13 stories of candidates spectacularly tanking their job interviews
There are a lot of ways to blow the job interview.
Express Employment Professionals recently released a report listing the five worst things you can do in the interview, and we felt compelled to point out at the time that this should be qualified as the worst thing you could do in a job interview that you might actually do, because the list is otherwise potentially endless. After all, you shouldn’t put lotion on your feet, pat the interviewer’s butt, or go on a racist rant, but everyone knows that right?
I posted a query online, asking hiring managers to share examples of things candidates have done during the interview that tanked their chances of getting the job. Here are some of the incredible stories they shared. I tried to post them in order of weirdness, from least weird to weirdest. But I’m not sure I’ve succeeded.
At any rate, don’t do any of these things.
1. “During a phone interview the candidate put me on hold for over five minutes. I ended up hanging up and not calling them back.– Nina Parr, Co-Founder, The Love Your Job Project
2. “The candidate used countless f-bombs.” -Jason Douglas, Search Engine, Social Media Marketing, Mash Digital Marketing
3. “A woman brought her infant and breast fed during the interview.” – Dane Espegard, Division Manager, Vector Marketing
4. “A candidate asked us for a reminder call the day before the interview.” – Amy Marhsall, VP, Social Media Strategy & Research, FATHOM
5. “A girl took her shoes off in the waiting room and proceeded to lotion her feet.” – Susie Cook, former Recruiter (now National Craig’s List Manager), Vector Marketing
6. “The candidate Skyped me from his bathroom, with the toilet in view. Another candidate ate lunch during our virtual meeting, her excuse being that the meeting was scheduled during her lunch hour and she ‘wouldn’t have a chance to eat’” Cherrice Bryant, Executive Search Consultant with The Oliver Group
7. “A candidate arrived 40 minutes early. I was on a conference call and told my colleague to tell him to take a walk around the complex as I wouldn’t be off the call for twenty more minutes. The candidate got offended that I wouldn’t see him right away and went home. The next day he called to apologize and wanted to come back in, but I was no longer interested. – Bob Bentz, President, ATS Mobile
8. “When the candidate’s webcam came on the background was a wall of stuffed animals that had been pinned/nailed to the wall.” – Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2
9. “The candidate kept talking about how she was too beautiful to do the sales job. She was worried she would constantly be warding off male suitors. I thought she was actually pretty homely. Also, almost all my clients are women.” Ashfa Qu, Founder, Skinlicious Soaps Ltd
10. “A candidate failed to properly park his car in the parking lot and it rolled back and just missed my company vehicle. The owner of my company came in mid interview and brought this to the candidate’s attention. The candidate properly parked his car and proceeded to have a terrible interview. He repeatedly talked in the third person. When I asked him what made him stand out he said ‘Randy has a beautiful wife at home who is going to get her doctorate and Randy has to pay for it, also Randy knows a bunch of purchasing managers.’ He emailed me minutes after the interview telling me he ‘didn’t appreciate’ the president coming in and telling him to move his car, and he isn’t interested in the position and to not take any of the president’s crap.” – Marcello Medini, Sales Team Leader, PNG Logistics
11. “I was discussing a job opening with a possible candidate over lunch. She ate about half of her spaghetti while going on a great length about the shortcomings of her current employer. She asked the waiter for a doggy bag, then emptied the spaghetti into the container, then put a half-eaten piece of bread off her plate on top, then added the bread remaining in the bread basket to the bag. Then she added the whole basket of tea packets that had come as a selection with the tea she’d ordered. She added all the sweetener packets, then the salt and pepper shakers.” – Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates
12. “I represented a candidate to a number of clients. Had a great background and presentation so I scheduled him for several interviews. Apparently, at each interview he claimed to have lost his wallet and asked them to cash a check for him for about $30. Every check bounced.” – Jeff Altman, Host of Job Search Radio
13. “Our receptionist didn’t show up for the day. I had candidates coming in. I was manning the phones while waiting for the temp to arrive. A male candidate walked in, full of swagger, and said he was there for the job interview. I didn’t introduce myself because the phones were ringing, and just gave him a form to fill out and told him someone would be right with him.
He then said, ‘As soon as you’re done with this (waving his finger at the phone) how about you get me a cup of coffee,’ and patted me on the butt.
I said, ‘Sure thing!’ asked him how he took it, then hand delivered it to him. The look on his face when he was escorted into my office and introduced to me was priceless. I made him run through the entire interview process.
Another time, I asked someone why she quit her last job. She replied ‘The blacks!!!’ And proceeded to tell me every single thing that was wrong with them.” – Dawn Carey Newton, COO, Netki