10 Most Outrageous Interviews

CareerBuilder.com is out with its annual survey of the most outrageous interview mistakes candidates have made, so if you’ve ever dealt with toilet-flushers, hair-brushers, or cell-phone hushers, read on.

The careers site asked more than 3,000 hiring managers and HR professionals, and here are some of the wackiest snafus:

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  1. Candidate answered cell phone and asked the interviewer to leave her own office because it was a “private” conversation.
  2. Candidate told the interviewer he wouldn’t be able to stay with the job long because he thought he might get an inheritance if his uncle died – and his uncle wasn’t “looking too good.”
  3. Candidate asked the interviewer for a ride home after the interview.
  4. Candidate smelled his armpits on the way to the interview room.
  5. Candidate said she could not provide a writing sample because all of her writing had been for the CIA and it was “classified.”
  6. Candidate told the interviewer he was fired for beating up his last boss.
  7. When applicant was offered food before the interview, he declined saying he didn’t want to line his stomach with grease before going out drinking.
  8. A candidate for an accounting position said she was a “people person” not a “numbers person.”
  9. Candidate flushed the toilet while talking to interviewer during phone interview.
  10. Candidate took out a hair brush and brushed her hair.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.


4 Comments on “10 Most Outrageous Interviews

  1. We technically interview a candidate over the phone and you can hear him whispering to someone else to get the answer. It was really a group interview when it was supposed to be one person.

    It has happenned more than once. Definitely have to be sure you are getting who you think you are.

    I’ve seen some of the same firms that try these stunts post stellar resumes with different names on them (ie. completely forging resumes – same resume for multiple people).

    Be careful out there.

  2. I once interviewed the niece of a VP at my company as a favor to him. She clearly thought she was too “good” to do administrative work, so she spent the entire interview cleaning out her purse. I ended the interview within about 10 minutes and when I went to shake her hand and thank her for coming in, she handed me the trash she’d removed from her purse and asked me if I could throw it away for her… which I did.

  3. I interviewed a young man right when the dot.com/day trading bubbles were bursting. A former Staff Accountant, he mentioned that he gave up the corporate life to day trade using both his and his wife’s 401(k) and IRA assets. Now that he had destroyed virtually all of their assets, he was ready for corporate life again.

    The second whammy came when he asked if he could take care of his Ebay “business” while at work.

    Needless to say, next.

  4. But to be fair I think you need a top 10 for stupid stuff the interviewer said or did to the candidate. . .

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