30 HR Managers Reveal Their Worst Experience While Interviewing A Job Applicant

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1. Texted mom during the interview.

Oh god, I have a million. Most recent was a guy who filled out his application via texts from his mother. He would take a picture of the question on the app and she would text him back the answer. He took an hour to fill out a two page basic application.

2. Put “statutory” on the application.

I managed a smoke shop in college, and had a guy come in to apply for a job shirtless. As he filled out his application, he proceeded to ask me how to spell “statutory.”

3. Inappropriate work attire.

I saw a guy during his first week of training wearing jeans with air brushed on strippers.

He was told to go home.

4. Took a call during the interview.

Mine isn’t that bad, but I was interviewing a woman once whose phone went off during the middle of the interview. She grabs for it, so I assume she’ll just silence it and continue. Instead, she answers it and goes on to talk to her friend for about 3 minutes about random stuff (aka – not an emergency) before saying that she has to go because she’s in an interview.

Needless to say, she didn’t get the job.

5. A flatulent applicant.

Me: What’s one of your weaknesses?

Him: Well. Sometimes after lunch, I can get a little gassy.

6. A proselytizing applicant.

After a nice hour-long interview with one of the best candidates, he asked if he could speak with us for a moment about the lord. This guy wanted to recruit us to be JW.

7. Wrong answer to “give me an example of a time you went out of your comfort zone.”

During an interview we asked the candidate for an example of when they had to do something, which was out of their comfort zone. She replied with “On a night out last year I drank way too many shots and had to have my stomach pumped. That was really uncomfortable.”

8. A skanky applicant.

I was once asked by a very attractive female if there was anything I (HR) could do to help her get the job. I’m pug fugly, so she must have been pretty desperate.

9. Wrong answer to “what do you like about the Internet?”

Coworker of mine was interviewing a junior developer for a job writing web performance testing code. To gauge the dude’s interest in the field, my coworker asked what the guy liked most about the Internet. The guy said “porn.” Then he realized what he had said, panicked, and asked my coworker not to tell anyone he had said that.

I mean, it’s the right answer, but not in that context. He didn’t get the job.

10. A less-than-enthused applicant.

I had a guy show up in a t-shirt and jeans to a developer interview. He didn’t look as if he had showered, wasn’t nervous at all, knew barely any coding, and said he couldn’t start for a month because he and his band were going on tour. We didn’t hire him.

11. A stoned applicant.

In high school, one of my girlfriends went in for a job at Ralphs, when asked why she wanted to work there, she responded (stoned), “I like food.” She was hired and came to be known as food girl.

12. Lost in translation.

One of my favorite moments came when I was interviewing someone for whom English was not his native language, and I think something got lost a bit in the translation.

I asked a required question of the job: “Are you able to lift 30 pounds unassisted?”
His reply: “Yes…I am a man.”

It was difficult to keep a straight face after that one.

13. Odd sartorial choice.

I’m not an HR person, but the other day someone came in to my department for an interview wearing a zoot suit. I didn’t even know those were still available to buy.

14. Talked poorly of his former boss.

I work at an investment firm where we train new financial advisors coming in from a different industry. In the first interview I asked, “Tell me what you’re doing now?” and he launched into a 10 minute tirade (I had to stop him) about how his evil boss at taco bell framed him for giving nacho’s to his friend. Didn’t make the second interview.

15. Wrong answer to “greatest weakness?”

During a job interview one time I said, “I love children.” That’s usually a good thing to say, except the question was “What’s your greatest weakness?”

16. A terrifying interview.

I was a fairly inexperienced manager interviewing a very normal middle-aged guy for a blue-collar position when this happened:
Me: I see there is a gap of several years here in your job experience. Can you tell me what that’s about?

Him: Yes I was serving a 5-year prison sentence
Me: sitting in awkward stunned silence trying figure out what to say next
Him: I was convicted of raping my daughter
Me: feeling a million times more awkward and wondering how the heck this guy got past HR
Me: OkIthinkIamdonenow. LetmetakeyoubacktotheHRmanager.

