How Not to Act in a Job Interview
Real examples of hilariously bad behavior reported by interviewers
You would think that any normal person would know better, but apparently not. Here are some examples of hilariously bad behavior interviewers report as actually happening during interviews with potential job candidates.
This list came to us as a survey of top personnel executives from 100 major US corporations—the question was about unusual behavior by job applicants. Whether they're real or not, it's a fun way to illustrate how not to behave.
- Applicant claimed to be so well qualified that if he didn't get the job, it would prove the company's management was incompetent.
- Applicant stretched out on the floor to fill out the job application.
- Applicant brought her large dog to the interview.
- Applicant chewed bubble gum and constantly blew bubbles.
- Applicant kept giggling through serious interview.
- Applicant wore a Walkman, claiming she could listen to the interviewer and the music at the same time.
- Balding applicant abruptly excused himself and returned to the office a few minutes later, wearing a hairpiece.
- Applicant challenged the interviewer to arm wrestle.
- Applicant asked to see the interviewer's resume to see if the personnel executive was qualified to interview him.
- Applicant announced she hadn't had lunch and proceeded to eat a hamburger and french fries during the interview.
- Without saying a word, applicant stood up and walked out during the middle of the interview.
- Applicant wore a jogging suite to interview for the position of financial vice-president. (Yes, dress codes are getting more casual. But please.)
- Applicant asked interviewer if he would put on a suit jacket to ensure the offer was formal.
- Applicant said if he were hired, he would demonstrate his loyalty by having the corporate logo tattooed on his forearm.
- Applicant interrupted to phone his therapist for advice on answering specific interview questions.
- Applicant refused to get out of his chair until interviewer agreed to hire him. Interviewer had to call the police to have him removed.
- When asked about his hobbies, applicant stood up and started tap dancing around the interviewer's office.
- Applicant had a miniature pinball game and challenged the interviewer to play with him.
- Applicant bounced up and down on the office carpet and told interviewer she must be highly thought of by the company to get such a thick carpet.
- Applicant removed a hairbrush from the interviewer's purse, brushed his hair, and left.
- Applicant pulled out a Polaroid camera and snapped a flash picture of the interviewer. He claimed to collect photos of everyone who interviewed him.
- Applicant said he wasn't interested because the job paid too much.
- While the interviewer was in the middle of a long-distance call, the applicant took out a copy of a popular men's magazine and looked at the photos only, stopping longest at the centerfold.
- During the interview, an alarm clock went off in the applicant's briefcase. He took it out, shut it off, apologized, and said he had to leave for another interview.
- A telephone call came in for the job applicant. His side of the conversation went as follows: "Which company? When do I start? What's the salary?" When the interviewer said he assumed the applicant was not interested in completing the interview, he promptly responded "I am as long as you'll pay me more." The interviewer did not hire him, and later found out there was no other job offer--it was a scam to get a better offer.
- Applicant arrived wearing only one shoe, and explained the other was stolen off her foot on the bus.
- Applicant's attache case opened when he picked it up and the contents spilled, revealing women's undergarments and assorted makeup and perfume.
- Applicant came to the interview with a moped and left it in the reception area. He didn't want it to get stolen, and stated he would require indoor parking for the moped if he were hired. He wasn't.
- Applicant removed his right shoe and sock, removed a medicated foot powder, and dusted it on the sole of his foot and in the shoe. While he was putting the shoe and sock back on, he mentioned he had to use the powder four times a day, and this was the time.
- Applicant said he didn't really want to get a job, but the unemployment office needed proof he was looking for one.
- Applicant whistled while the interviewer was talking.
- Applicant asked who the "lovely babe" in the picture was. When the interviewer said it was his wife, applicant asked if she was home now and wanted the interviewer's phone number. The interviewer called security.
- Applicant threw up on the interviewer's desk and immediately started asking questions about the job, like nothing had happened.
- Pointing to a black case he'd carried into the interviewer's office, applicant stated if he were not hired, the bomb would go off. Disbelieving, the interviewer began to state why applicant would never be hired and that he was going to call the police. The applicant then reached down to the case, flipped a switch, and ran. No one was injured, but the interviewer did have to get a new desk.
- Applicant sits down in interviewer's office, leans back, puts his feet on her desk, and proceeds to tell her why he should have her job.