Sometimes all it takes is one moment to realize when a job interview is over. In fact, said moment could be at the immediate beginning, or even the moment before. Even if the interview does end up continuing, to either the interviewer or interviewee or even both, it was far from worth it.
Hiring managers and hiring hopefuls alike can recall a time when they participated in job interviews that, pretty much, ended as soon as they began. Reddit is where they went to tell the world. For those still putting out resumes, perhaps you should take note.
"I work in software development.
As part of the interview process at my company, our candidates interview over Skype using a code-sharing website for them to complete a small and relatively simple problem to help weed out candidates who are dishonest on their resumes.
In one of my interviews, I started with the usual introduction of myself, my role within the company, so on and so forth. I introduce her to the task and explain that it'll be on a code-sharing website and that she'll need to follow the link I will send her to access it. I paste the link into the text window and explain to her how to access it (some people haven't used Skype before and don't know how to access text chat in a video call). She smiles and nods and asks me when I'm done, 'will you be writing the link on the whiteboard?'
What whiteboard? I look behind me and remember that yes, there is a small whiteboard behind me, and this woman was expecting me to handwrite the (not so short) link and she would read it off the webcam to type it into her browser. 'No,' I explain, 'I sent you the link within Skype itself. If you'll just click...' I'm forced to trail off as she reaches forward and picks up her webcam (which I'm assuming was mounted to the top of her monitor). I get a nice close-up of her eye as she peers inside the camera, then turns it on its side to observe it some more. I ask her what she's doing. 'Trying to find the link,' she replies.
Dumbfounded, I once again explain that the link was sent over Skype and wouldn't appear behind me nor on the webcam. She resumes the smile-and-nod routine as I ask her to follow my directions to access the Skype text chat window. I ask her to wave her mouse cursor over my face until she sees some buttons appear. She takes her hand off the mouse, raises it, and waves it over the screen. I explain to her again that she needs to use the mouse and she smiles and nods again.
After about 15 minutes (of a 30-minute interview), she did finally discover the link in the Skype text chat, but she proceeded to type it into her browser by hand.
She did not make it to the next round."
"I became the hiring manager for a mom and pop restaurant when I was 18 years old. I looked young and most people put me at about 16 at the time.
I had exchanged some emails with a woman wanting to become a server. I was planning on hiring her as she had lots of experience and seemed nice. Having never seen her in person, I scheduled her an in-person interview. On the day of her interview, I just happened to be at the hostess station when she arrived.
'Hi, welcome,' I said to greet her, until she cut me off with what has become one of my favorite instances of self-sabotage I have ever witnessed.
'Alright, listen,' she began, 'I'm about to get hired here as a server. So, what that means is that you, as a little hostess, are going to sit me with all the big tables and give me all the good regulars or I won't tip you out and I'll make your life miserable. Got it? Good. Now, run along and tell your hiring manager, that I'm here.'
'Actually, I'm the hiring manager,' I said back, smiling sweetly. 'I'm sorry to have you come up here for no reason, but I've already filled all of our open serving positions. You have a nice day.'
There was no way I was going to hire someone with that much attitude."
"I was hiring for a Senior Project Manager. It was quite a full-on role that may have required some extra work at times, for which I was always happy to compensate with time off in lieu. A well-qualified girl came in for an interview. She had not been working for several months. It was no big deal, but worth exploring.
'I had some problems with my last manager,' she said.
Right then, red flags began waving. Of course, I have had problems with managers too - both those whom I have worked for and those who worked for me. It's not entirely uncommon.
'What kind of problem?' I asked.
'Well, he, like, wanted me to come into the office every day.'
'Hmm. Was it a full-time job?'
'Yes, I guess so. Would you want me to work, like, every day? Because, sometimes, I just wake up and want to go back to sleep again.'
I was not sure, for a moment, if I was on Candid Camera, but she was serious.
'Yes we would,' I replied. 'I don't think that this role is for you.'"
"I once had a guy come in for an interview who wrote 'will explain' written in the 'Have you ever been convicted of a felony?' line. Honestly, no red flags. We get that a lot. The dude was also clean cut and well spoken. I figured it was probably some stupid thing he did when he was 18 and naive.
At the interview, he opened up not with, 'Hello,' but with how his conviction for assault a few years ago was bogus and only happened because his girlfriend's parents didn't like him.
Er. OK, dude.
We pushed through with the interview, but every other question or so, he would circle back to his assault charge. He became angrier at his ex as he explained to us what she had said and how it wasn't his fault. When we wouldn't participate in his rant, he began getting angry with us.
We went in another direction with the hire."
