Hiring Managers Share Their Real Interview Nightmares

Posted by Bill Fries on Oct 30, 2013 8:43:00 AM

In honor of Halloween, we asked Tampa staffing managers to tell us some of the scariest things they’ve experienced in interviews.  We thought we’d get a few interesting stories; however, we were flooded with responses. A few common themes appeared including outrageous outfits, crazy reasons why people left their previous jobs and improper language use during interviews.

So, lock your doors, turn on all your lights and prepare yourself for some real interview horror stories:

staffing scary interview stories

“I once interviewed a woman who shared a story about her being interviewed on a national TV talk show about having a nasty, dirty house. She was clearly proud of the horrid condition of her home. Why would I want to hire this person?”

“One time a candidate asked if her mom could join her for the interview!”

“I once had a sales candidate wrap up an interview by saying they were very interested in getting the job with us; however, in their final pitch for the job, they got the name of our company wrong. When I corrected them, they asked me what our company did again and what was the job again?”

“I asked the candidate to tell me why they left their last job. They said ‘I have an anger management problem so I thought it was best that I quit my job before I blew up everybody in the joint!’”

“I was interviewing a woman for a housekeeping position. She was sitting across from me with a very large purse in her lap.  About half way through the interview she reached into her purse and started digging around for something.  She was still responding to my questions so I continued.  All of a sudden she pulled a Q-tip out of her purse and started cleaning her right ear.  I stopped talking.  She then pulled it away from her ear, looked at it, turned it over and proceeded to clean out the left ear. She pulled it away, looked at it again and then put it back in her purse.  I ended the interview at that point, thanked her for coming and did NOT shake her hand.”

“I once had an interview where the candidate went on a sneeze attack and simultaneously broke wind, yes it was loud. My eyes were probably the size of saucers but I quickly gave a light hearted chuckle and moved on.”

“Someone’s neck started bleeding from shaving in the car on the way to the interview!”

fire tampa staffing keyboard“At the end of an interview the candidate, while reaching out to shake my hand, knocked over their coffee spilling it all over my keyboard. It began to smoke which set off the fire alarms and the entire building was evacuated. A few days later we found out it was actually faulty wiring, but the scorch mark left on the desk was a pretty scary reminder of that day.”

“During an interview an applicant kept jingling the change in his pocket causing quite a distraction. I guess his level of nervousness increased as the interview progressed and I asked for specific examples of his experience as he then began flicking a lighter in his pocket and inadvertently set his pants on fire. He then grabbed his bottle of water and poured it into his lap to put out the fire (very scary sight indeed).  Turns out most of his experience was embellished on his resume which changed the whole way I viewed the term liar, liar, pants on fire. LOL!”

“I was screening a candidate for a legal position in our law office who told me he was interested in working for us so he could get some legal advice.  He explained that his father had recently passed and his sisters were battling him for his father’s possessions.  After further probing, he said there was one item he really wanted which particularly meant a lot to him.   When I asked him what was it, he said ‘my parents bed because it was the one I was conceived in’!”

As hiring managers, we meet lots of candidates. At some point, we’re all bound to experience some scary moments. Feel free to share yours with us too. Happy Halloween!   

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Tags: interview tips, manager, hiring

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