I don’t know if he felt we would find out anyway so why not just fess up or if he was kind of crazy.

17. An applicant with little experience.

We asked a lady who had come to interview for a position as a teacher’s assistant what her experience was. She replied “well I used to be a child, so I do know about them.”

18. A brutally honest applicant.

Me: “How is your relation to alcohol? Do you drink?” Applicant: “Good! Yeah I drink, but not cause I think it tastes good, only to get drunk.”

Guy didn’t flinch. He was completely honest. I gave him the job.

19. Recited lines from a movie.

I was interviewing college freshmen for a programming position. One of my last questions was “Could you tell me a time when you were forced to work in a group with people you didn’t know, and how you got along with them?” The girl recited the plot of Mean Girls perfectly.

20. An applicant who clearly didn’t even want to be there.

I have a pile of resumes that I keep because they are absolutely hilarious. I can’t believe someone would send something like that to a company and expect to get hired. I wish I could forward them to the unemployment agency and say “stop paying this guy, he’s not trying.”

I had one guy show up with a hat on, and big leather jacket with skulls, and jeans with patches of all the NBA teams (I work in a pretty formal environment). He sat slumped in his chair and would barely answer any questions. The whole time he was acting like I was wasting his time interviewing him. I cut it short obviously. Last time I interview someone without a phone interview first because of a “recommendation.”

21. An applicant with ulterior motives.

I used to work for a salon over by IVC and I hired this college girl as a receptionist. Things went well for about three months when one day she never showed up. Turns out the only reason she applied was because she thought I was cute and when I didn’t pick up on her advances she quit. I really am oblivious.

22. A thumb-sucking applicant.

Last year, I went to a job fair at a local college to tell people about the internship at my office. A young lady stops at my table, asks what kind of jobs I have available, and hands me her resume. I look down to skim her resume. When I look back up, she has her thumb in her mouth.

I asked her about her major, her previous jobs, her availability, and she answered all my questions while she sucked her thumb. Sad thing is, other than that, she was probably the most qualified person I saw all day.

23. Received a bill from an applicant.

I was interviewing a software engineer. The interview went ok, nothing wrong but the guy just wasn’t great. He called multiple times over the next two weeks until we made our decision, which was someone other than him. Upon learning this he got pissed and sent us a bill for his time during the interview.

24. Wrong answer to “give me an example of a time you had to resolve a conflict.”

Me: tell me about a time you have had to resolve a conflict Interviewee: A guy tried to start a fight with me last Friday, so I knocked his teeth out.

25. An applicant with “rape” on his resume.

I used to work at a record store. I wasn’t a manager, but I would sometimes get to see the applications people dropped off. One of the questions on the applications was “what kind of music do you like,” or something like that. This particular applier wrote, “I like rock, metal, and rape.”

26. Wrong answer to “what kind of animal would you like to be?”

A co-worker and I were interviewing applicants and my co-worker asked what kind of animal they’d like to be. The applicant said a cat, because they’re sneaky and can get away with stuff.

27. A desperate applicant.

I once interviewed a woman who kept flirting with me, touching me, telling me how she was willing to anything for this job, wink wink, etc. She was sort of attractive, but I sure as hell wasn’t interested. Then came the clincher:

Me: “What made you leave your previous position?”
Her: “My boss fired me because I gave him herpes.”

28. A guy who showed up looking like an idiot.

Interviewed a guy who showed up in a rock t-shirt and had goggles on his head. He smelled so bad we had to cut the interview short.

29. Applicant with a shady past.

We interviewed a woman for an office manager position who was being real cagey about her past. She mentioned that she ran a certain website but wouldn’t say the name. Using some of the tidbits from the interview and the Google we found out that she was actually a hard-core porn star (and failed to mention that on her resume). Whoops.

30. An applicant with an inappropriate email address.

She never got to an interview, but I worked for a psych office and we had a job applicant apply from the email address (similar to) slut_bunny_69@hotmail.com. I told the office manager I wouldn’t even consider working with someone who used hotmail. TC mark

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