10 Weird & Wonderful Things That Have Happened In An Interview

Business man and woman meetingWe had a really interesting discussion during our Advanced Management Skills course the other day. The delegates were a mix of middle and top level managers from a wide range of different companies, but they all had one thing in common – they had all experienced at least one weird situation during an interview which had completely caught them off guard and almost destroyed their whole interview!

Now whether they were the one conducting the interview or whether they we’re the candidate applying for the job, they all said that they had been in at least one awkward, tense or completely bizarre situation during an interview over the last 12 months and each of them claimed that what had happened to them had to be the worst thing that could happen in an interview.

This got me thinking about some of the nervous job applicants I’ve seen in my time, who often worry that they’ll say or do something horrible during the interview, and that it will be the worst interview ever. So I thought I’d compile a list of the top ten weird situations that I have heard about over the years to prove that no matter how bad you think your interview will be, it probably won’t be as bad as these:

  1. A manager who was conducting a phone interview ended the interview abruptly because, as he explained over the wailing of a klaxon, his building was being evacuated.
  2. The interviewee brought a copy of her resume and slid it across the desk to the interviewer, while explaining how difficult it was for her to work because of her contagious skin disease. After the interview, the interviewer burned the resume.
  3. Another interviewee wanted to demonstrate to the interviewer how committed he was to the company, and promised that, if he was hired, he would tattoo the company’s logo onto his forearm.
  4. Interviewees have shown disrespect for the prospective job and for the interviewers by eating their lunch during the interview, giggling during the entire interview, blowing bubble gum bubbles throughout the interview, or refusing to take out their earphones, claiming they could listen to the interviewer and their music at the same time.
  5. One manager was stunned when the candidate for a position demanded to see the manager’s resume first, to determine if he was qualified to judge the candidate’s merits.
  6. Interviewees should be careful of what they bring to interviews. Purses and briefcases have been known to open and spill their contents onto the interviewer, including ladies undergarments (in a man’s briefcase) and a Bowie knife which imbedded itself in the interviewer’s thigh.
  7. Other candidates seem to feel they can win a position by right of combat. Interviewers have been challenged to arm wrestle and compete at pinball.
  8. Many candidates try to trick interviewers into offering more money by saying another company is interested in them as well. In the most extreme example of this, a candidate actually accepted an imaginary job offer from another company during an interview.
  9. Hoping that persistence would pay off, an interviewee refused to get up and leave until he was given the job. Instead, he was escorted out of the building by security.
  10. Finally, in the most extreme example of what not to do when being interviewed, a man brought a brief case into an interview which he said contained a bomb, and that if he was not hired, he would blow up the building. When the interviewer threatened to call the police, the man flipped a switch in the briefcase and ran from the building. The resulting explosion destroyed the interviewer’s desk.

The best thing about this list is I don’t actually know which of these are mere hearsay and which situations actually happened during an interview – but for any nervous job seekers out there, this list of disastrous interviews should certainly help encourage you!

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

MTD Training   | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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Originally published: 9 November, 2012

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