"I worked as a supervisor at an ambulance company about five years ago. We had crazy turn-over, so we were constantly hiring new EMT's to fill open spots on the schedule. One of my many duties was to assist with the hiring process a few days a week.
The hiring process went as follows: the candidate would come to the main office, take a written test, take a skills test simulation, and then have a panel interview with human relations and the operations supervisor. As an EMT on the ambulance, one should know how to read a map and get to an address without much issue.
This one candidate, whom I will call 'Ding-Dong-Diana' (DDD), called our dispatch about 30 minutes before her set appointment time and was flustered. She had no idea where she was and the dispatch supervisor was trying to keep her cool while doing her best to navigate her based on a vague description of her location. I got paged over to dispatch and the supervisor filled me in. I had never met this candidate before, so without introducing myself, I took over the call.
The call went something like this:
ME: 'Hi, I was told you're a little turned around. I'm going to try and-'
DDD: 'UM, EXCUSE ME! I'M LOST AND I'M RUNNING LATE FOR MY APPOINTMENT. I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!'
ME: 'Don't worry, I've alerted the interviewing team that you're running a bit behind and-'
DDD: 'IT'S NOT MY FAULT! YOU GUYS DIDN'T GIVE ME THE RIGHT DIRECTIONS! I AM NOT FROM HERE! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHERE I AM GOING!?'
ME: 'Were you given an address?'
DDD: 'UH YES!'
She read back to me the address she was given.
ME: 'That's correct.'
DDD: 'WELL THIS IS STUPID BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW WHERE I AM!'
ME: 'Don't you think as an EMT you'd be expected to know how to map yourself into situations?'
DDD: 'UH, NO! THAT'S WHY WE HAVE GPS!'
ME: 'Not all of our ambulances have GPS.'
DDD: 'WELL, THEN I WILL USE MY PHONE!'
ME: 'How's that working out for you?'
About 30 minutes later, DDD came stomping in, looking sweaty and frustrated. I greeted her in the lobby.
ME: 'Hi, can I help you?'
DDD: 'I had an appointment an hour ago, but your dispatchers are stupid! They got me lost!'
ME: 'Actually, that was me on the phone.'
ME: 'Here we hold customer service in high regard. Your attitude on the phone was inappropriate and you have been excused from the interview process.'
She left right away."
"The call center I work at is top notch. We pay well, have flexible hours, and pride ourselves on our local reputation. Part of this is because of our deliberate hiring process. We get about 100 applicants every week, of whom we end up hiring five. We don't hire just anyone. As a company, we take a great deal of pride in that. So do our clients, all of whom are high-profile, on a national scale.
One morning, my boss, Al, called me into his office and asked me to conduct my first interview. I had recently accepted a promotion to be a trainer. It was so recently, in fact, that I was not even done with my training at this, but interviews are the purview of managers and shift supervisors. I mentioned as such to Al, but he told me that this was a 'special case.'
'We are counting on you,' Al said with tremendous, tremendous gravity. 'Our company's reputation depends on our hires. I expect a great deal from you.'
With that, he handed me a clipboard with a list of questions and a pen. Then, he ushered me into another manager's office to wait for my first interviewee. About three minutes later, the kid walked in. Oh my god, did he ever walk in...
This kid was wearing skinny blue jeans that were so tight I could easily see tendons and bone structure, pulled down around the hips and crotch to avoid mashing his balls into a paste. On his feet were beat-up, old Converse sneakers covered with what appeared to be homemade Rageface patches. He wore a red, hooded sweatshirt over a freaking My Little Pony t-shirt, black, lensless eyeglass frames, had about about six facial piercings, and, on his head, was a Naruto (Japanese anime series) headband.
'You're wearing a Naruto headband,' I said.
Now, to me, my tone said, and quite clearly, How did you make it past the first two stages of the vetting process? He, however, assumed that my tone meant, How appropriate!
'Oh, you recognize my headband,' he said with an expression of such sheer smug I wish I could adequately describe. 'Plus one to you! I was almost worried I'd have to deal with some lame suit!'
Then, he handed me his 'resume.' It is crucial I emphasize how loose I am being with that word here. What he actually handed me was about four pages of prose beginning with the sentence 'I was born in 1988 in a small town...' I stared at this Facebook-profile-styled autobiography in numb shock for about five minutes while he rambled on about 'suits' and how they just don't 'get' anything about anything, and I don't even know.
As I flipped through the pages, I noticed two important things about it: I had initially assumed the kid was about 18 years old, but he was actually 25, and there was no work experience in it. He had gone to college and that was it. That was his entire resume. Everything else was random musings on the books, TV shows, and bands he liked and what they had taught him, and how he basically felt that college was completely beneath him. He had never even held a paper route.
