15+ Ridiculous Job Interviews That Hiring Managers Are Unlikely to Ever Forget

3 weeks ago

At a job interview, an applicant should prove that they are better than others to get a desired job. But some people tend to do too much in their attempts to impress the recruiter. Here are some stories like this from hiring managers.

  • Hiring a new Project Manager for a new division of the company. The candidate comes in, and I notice his resume has him listed as "Project Manager in Company X for 4 years." The thing is, I was the Project Manager in that company during those 4 years.
    Dude straight up started lying about the experience. Had to show him my LinkedIn profile, company Facebook page where I'm still there in the old photos. He's like, "I was in sales, I thought it was the same thing." © Fade-Into-You / Reddit
  • I interviewed someone for a cake decorator position once. I took him to the cake case and asked if he was comfortable with the designs he saw. He kept saying, "Yeah, definitely! I could do something like that." I kept pressing him to see if he’d actually done it or if he just thought he could do it, and he continued to skirt around the question.
    I finally plopped some cake layers and some buttercream in front of him and asked him to decorate the cake for us, and he turned around and called out to the decorators in the kitchen, "Could someone tell me what I’m supposed to do?" © lydiebug225 / Reddit
  • At a job fair, I told people that we were doing a lot of work in the programming language Balrave, and asked if they had any experience with it. A disappointingly high number talked about using it for classes in college, and writing some side programs in it after they heard about it, and so on. They must have felt silly later when they googled it and discovered that there is no programming language Balrave, I'd just made it up as a way to tell who was lying to me. © CaveatAuditor / Reddit
  • I was tasked by my manager to hire an assistant and that I would do the interview. It was for a shipping assistant, basically manual labor, logging deliveries, and labelling outgoing. The only requirements were speaking English, comfortable using Excel, and can lift 50 lb. It took 10 candidates before we hit all 3.
    One of the biggest failures was a guy whom I asked if he could lift 50 lb unassisted. He said, "Yes, watch this," and tried to lift the steel work table that is bolted into the cement floor. "Mr. Interviewee, it is bolted to the floor." He looked puzzled at me and asked me angrily why I would do that to him. That I should trust him. © Nezan / Reddit
  • When providing work references, some "smart" applicants leave one digit off from the phone number. You think I can’t google the business?
    One person did that and had listed themselves as having been there for several years. I looked up the number and called: she’d been there 3 days and then stopped showing up. When I asked the applicant about it, she said I must have talked to the wrong supervisor and gave me a different (private) number to call. Yeah, you think I don’t know you have a friend posing as your previous supervisor? © 3Colton / Reddit
  • I speak enough Spanish to get by, and back in the day when I was a hiring manager, if anybody put "fluent in Spanish" on their resume, I'd walk into the interview room and introduce myself and start the interview in Spanish. The looks of panic from the kids who'd taken, like, 3 years of high school Spanish before college were priceless. © ER10years_throwaway / Reddit
  • We had someone come in and interview for a call center position. Their resume claimed they had 3 years working in a call center in town.
    When she arrived, she was very lethargic, and couldn't answer basic interview questions. When asked what she did at Call Center A, she literally just said "call center rep." When asked to elaborate on her duties, she repeated the same thing. © Unknown author / Reddit
  • My favorite story from the advertising business. At an ad agency, creative people get jobs on the strength of their portfolios, which are collections of ads they've created. This guy comes in with an amazing reel of TV commercials. A little too amazing, actually, especially for somebody I've never heard of.
    To make it worse, this guy just smells wrong: he's too young, too cocky, too aggressive. Just off. I call my boss and tell him my suspicions. He's stoked, invites me and the guy into his office to view the reel in question. He hits play, watches one award-winning ad after another. We exchange glances.
    Then the coup de grâce: a commercial starts playing. One that, unbeknownst to me, my boss had written. This idiot stole every award-winning ad he could think of, and didn't even bother to find out if any of the authors of the work he was stealing would be at the interview. My boss said in mid-reel, "You didn't make this!" The guy paused a second, then coughed up the lamest defense in the history of intellectual property theft, "Yeah. But I could." © jimmyjazz2000 / Reddit
  • I work at an architecture firm and I kid you not, a candidate attached one of our projects in her portfolio. Exactly the same 3D rendering. It wasn’t even listed on the company website, how she got it is still baffling. The hiring manager just played along. © Laxice7 / Reddit
  • A common one I see a lot is work history that is grandiose and excessively overqualified, especially if it's difficult or impossible to verify. I am in a high immigration city and deal with lots of international candidates, and have met a vast amount of people with titles like "Executive Director of Worldwide Distribution" or "Senior Vice President of Global Operations" from a company in Bulgaria or Cambodia or Dubai with no phone number or English website.
    I have had more than one "CFO" interview for an entry level position who had never seen a Profit & Loss statement before. © takecareful / Reddit
  • At our software company, we first screen potential candidates through a phone call with technical recruiters. One applicant did exceptionally well on the phone interview, answering all questions with apparent ease, so we decided to interview in person. The in-person interview went shockingly horrible. The candidate was unable to answer even the most basic questions.
    After a few attempts to simplify questions, I finally decided to ask him what was going on. Turns out we had interviewed his computer scientist son on the phone, and he was simply hoping to skirt by the in-person interview with 20 years of experience in construction. I tried to hire his son, but he wasn't interested. © FrashAppleJuice / Reddit
  • As someone who has hired many technicians in IT positions, I'm amazed at how many people would fake highly technical knowledge. I remember I needed a telecom engineer with very specific knowledge of a very specific voice system. I was getting suspicious of this one candidate, so I started asking about the exact syntax of command lines, and this guy was actually throwing out made-up commands! I was both fascinated and annoyed. © BaconReceptacle / Reddit
  • At my company, they were doing an online interview to someone in India. When they started making him technical questions, they noticed the audio went "out of sync." They paid closer attention and realized that in fact he was not talking, he was trying to lip sync someone else who was in the room with him answering the questions. © lucicis / Reddit
  • We had an interview candidate who said their Excel skills were "9.5 out of 10," and they knew how to do pivot tables. They literally started crying when we brought out a laptop for the skills test and asked them to make a pivot table out of sample data. © C***_Pants / Reddit
  • One woman I interviewed literally took a pause and read the answers to the questions straight off of Google (online Skype Interview). I noticed it because they were really weird pauses and googled it myself and literally followed along like subtitles. © Shyless21 / Reddit
  • I used to do interviews for a call center. Keep in mind that call centers have massively high turnover and are basically always hiring. Anyway, have a girl come in for an interview, wearing a sleeveless white undershirt which was incredibly see-through, as I was able to clearly see the leopard print bra she was wearing.
    We go back to do the interview. At one point, she pulls out her phone, and I’m just gobsmacked. I thought maybe there’s something urgent going on. Until I see a flash from her phone. She had taken a picture of me. And then she started giggling like, "Oh, I don’t know how that could have happened."
    Obviously, didn’t hire her. So yeah, that’s probably the worst interview I ever had to conduct. © Rnorman3 / Reddit

And here are a few stories about job interviews nobody was ready for.

Preview photo credit Rnorman3 / Reddit


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