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Interview No No’s

picture of interview

Have you sat for an interview recently? If you've ever gone for a job interview, you have probably been coached on some of the "no no's" to avoid. There are all kinds of things the experts say you should not do — Don't bite your nails. Don't crack your knuckles. Don't fidget. Don't interrupt.... And on and on it could go, almost endlessly.

As parents learn soon enough, there's no way you can think of all the things your children might do; and after they've done those incredibly dumb deeds, they can honestly and innocently say, "But you never told me I shouldn't do that." (Oh, the stories we could all tell, but probably won't!) 😀 Some job applicants are apparently nothing but grown up children and will almost instinctively do or say the most outrageous things that no one would ever think to tell them not to! Top personnel executives of 100 major American corporations were asked for stories of unusual behavior by job applicants. Today's iv is some their experiences in interviewing what would/could have otherwise been potential employees.

1. Said he was so well-qualified that if he didn't get the job, it would prove that the company's management was incompetent.

2. Stretched out on the floor to fill out the job application.

3. Brought her large dog to the interview.

4. Chewed bubble gum and constantly blew bubbles.

5. Candidate kept giggling through serious interview.

6. She wore a Walkman and said she could listen to me and the music at the same time.

7. Balding candidate abruptly excused himself. Returned to office a few minutes later, wearing a hairpiece.

8. Applicant challenged interviewer to arm wrestle.

9. Asked to see interviewer's résumé to see if the personnel executive was qualified to judge the candidate.

10. Announced she hadn't had lunch and proceeded to eat a hamburger and French fries in the interviewer's office, wiping the ketchup on her sleeve.

11. Without saying a word, candidate stood up and walked out during the middle of the interview.

12. Man wore jogging suit to interview for position as financial vice president.

13. Stated that, if he were hired, he would demonstrate his loyalty by having the corporate logo tattooed on his forearm.

14. Interrupted to phone his therapist for advice on answering specific interview questions.

15. Wouldn't get out of the chair until I hired him. I had to call the police.

16. When I asked him about his hobbies, he stood up and started tap dancing around my office.

17. Had a little pinball game and challenged me to play it with him.

18. Bounced up and down on my carpet and told me I must be highly thought of by the company because I was given such a thick carpet.

19. At the end of the interview, while I stood there dumbstruck, he went through my purse, took out my brush, brushed his hair, and left.

20. Pulled out a Polaroid camera and snapped a flash picture of me. Said he collected photos of everyone who interviewed him.

21. Candidate asked me if I would put on a suit jacket to insure that the offer was formal.

22. Said he wasn't interested because the position paid too much.

23. During the interview, an alarm clock went off from the candidate's brief case. He took it out, shut it off, apologized, and said he had to leave for another interview.

24. A telephone call came in for the job applicant. It was from his wife. His side of the conversation went like this: "Which company? When do I start? What's the salary?" I said, "I assume you're not interested in conducting the interview any further." He promptly responded, "I am as long as you'll pay me more." I didn't hire him, but later found out there was no other job offer. It was a scam to get a higher offer from me.

25. An applicant came in wearing only one shoe. She explained that the other shoe was stolen off her foot in the bus.

26. He came to the interview with a moped and left it in the reception area. He didn't want it to get stolen, and stated that he would require indoor parking for the moped.

27. He took off his right shoe and sock, removed some medicated foot powder and dusted it on the foot and in the shoe. While he was putting back the shoe and sock, he mentioned that he had to use the powder four times a day, and this was the time.

28. Candidate said he really didn't want to get a job, but the unemployment office needed proof that he was looking for one.

29. He whistled while the interviewer was talking.

30. Asked who the lovely babe was, pointing to the picture on my desk. When I said it was my wife, he asked if she was home now and wanted my phone number. I called security.

31. She threw up on my desk and then immediately started asking questions about the job, like nothing had happened.

32. Pointing to a black case he carried into my office, he said that if he was not hired, the bomb would go off. Disbelieving, I began to state why he would never be hired and that I was going to call the police. He then reached down to the case, flipped a switch, and ran. No one was injured, but I did need to get a new desk.


