These Awful Job Interviews Make Unemployment Look Good
The job-hunting process is work in itself and everyone hates going through it. It makes us ask ourselves, “How am I supposed to get experience if you won’t give me any?” Besides the rejection e-mails or hearing nothing at all, there are just some interviews that are a disaster from the get-go. You’re definitely not the only victim of terrible interviews. Here, people have shared their rude, creepy, or bizarre interview moments, so we can all cringe together.
1. Bad Math Strikes Again
It was a sales position at an air filter company. He liked me enough to start talking salary, which is where I noped out. Basically, it was a ridiculously complicated system where I could make up to a certain amount, but really realistically, I’d be making less than minimum wage. He kind of got red-faced and angry when I kept saying, “But wait, this means I’ll be making like $5/hour. I must not be understanding this right because you advertised this position as $40k/year. Can you explain? Am I missing something?”
Basically, he would rope people in with bad math and false promises and when they didn’t make any money, he’d say that they’d agreed to it. They’d quit and the cycle would begin again. Once this became clear, I politely declined and left.
2. Lost Innocence
As a teen I was so delighted there was an opening at the Humane Society, Seattle’s local pet rescue and adoption center. I filled out the application. When handing it in, I was posed a question that made my blood run cold. They asked if I was comfortable loading and unloading the crematorium. Growing up comes in one little chunk of horror at a time.
3. College Graduate/Royalty, Same Thing
I was in the process of moving home from college and trying to get myself situated in life, so I needed a part-time job to hold me over while I figured things out. I applied for a job at Chipotle, because it was pretty similar to the job I had while I was in school. The interviewer asked me, “If you actually have a college degree, why are you applying here?” in a very condescending way.
So, I basically told him I’m moving home from college and need something to hold me over for a while and he made an “Mhmm” sound. Then for the rest of the interview, he made a point to bring up the fact that I had a college degree. For example: “Growth within the company is very possible if you want it, should be easy for someone with a college degree.”
They called me a few hours after the interview with a job offer, but I knew that working there was going to be hell, so I turned it down.
4. A Bald Threat
The owner of the company full-on threatened me. She told me that she’d come to my house and cut off all my hair if I ever shared any information with her competitors. I never shared any info about the company, but you better believe I told everyone what she had said to me.
5. Poorly Prepared
The interviewer wrote a number down on a piece of paper and, looking all proud of himself, slid it over to me, saying that he could hire me and that this would be my salary. I looked at it and then asked if he’d looked at my resume. The company had asked for a salary history, so I added it to my resume for this interview.
When he told me no, I suggested that he give it a glance since I was already making 20% more than his offer.
6. (Un)Equal Opportunities
The company was doing open interviews and they were going over different company policies. One of the policies regarding scheduling was that it was always done in order by the last four digits of your social. So, a 0000 would always get the first choice and a 9999 would always get the last choice. I raised my hand and asked for clarification on the policy.
When they uncomfortably agreed with my synopsis, I got up and left. So did a few others.
7. Blink Twice If You’re Here Against Your Will
I went to an interview recently, and when they asked if I had any questions, I said, “What do you like best about working here?” Both of the people interviewing me just looked at each other—their reaction was utterly chilling. They both just starting laughing hysterically. Then the main guy told me that he just liked working with kids.
I didn’t get the job, but I’m so glad I didn’t.
8. Learned Helplessness
As a young teacher, I interviewed for a school closer to home. When I went in the staff room on the “tour,” I noticed that all the staff seemed to be limp, grey, and completely washed out. Eavesdropping on conversations uncovered a few of the reasons, like high staff turnover, lots of long-term sickness, and the majority of teacher’s non-contact time was being taken to cover lessons with no staff; all the time.
This showed me that the staff was not respected by the students nor valued by management. I didn’t disrespect the interview by leaving but did say ‘no’ when I was asked if I was still interested in the position at the end of the interview. They didn’t bother to ask for feedback, they knew why.
9. In Bad Taste
I had just moved and was looking for a new job. I had worked in the wine industry and as a legal assistant. This new winery wanted me for an interview, and oddly, was really interested in my legal experience too. A bit into the interview, the guy explains that he needs legal help. I explained that I was only a legal assistant and absolutely cannot give any legal advice.