'Do you think, maybe, you'd like to reschedule this interview for another time?' I said to the kid.
'No,' he replied. 'Why? Is there a problem?'
'Yes,' I said. 'Several.'
I asked him if he had received the multiple calls setting up and confirming the interview, all of which had stated, very clearly, that we expected him to be dressed 'business casual,' and, in fact, had carefully defined what was meant by 'business casual.'
'Oh,' he replied, 'were you serious about that?'
I had no words.
'Well,' he continued, in that same ludicrously smug tone, 'I figured, you know, this is me. This is who I am. If you can't deal with that, then, maybe, I don't even want this job.'
'That's extremely convenient,' I said, 'because I don't see any reason to continue this interview.'
'Well great!' he said with a gigantic smirk. 'When do I start?'
As I stared at this ridiculous man-child, there was zero irony on his pierced, fake-glasses-wearing face as he patiently waited for me to tell him when his first day of work would be. I still could not stop staring at that Naruto headband.
'You don't,' I managed to say. 'You don't start here. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. When I said 'This interview is over,' I did not mean that in a good way.'
He still did not understand.
'But you didn't even ask me anything,' he said. 'There wasn't even an interview.'
I explained to him that our request for him to dress like a professional adult was mandatory. His failing to do so, so flippantly, had told me everything I needed to know about him.
'You don't know anything about me,' the kid said, as his face went beet red. 'You don't know me. You don't know anything about me. You need to give me an interview. I know my rights. Give me my interview.'
For the sake of not causing a physical incident, I did not explain that I knew more than enough about him already to warrant never hiring him. Instead, I carefully explained that his 'rights' here consisted entirely of leaving the building before I had him removed for trespassing.
Then, the kid started shouting at me, screaming that I was a fascist, that I did not know crap about anything, that he was 'a billion times better' than me, and that when he becomes a millionaire, he would buy the company just so he could fire me.
When that, somehow, failed to procure immediate employment, he then, with tears in his eyes, begged me for a job. His mother, he said, would boot him out onto the street if he did not get this job. If I did not give him the job, he would be homeless, he shouted at me, and it would be my fault.
'I'll cope,' I told him as security arrived to show him out.
I sat there in the empty office, with this kid's ridiculous 'resume' in my lap, chairs all knocked over, staring off into space, wondering what had just happened. Then Al poked his head in. His face is stony-serious as he asks me,
'What did you think?' he asked, his face stony-serious.
'You know,' I said, 'I don't think he'll be a good fit.'
'Okay,' he said, nodding with the kind of gravitas you don't see outside of Shakespeare. 'Keep up the good work.'
Then, he walked away."
"I was working as a temp for a business on the day they were holding interviews for new staff. The business took up one floor of a large office building. Clients and potential employees would press a buzzer outside the building which connected to the relevant floor/business. The receptionist would speak to them and then press a button to open the door. They would then could come into the building and get the elevator to our floor.
I was the receptionist responsible for buzzing people in. All was going well throughout the morning. Then, around lunchtime, two guys buzzed asking to come up for their interviews. I checked their names off and pressed the buzzer to open the door.
Five minutes went by. They still had not appeared from the elevator. They pressed the buzzer again. I buzzed them in again. No guys showed up. For half an hour, they would ask to be buzzed in, I pressed the button, and they failed to open the door.
I started to think, Maybe it's me. Then, another guy pressed the buzzer asking to come up for his interview. I buzzed him in and, a couple of minutes later, I saw him get out of the elevator.
Finally, after almost an hour (well after their interview slots had passed), someone who worked on another floor saw the guys standing outside as he was walking into the building. He buzzed me to ask what was going on. I asked him to let them in. He said he would.
I waited, curious to meet these two guys who could not open a door. Another 10 minutes went by. Then, another 10. Still nothing. Finally, almost an hour after the guy let them in and two hours after their interview time, some lady from another floor came in leading two guys.
'These two have been sitting in our lobby for an hour,' she said. 'I thought I'd better bring them down.'
They didn't get jobs."
"I once interviewed a guy for a kitchen porter job who was 44 years old and had no relevant experience at all. All he had ever worked in was construction, but he figured 'it would be easy and relaxed.' He didn't smell very good.
When I got there, he was already sitting so I couldn't see his torso. As my husband explained to him that the job was basically just washing dishes in a restaurant kitchen, he asked if there would be many dishes. We answered that it would be the normal amount for a 50-seat restaurant. He kept on asking if that was a lot of dishes, again and again.
