Where Horror Meets Comedy: Job Interviewing Mishaps

Sometimes horror movies are so bad they make you laugh. As a recruiter you’ve probably had some horrible and funny moments, making you wonder if you’re starring in “Little Shop of Horrors” or “Young Frankenstein”. Here are some horrifyingly funny moments submitted to us by recruiters and hiring managers.

Helicopter Parent

“I used to do campus recruiting at Harvard. I had one day of back-to-back interviews, and one candidate had brought her mother. When I clarified that the interview was meant to be a one-on-one meeting with the candidate, the mother protested that she had flown in from Arizona in order to attend interviews with her daughter. The next day, back in my office, I received a voicemail from the mother asking for feedback on her daughter’s interview.”

Foggy Memory

“A candidate’s first words to me as I entered the interview room were, ‘Hi Karen, do you remember ‘me?’ I didn’t recognize him at all! It was spooky. I thought back to his resume. We didn’t have any college, grad school or employers in common. I checked additional interests to see if we’d volunteered anywhere together. Nothing. After a few embarrassing moments he shared that we went to high school together, albeit two years apart. That was over 20 years ago. We looked just a little bit different at this point. No, I didn’t remember him. And now the interview was off to a very awkward start.”

Not a Slip of the Tongue

“I interviewed one candidate and asked him, ‘If I talked to your clients what would they say about you?’ The candidate responded that the clients would say he over-promised and under-delivered. I figured he must have mixed up the adjectives so I asked if he meant under-promised and over-delivered but he said no. He meant the other one. That was awkward!”

Fruity and Loopy

“I have too many odd stories to count with 14-plus years in recruiting, but one of the funniest was a girl that came to an interview to work as a licensed Financial Service Representative wearing a necklace made out of Fruit Loops. I asked her about the necklace, and she told me that she loved the style of the necklace and that, if she was hungry, she could sit right back and eat her jewelry. It was a lovely interview. She started eating the necklace right there in the interview.

“I had another girl that kept receiving and sending texts during the interview. I finally had to ask her if she needed a few minutes to answer her texts that were obviously more important than the interview. She took me up on it, went outside for 15 minutes and then asked to come back for the interview. I told her that I would text her in a few days to let her know the outcome of the interview.”

Bad Acting

“I didn’t have a terrible interview, but I did GIVE a pretty ridiculous interview. My coworker, let’s just call him David, and I were interviewing a new associate account manager, and I decided to do the interview with a giant chunk of chocolate between my two front teeth, just to see how well they handled distractions. David and I also decided to play good cop, bad cop. Of course, I wanted to be bad cop. The interviewee had the audacity of having two pages for her resume, stapled together. As I was interviewing her, I flipped over the first page and made a slight show of ripping it from the second page. My coworker couldn’t hold it back anymore and let out a strange laugh/croak which broke my charade. The interviewee did well with the distractions, but we could see she was trying to hold back her laughter from the whole ridiculousness of the situation. We ended up hiring her so it was a happy ending for all!”

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