Coming Soon: Job Interview Horror Stories
  • leadership
  • Blog post

Coming Soon: Job Interview Horror Stories

Readers, the HR Café needs your help.

After the resounding success of the “Top 5 Criminally Stupid Managers” post we did a few weeks ago, we’re looking to follow it up with another set of tales of unbelievable workplace behavior. This time, we’re setting our sights on job applicants.

That’s where you, the readers, come in: We need you to send us your stories of the worst job applicants you’ve ever had come in for an interview. We’re talking about the most lazy, unprofessional, and just plain bizarre people ever to come to you begging for a job. Some general examples:

  • The guy who shows up to his interview drunk, high or in some other “altered state”
  • The woman who stops the interview so she can answer a cell phone call from her boyfriend/best friend/parole officer/etc.
  • The applicant who shows up late because they got wrapped up in beating that last level of Angry Birds and lost track of time.

If you have a story similar to (or perhaps worse than) the ones above, tell us about it! Send an email to with the subject line “Job Interview Horror Stories”, or leave a comment on this post. If your story is truly strange and unbelievable, we’ll use it in a future post. Of course, all submissions will be confidential but please do not use real names.

So, readers, have at it! What are the worst things you’ve ever seen in a job interview?


  • Jcase says:

    I was interviewing for a receptionist position.  As I went to greet the applicant, in my mind I said “you have gots to be kidding me!”.  She wore a blouse showing cleavage, skinny jeans that appeared to have been painted on her, and stiletto heels.  I introduced myself, greeted her with a smile and in return I received a “smirk”.  I knew this was going to be an “express” interview.  As I asked a few questions, she glanced at her watch continuously as if she had to somewhere to go.  The reaction in my mind was “did someone force you to come to this interview?  Why are you wasting both of our time?”  When I closed the interview with “do you have any questions?”.  She responded, “yeah, are those your kids? And is that their daddy or do they have different daddies?”  The reaction in mind which was not as professional as my body language, “hell no!  She has to go!”

  • Kendra says:

    I had a candidate I had submitted to a client for a technical position, I believe an SAP consultant.  The person lived on a ranch in the midwest, travelling to client sites for projects.  Our client interviewed him, and the only feedback he gave was, “Please tell your candidate not to feed his goats and chickens during a phone interview.  It makes it very hard to hear what he’s saying.”

  • rjordan says:

    Years ago when I was a recruiter for an assistant living agency, I interviewed a young lady for an in-house caregiver position.  When I greeted her in the lobby I was immediately turned off by the hot pink, fleece jogging suit she was wearing, that clearly spelled out “JUICY” across her rear end.  During the interview I went over the job requirements and what was expected of the employee in the position.  I went on to tell her that during her workday if she had to use her personal vehicle the agency would reimburse her for mileage.  Midway through the interview, the receptionist knocked on my door to inform the applicant that her two small children, who she’d obviously left in the car, were in the lobby looking for her.  At this point, I was totally done with the applicant and the interview and got up, thanked her for coming and said “we’ll be in touch.”  Her application was immediately put in the “NO” file.  A few days later I received a call from her inquiring when she could expect her check.  Completely blindsided, I asked her, what check?  And, she said during the interview I had told her if she drove her car the agency would reimburse her.  As far as she was concerned she was entitled for gas reimbursement because she’d used her car to come to the interview!

  • Henryk says:

    How about the worst job interview I had.  I was interviewing for a HR Manager position for the county.  Three commissioners were doing the interviewing.  One commissioner was brow beating me while another was laying his head on the table totally tuned out.  And they run our county, no wonder we are in such shambles…I am now a republican.

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