Confused, I felt the need to specify that he did not need to wash the dishes by hand. We have a machine for that and he would just have to load the dishes into the machine. He said he knew that, but that it still sounded like a hard job.
At that point, we knew we weren't going to hire him, but we finished the interview anyway out of politeness. We told him it was a full-time position - 40 hours a week.
'That's a lot of hours,' he responded.
Then, he asked if he could work illegally so as to keep collecting unemployment.
'Uh, absolutely not,' I replied. 'This interview is over.'
As he got up to leave, I saw he was wearing a button-up shirt...completely unbuttoned. I could see his navel fluff.
Why, oh why?"
"I work for a cabinet company. A while back, we were looking for an account manager to work on a mix of design and pricing projects. One of the applicants we got was a guy in Canada. We aren't a big company, so I thought it was weird to get an out-of-country applicant.
We decided to call him for a phone interview out of curiosity and hand his information to human relations. We later learned that his fiancée was living in our city, which is why he applied. HR reported that he seemed normal and we scheduled an in person for the next time he was in town.
According to the front desk person, the guy came into the office with his fiancée and told her to wait in the lobby for him. I suppose she had given him a ride, but she refused to make eye contact with the front desk girl or make conversation with her at all. He was shown to the interview room and the front desk person let us know he was there.
The interview was conducted by our HR person, the department manager, and myself as the trainer. The three of us walked in with me last in line. He jumped around the two women to shake my hand first and barely acknowledged the other two in the room.
Red flag #1.
As the interview continued, he began to do a couple of things. For one, he asked how long it would be before he took the department manager's job. Secondly, he began to bash our product for not being the same as what he was used to. Lastly, he started explaining all the things we would be required to do to sponsor his visa. What was normally a 45-minute interview process took about 15 before we ended it.
He kept calling about once a week for two months asking when we were going to be starting his visa sponsorship."
"A guy applied for a warehouse and delivery position. We had emailed back and forth with a few questions previously and he sounded promising. He came in and sat down for an interview.
'So, what is this position?' he asked. 'Delivery? Oh, I can't lift anything. Also, I lost my driver's license a few months ago. I guess we're done here.'
Then, he just got up and left - no thank you or goodbye. He just got up and left. It was the shortest, most bizarre interview I have ever conducted."
"Once, I had an interview with a company the next town over from me for 2:30 p.m. on a Friday. I arrived by train at 1:55 p.m. The building is close to the train station, so I was there close to 2 p.m.. I waited around a bit so I would not be too early. Then, I went in. The receptionist said the interviewer was not in the building at the moment. She asked if I minded waiting. I nod and say
'Sure,' I said with a nod, seeing as how I was early.
2:30 Came and went as I glanced at some of the company's promotional materials at reception. At 2:45, the receptionist said that she expected the interviewer would be back around 3:00. I waited and read more in depth about this company in their internal magazines. I did not want to be browsing the net when the interviewer walked in the door. At 3:10, there was still no sign of the interviewer. By then, I had read every promotional magazine in reception. Other people have also come in and interviewed for unrelated positions.
More than an hour after the scheduled interview time, at 3:35, the receptionist came by and apologized for the hold-up. I asked where the interviewer was. She said she did not know. She asked if I wanted to reschedule. I said no, because I had already paid for the train ticket today, I was unemployed, desperate, and broke. Buying a second train ticket was not really an option. Several of the people who came in for interviews had left by then, including people who came after I did.
At 4 p.m., the last of the other candidates went in. Finally, a man walked out shortly after the last candidate, looked at me, smiled, and then turned to the receptionist, saying he was done for the day and will see her next weekend. I slouched back into my seat and returned to browsing the internet. I was pretty much assured, by then, that I was wasting my time, but I was honestly curious what would happen at 5 p.m.
I did not find out. At 4:30, a harassed-looking woman walked into the reception area. She was clearly very stressed and had a lot on her mind. She did not even notice me and walked into another room. The receptionist looked at me.
'That's your interviewer,' she told me. 'I'll let her know you're here.'
I feigned a smile and watched her leave only to come back and tell me, 'Give her ten minutes, then she'll see you.'
At 4:45 on a Friday afternoon, I was ushered into a small side room with this woman. She asked basic questions, but it was obvious that she had no interest in interviewing. After more than three hours of waiting, I did not really want to be there either. The whole interview, originally scheduled for an hour, lasted just 15 minutes. I got me out just at 5 p.m., which was just in time for me to catch the rush hour trains.
Obviously, I did not get the job."