20 Job Interview Stories That Can Help You Read Recruiters Like an Open Book
No matter how many job interviews you’ve had in your life, chances are recruiters can still surprise you. From tricky questions to awkward behavior, there are many ways they can bewilder you and make you lose your confidence. Luckily, experienced interviewees have many tips on how to rock any interview, and they’re glad to share them with the rest of the world.
Here at Bright Side, we know how tough job interviews can be, so we looked through several Reddit threads searching for useful stories and tips that can help you nail your next interview. Here’s what we’ve got!
Be prepared to find yourself in an awkward situation.
I ended up in a very weird situation. I arrived a bit too early at the office where I was applying (consulting company). The receptionist told me I could have a coffee while waiting.
I ordered a coffee. The waitress asked me:
“Are you a client?”
I answer: “No, I’m coming for an interview.”
“Why do you want to work here?”
I found that question strange, but I answered: “Because I want to work in a challenging environment, and I’m certain this company has the right mindset for it.”
“So you need us?”
At that point, I was completely off guard, thinking, “What’s going on? I’m ordering a coffee, maybe it’s a hidden interview, and she will report that to the partners, watch out!” And I answered: “I think we both need each other, this business wouldn’t run without its people.”
She still asked me 2 extra questions and that was extremely strange... Still unsure if the waitress was a hidden HR. I got the job. @dinin70
I recently had an “email interview” before I had to attend a 2nd in-person interview. No big deal. It was a list of 10 questions. I answered them. Double-checked my work. Submitted.
When I got to the in-person interview, the dude laughed at me and asked how I had such “attention to detail” when I’d only answered half of the questions. I just sat there stupefied until I asked him if the rest of my email was on the back of his paper.
It was. He had printed double-sided and not even checked.
But the hardest part of answering was my own stammering and trying not to call him out for his own mistake. @shakespearestark
Get ready to nail all unexpected questions.
Them: “Why shouldn’t we hire you?”
Me: “Because I care about my family more than my job, and if I have to choose between them and work, I’ll choose them.”
I got the job. @AgileCzar
It was a lunch interview and, at the end, the manager asked:
“Who was our server today?”
I had zero idea because I was more focused on hearing the specials than her name. Must have made me look like a snob though, because I didn’t get the job. @laterdude
“Would you rather focus on one thing and do it 100% well while doing two other things poorly, or would you rather do three things at 70%?”
It was a tough question.
I told them off the bat that it was an intriguing question and that, honestly, I give 100% in my projects and I hate presenting things that I don’t feel are up to my standards. @Sheepishly_Ragtag
I interviewed with Marvel, the interview went incredibly well, and the last question they asked was “Who is your favorite hero?” and, to this day, I regret not saying Agent Phil Coulson and just going with Spider-Man because there was a giant Spider-Man mural on the wall next to us.
Don’t work there full-time, but they do hire me out as a freelancer from time to time, which is really cool. @Rios93
“In the event of a fire in the building, is your first priority to pull the alarm or call 911?”
Caught me off guard, and I said, “Pull the alarm.”
Correct answer was “Both”... @WeirdWolfGuy
Pay attention to red flags that scream: “It’s better not to work here!”.
I didn’t know it at the time, but “you’ll be wearing many hats” was a sign that they were going to give me the work of four positions and the wage of one. I didn’t last a year there before I left, and now I won’t even finish reading job ads that include that line. @Couch_slug
Once, an interviewer straight up asked me if I had any trouble working for free on weekends... I told them my free time is more valuable than anything and that the only way that I would work a weekend is if they are paying me and if I felt like working a weekend. She got really mad at me and ended the interview right away.
Biggest red flag I’ve ever seen because they didn’t even try to hide it. @lempiraholio
I interviewed with an insurance company about twenty years ago. They demanded that I provide them with a contact list of no fewer than a hundred friends and family. Noped out of that quickly. @stupidlyugly
When you are signing all the forms they give you and you are taking your time to read over every document so that you can fully understand what you are getting into, and people come in and start telling you that you don’t need to read this and that just sign here and so on. @Saxon_Shields69
Jobs where the expectations of the position aren’t clear. The person hiring you should be able to give a clear idea of what your responsibilities are day to day in a practical way. It shows that the company understands what it wants out of the position.
I’ve worked a couple of positions that had a really hard time figuring out who was supposed to do what that led to a lot of confusion and both of them had this in the interviews. If the company you’re working for can’t define what success in that position looks like, you won’t be able to either. @Xerodo
Ask the right questions and try wearing bright shoes.
My other half always wears bright shoes and calls it her “shoe theory.” If you wear bright shoes, the interviewer will link it to you when discussing candidates. I.e., “Oh, which candidate was it that you really liked?” — “The one with the shoes.”
It seems to work for her. Every time she’s had a callback, they’ve mentioned her shoes and offered the job. @KaiRaiUnknown
At the end of the interview, it’s a good idea to ask the interviewer: “Tell me something positive about working here that I won’t find with many other employers.”
The more personal the answer, (“Deb brings in cookies on Fridays,” “We have a company trip to Worlds of Water every July,”) the better the job will be. The more it sounds like a rehashed version of their mission statement, the worse. @DDodgeSilver
I start every single interview with, “Before I walk through my experience, can you please describe what your ideal candidate is and what success looks like in this role.” I then spend the rest of the interview relating all of my experience specifically to what they say. The only interview I have not received an offer for was when I interviewed at Google. I believe my successful interviewing is solely because of this approach.
I also interview for fun and do it regularly. Every few months or so, I’ll interview if a recruiter messages me on LinkedIn. When you have zero intentions of taking a job, it’s a great opportunity to practice, and then, when it comes to crunch time for the job you really want, you will be 1000% more confident. It also allows you to get a feel of what the market will pay for your experience, and you can leverage that to negotiate when you get an offer. @t***sprinkles1130
Don’t be afraid of the “What is your biggest weakness?” question.
My answer to that question at the local ice cream parlor was “My biggest weakness is chocolate.”
I got the job. And a free scoop of chocolate ice cream every day I worked there. @M3l0n_L0rd
“Terrified at public speaking” is usually the one I go with. It’s fairly relatable but easy to brush off by saying I get past it through practice. It also has the benefit of being true. @EnigmaticInk
An honest answer followed by how you’re improving.
“I tend to procrastinate, but I keep that at bay by sticking to a to-do list”, etc. @willis1988
This might only be applicable to someone newly out of college or applying for entry-level jobs, but I had a professor tell me to say “Lack of experience.” If you’re applying for an intro level job, it’s expected, it’s a weakness that’s not really your fault, and you can spin it as a reason you should get the job. @BicuspidSumo2
The year is 2015, and I’m interviewing for my first job at an unnamed game studio. I’m super nervous, I did the pre-interview tests, and they liked them. And I get that question.
“I get really nervous, and I talk a lot and ramble. It’s pretty much word vomit until my brain catches up with my mouth until I catch up with what I just said. And most of the time, I can’t really remember the question...”
It got a lot of laughs in the room, but I really couldn’t remember at the time what the director had just asked me. @D1STR4CT10N
What is the toughest or funniest job interview you’ve ever had? Can you share your own job interview tips with our readers?