap dancing around my office."

17. "... he had a little pinball game and challenged me to play with him."

18. "... she bounced up and down on my carpet and told me I must be highly thought of by the company because I was given such a thick carpet."

19. "At the end of the interview, while I stood there dumbstruck, went through my purse, took out a brush, brushed his hair, and left."

20. "... he pulled out a Polaroid camera and snapped a flash picture of me. Said he collected photos of everyone who interviewed him."

21. "Candidate asked me if I would put on a suit jacket to insure that the offer I had made was formal."

22. "Said he wasn't interested because the position paid too much."

23. "While I was on a long-distance phone call, the applicant took out a copy of Penthouse, and looked through the photos only, stopping longest at the centerfold."

24. "During the interview, an alarm clock went off from the candidate's brief case. He took it out, shut it off, apologized and said he had to leave for another interview."

25. "A telephone call came in for the job applicant. It was from his wife. His side of the conversation went like this: "Which company? When do I start? What's the salary?" I said, "I assume you're not interested in conducting the interview any further." He promptly responded, "I am as long as you'll pay me more." "I didn't hire him, but later found out there was no other job offer. It was a scam to get a higher offer."

26. "An applicant came in wearing only one shoe. She explained that the other shoe was stolen off her foot in the bus."

27. "His attache [case] opened when he picked it up and the contents spilled, revealing ladies' undergarments and assorted makeup and perfume."

28. "He came to the interview with a moped and left it in the reception area. He didn't want it to get stolen, and stated that he would require indoor parking for the moped."

29. "He took off his right shoe and sock, removed a medicated foot powder and dusted it on the foot and in the shoe. While he was putting back the shoe and sock, he mentioned that he had to use the powder four times a day, and this was the time."

30. "Candidate said he really didn't want to get a job, but the unemployment office needed proof that he was looking for one."

31. "He whistled when the interviewer was talking."

32. "... he asked who the lovely babe was, pointing to the picture on my desk. When I said it was my wife, he asked if she was home now and wanted my phone number. I called security."

33. "... she threw-up on my desk, and immediately started asking questions about the job, like nothing had happened."

34. "Pointing to a black case he carried into my office, he said that if he was not hired, the bomb would go off. Disbelieving, I began to state why he would never be hired and that I was going to call the police. He then reached down to the case, flipped a switch and ran. No one was injured, but I did need to get a new desk."

35. "... he asked if I wanted some cocaine before starting the interview."

Once you get over the tears of laughter (or disbelief), here are a few links to follow for tips on correctly interviewing and being interviewed for a software or similarly technical job:
Joel on Software: Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing
Google and Microsoft Interviewer, Niniane Wang offers good insight here
Bill Veneers at Artima Developer offers a great list of items for the interviewer here (interviewees take note)

(Photo Credit laverrue)

  • http://www.CompellingConversations.com Eric Roth

    A witty list of weak, under-prepared, and just bizarre job applicant stories. Few of these could be called "good mistakes", but they are instructive by negative example.

    The three links below each has their own appeal. Computer Science and EE majors should appreciate all three stories. I plan to mention this story and links to my graduate students as they prepare for a job fair on campus.

    Thanks for sharing!