He explains that he’s being sued by a bunch of interns he hired and didn’t pay. He said they knew it was an unpaid internship, which is illegal in California. He then asked me a question that made my blood run cold. He asked if I could handle the case, as—get this—an unpaid intern. This sleaze ball was looking for an unpaid intern to beat his unpaid internship legal case for him.
Both shady and stupid at the same time.
10. Teachers, Beware
I was in an interview to be a math teacher at a school with seven openings. There was just a continual mass exodus at an awful school. It was a five-minute drive from home, though, so I decided to check it out. The first question I am asked is what I would do if a student has a cell phone out in class. I said that I usually take the phone and give it back after class, but if the school has another policy, I would be glad to follow it.
The interviewer’s immediate response was that she didn’t think I would be able to build relationships with their students with that kind of mindset, so she would be fine with concluding the interview at that point. I agreed and walked out, completely blown away. No wonder why they can’t keep teachers. I already had a contract with another school, so it was whatever to me.
11. Are You Not Impressed?
He showed off his flashy BMW and told me I could have one just like it within a year. It was a sleazy sales/marketing job. I got out of there quick.
12. Do the Impossible
She told me that the job would be using a computer program that I had no experience in that was 10 years out of date. She told me don’t even think about asking for an upgraded system because it won’t happen. And the entire department would be her and me, and they’ve been completely overwhelmed. Oh, and did she mention that the last person in the position quit after six months?
Then she asked me, “When can you start?” Umm. No thanks. I told her it didn’t seem to be the right fit for me. Regardless, they emailed me two weeks later saying, “Sorry, we went with another candidate.” Yeah, no, you don’t say.
13. Unofficial Credentials
Although not right at the interview, I had applied for a lot of companies in a short time frame a while back. I got an interview for one and started giving myself a crash course in the company so I could answer questions like “Why do you want to work here?” They had some “Best 100 companies to work for” award on their website from Forbes, or some other business publication.
“Cool,” I think. I try to click on the icon to verify it. Nothing, just a JPEG, no link. Okay, well they screwed up the website design, no biggie, I’m just going to head over to that group’s website and check it out. It’s not on there either. That’s when I made a disturbing realization: they had literally added an award they didn’t earn to their website to try to get people to want to work there.
Holy red flags, I was already sitting in their waiting room so I just sort of bombed the interview and walked out not caring.
14. Was That a Trick Question?
I interviewed at a law firm and the attorney asked me what religion I was. Seriously. US law firm.
15. Areas of Improvement: Time Management
I waited 30 minutes for the manager to show up to interview me and then I left. I decided if she was doing this at the interview, it was likely indicative of how she’d be at the regular job. Ten minutes of driving later, she called me and said, “I’m here, you can come back now if you want.” I said no thanks.
16. Have You Tried 1234?
She spent 80% of the interview trying to log in to her computer. She told me she forgot her password every day.
17. They Say That You Don’t Get Here by Being a Nice Guy
I was in the waiting room for an interview and one of the partners came up to the front and just started yelling at the receptionist, not realizing I was sitting there. I waited politely and when the interviewer to get me a few moments later I just told him I was no longer interested and left. I dodged a bullet there for sure.
18. No Cor-ring-lation Here
The interviewer noticed my engagement ring and started asking if I was planning on starting a family and if so, not to take the job, because they needed someone committed.
19. Flakier Than the Frostiest of Flakes
They called me an hour before the interview to say that the guy I’d be replacing had rescinded his two weeks’ notice and that the position was no longer available. Fair enough. Then they called the next day to say the guy had quit again and that the position was still available and am I still interested? Okay…We schedule another interview.
Then, right before the interview, they called again to say the guy had rescinded his two weeks’ notice again and that the position was no longer available again. Whatever. I’m now over you. A week later, they called to say the guy had quit yet again and am I still interested? No. No. No. I’m done being your bargaining chip to keep this guy around.
20. Nothing but the Utmost Professionalism
I went for an interview at a “sales company,” whatever that means. I was 17 and just wanted an easy job and thought it would be a door-to-door thing. When I got there, I was surrounded by businessmen in suits, all looking really panicked. I got into the interview and the guy looked really shocked to see me, but I instantly smelled something fishy.
I worked out pretty quickly that it was a (very polished looking) pyramid scheme. When the guy doing the interview started to explain the emphasis on getting results and how the pay worked, I stood up, told him he clearly didn’t pay attention when sorting through the CVs and that it wasn’t for me. I shook his hand and walked out.