That reminded me of a former post that gave some of totally inappropriate things that people have put in their résumés. I'm glad I didn't do or say anything like that in my recent interview. This past week a former student and current reader sent me a link to something similar on CNN's site, if you would like to read more.

In looking for an image to put at the beginning of this post, I ran across two cartoons that I'll use to end this post.




For any who don't know what IKEA is, you can learn a little more about it in my wife's most recent blog post about our week in Michigan.

Do you have any experiences to share, either as the interviewer or the interviewee?


"God writes better biography than we ever could." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

Many people quit looking for work once they find a job.

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7 Comments on “Interview No No’s”

  1. #1 Sandrew
    on Jul 28th, 2009 at 3:13 am

    Hm. Maybe the arm wrestling and tap dancing are what keep me from getting hired….

  2. #2 Jonathan
    on Jul 28th, 2009 at 8:58 am

    No 28 happens a lot. I was taking applications for office help, and one of the applicants left a resume that described herself as being “contentious and responsible”. I asked if should understood what that meant, and she admitted that she didin’t really know what the resume said. She had hired a career organization to put it together for her and wondered why no one had called her back. I suggested that she try and get her money back.

  3. #3 Vikki
    on Jul 28th, 2009 at 9:28 am

    During an interview I had for my first job out of college, the interviewer went into a very long telling of who everyone was, their names and all their positions, along with a detailed explanation about the corporate structure, all their subsidiaries, S-corporations, etc. During the second interview a couple of weeks later he referred to someone else in the office (not one of the officers). When I asked him to refresh my memory, he gave me a dirty look and said, “I went through all of this during our last interview. Do I need to repeat myself?” Later in that interview he asked, “I know I can’t ask this, but what will you do if one of your kids gets sick on a work day?” He then went on to describe the “incompetent” who had the position before saying that, after only two weeks on the job he just got up and walked out one day.

    Did I take the job? Yes, but not because of him. Someone else saw I was a good match to the company and encouraged me to take the position saying that they promised that he would not be a problem. He was fired only days after I started and the person who replaced him was great! We worked together for the next 13+ years until the company was sold and moved out of state.

    During my time there I also interviewed others.

    One person came in for an accounting position in blue jeans, t-shirt and jean jacket and spent the whole time telling how horrible her past employer was. NEXT!!

    Another one wasn’t interested in talking about the position or her qualifications. She only wanted to gab about everything under the sun like we were long lost buddies or something. NEXT!!!

    Then there’s the person who stops everything to answer their cell phone. Guess the call was more important than the job. NEXT!!!!

  4. #4 Michael
    on Jul 28th, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I don’t know. The one about the stolen shoe could actually have happened and not been the result of some quirk on the part of the applicant. The one about the person who threw up made me laugh out loud.

  5. #5 b.j.
    on Jul 29th, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    I’ve had a few people say they aren’t really interested in the job, but only need proof for unemployment. By the way, in your ending comments, you are “glad you do or say anything like that in your recent interview”? Kind of a funny post to have a typo like that, huh? ha ha!

  6. #6 Jkopp
    on Jul 29th, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Have you ever seen “Pursuit of Happiness?” Best way to go into an interview…Will Smith in Jeans, Sleveless Undershirt, unshaven, breathing hard. And he gets the job. Works every time.

    .-= Jkopp’s most recent blog post … My Online Class: Debate 101 =-.

  7. #7 Rob
    on Jul 31st, 2009 at 6:28 am

    @Sandrew – May I please go with you on your next interview? I’d enjoy seeing your antics.

    @Vikki – Some amazing stories, from both sides of the desk, told as only you can. Amazing! 🙂

    @Michael – Several people have mentioned that possibility about the stolen shoe. I guess if your shoe really were stolen, it would be better to keep your appointment, but still….

    @b.j. – I’m sure there are many who really aren’t interested in working, as you heard for yourself. Thanks for the heads-up — I put in the missing “didn’t”

    @Josh – I’ve never seen that one. It sounds … um … interesting. 😉