On the bus home, I figured out that my shirt was on inside out the whole time. Total professionalism on both sides!
21. Sign of the Tyrants
The staff member who started the interview noticeably changed to very guarded/self-conscious when the manager walked in. I had a gut feeling and watched her interact with him I knew he must be a jerk. I turned down the job and left.
22. Like Working for a Fraternity
I had an interview where they took me into the office and told me to point to the person that I’d want to have sex with. I told them I like to keep my work life and personal life separate and I’m happily in a relationship. They told me that I had to pick someone and wouldn’t drop it. I just pointed to someone who wasn’t really paying attention and was minding his own business, hoping that would be the end of it.
They all laughed and went over to the guy and just started to really bully him. I could tell he was uncomfortable. Then it got worse. They told me to think of a really creative way to insult him. I refused because I don’t know him. They got weird with me and carried on bullying him, encouraging everyone in the office to do the same.
They told me to come back the next day for my first shift. I refused and never went back.
23. Too Good to Be True
I was looking for work a few months ago, really wasn’t having any luck. Resumes out. Apps out. Just doing everything I could to land something in my field. I got a call back from someone and they said they got my resume and wanted me to do a phone screening. I was really excited because I had never gone through the “formal” hiring process.
I had only worked in food and retail up until that point. Then I gave them a callback. The first red flag is that they never mentioned the job title upfront. The voice mail was about being a “great fit” and that this would be an “amazing opportunity” for me. On the call, I got the same thing. He just went on and on about how this was a great place to work, great people, super flexible, a great opportunity for me, loved my resume, blah blah blah.
I finally got to the job title. It was “Management Trainee.” I asked what it was and what I would be doing. He said I’d be shadowing a manager, and eventually leading my own team. Great opportunity. Blah. Blah. Blah. I kind of pressed a little bit, sniffed out that it was likely a sales job—but the guy wouldn’t outright say it.
He just kept dodging the question with day-to-day stuff and they didn’t have any postings up, so I didn’t know beforehand. Earlier in the interview, he asked my availability for the week. He scheduled an interview for noon the next day without even asking if I was interested. I was still confused as to what was going on, so I was like yeah, sounds good.
He told me to wear business formal, confirm the email he sent and said have a good day. I researched the company a bit more. I knew it was a sales/marketing firm, but just thought they might need an IT person or something. Turns out, they’re those people that set up a booth in Walmart and try to get you to switch cable/electric companies.
Safe to say, I did not show up to the interview.
24. The Lab Results Came Back Negative
I interviewed for a lab tech job right out of college that I knew I wasn’t taking pretty much immediately. It was a startup, which was literally the guy interviewing me and that’s it, I’d be his only employee. The entire lab space was like a 12’x12′ room which included his desk and all the instruments I’d be using. These things generate a ton of heat; this would have been miserable.
He could offer me no benefits because it was a startup, but that honestly wasn’t a big deal to me because I was still on my parents’ insurance and needed a lab job. Overall, I decided if he offered it to me, I wouldn’t take it. A few days later, he calls me and says something like, “I’ve interviewed a lot of great people that I’m debating between, so I’m calling you to gauge your interest.”
When I told him that I’d decided I wasn’t interested, all of a sudden, he could offer me benefits! Huge red flag. If you’re debating between that many candidates why are you suddenly offering me more when I say I don’t want it? Do I really want to work for someone who’ll only offer to compensate me fully if they’re desperate?
25. Should Have Rescheduled
This one, I should have walked out of. My appointment was at 1 pm for a temporary company signup, you know, WHMIS policies, government work regulations, and all that. And apparently they expected people to make themselves familiar with the contents of a 4” binder and sign off that I understood various sections. Half of what I had to sign off on wasn’t even in the binder.
The 1:30 appointment showed up and still no interviewer. So, I went to the desk and said, yadda, yadda, let’s go. They asked me to wait a few more minutes. I did. A back-office door opened a few minutes later and a woman who had obviously just finished crying stepped out and called the 1:30 over. She explained that her grandmother had passed away and she’d like to reschedule.
Then she turned to me with a fake smile and started leading me to an interview room. I protested, saying I could come back and that she was in no condition to work, but she brushed me off saying her family would be a while picking her up yet. I don’t know why I didn’t leave. It was awful. She stared at the computer monitor the whole time, robotically asked me the standard questions and typed answers.
The only thing I could do was read the “what to do in case of a bomb threat” poster on the wall behind her head.
26. Loud and Clear
She answered a call from an employee mid-interview and proceeded to scream at said employee for a good five minutes over something very minor. I immediately told her I was no longer interested in the position.
27. Unfounded Confidence
They asked me one of those stupid Google questions. Specifically, “How many basketballs could you fit in this room?” I know it’s supposed to check my problem-solving skills and thought processes, but I’m an engineer. There are thousands of questions you could ask me about real-world situations to test those. It kind of capped off the whole interview, as the two guys interviewing me already had the attitude that I should be grateful to even be considered.
It wasn’t, as it turned out, that great of a place, and I already had a job, so I’m not sure where their hubris came from.
28. Father, Forgive Me
He asked about my family. I stated that my wife and I had been officially married 10 years, but we have a daughter who is 17 and son who is 15. His reply was astounding. He looked at me with concern in his eyes and said, “So, you were living in sin?”
29. So, What Is the Truth?
I went in for a job interview at a place. Everything went well, the salary sucked ($12 an hour), but I needed work. I needed a day to think it over. So that’s what I told them. The next morning, they called me back, saying they went with someone else. Not even a week later, there’s a promo in the newspaper for that same position with the company.
The ad states “Now hiring! $17.50 an hour!” So, I take the paper with me and go back. They were pleasant enough. They offer me the position on the spot, offering me $10 an hour. I point out that the paper said $17.50, and show them. They say, “Oh, not sure how it got to that amount. We’re only offering $10.” I also bring up I interviewed here within the last 2 weeks and the offered $12.
They said, “It’s $10, take it or leave it.” So, I left it. Then I told everyone as I walked out that it was only $10 an hour. Most everyone also left.
30. The Poster Boy for “Promoting Your Problems”
This was about 15 years ago. I was working for the TSA at the time. There weren’t any openings at my airport, but another airport in the state had a supervisor opening they were advertising statewide, so I applied for it. Due to logistical reasons, I had to do the interview over the phone, which was fine. The interviewers then started asking me the dumbest questions imaginable.
My favorite was something like this: the interviewer asks “On what page of the SOP would you find the procedure for screening a service animal?” I replied, “I’m sorry, did you just ask me for the page number for the procedure?” She said yes. I said, “I don’t know the exact page, but I can describe the exact procedure as it is in the SOP.” She said she just wanted the page number.
That’s when I said “I’m sorry, I don’t know that. May I ask what relevance that has for this position when I know the actual procedure, and know I can find the procedure in the SOP in seconds if I needed to?” Her reply was incredible. She said: “We’re asking the questions and it’s not up to you to decide whether the question is relevant.”
At this point, not only did I know I wouldn’t get the position, I was pretty sure I didn’t want to work there anyway. So I just went for it. I said “I’m just concerned because you seem to believe it’s more important to have irrelevant information memorized than to actually know how these procedures are done. When I was studying for this interview, I was studying actual procedures and not wasting my time memorizing page numbers. It seems to me that a good supervisor should have their eyes up, watching what’s going on, knowing whether their people are doing things correctly, and not have their nose in the book.”
That’s when a different interviewer chimed in. He was the Federal Security Director of the airport. He said, “Are you implying that you know better than this interview board the qualities that make a good supervisor?” I replied: “No sir, I’m not implying anything. I’m explicitly telling you that this board has no idea what qualities make for a good front line supervisor. I apologize for wasting your time and wish you the best of luck in finding a quality candidate.”
A couple of days later, my Deputy Federal Security Director called me into his office. He said he had spoken to the FSD who had interviewed me, who had talked about how rude I had been. I explained what had happened. My DFSD then told me not to worry. He said that guy was a complete dummy and the poster boy of “promoting your problems.”
He said the questions that were being asked were obviously so they could get their own candidate to score high and anyone else would score low. A couple of months later, a supervisor position opened at my airport. I applied and actually got it.
31. Irrelevant and Inappropriate
I had one that asked me if I went to church. When I said I worship privately, they said good, because church takes away from the job. Another one smelled my hair and said it was a hygiene check because McDonald’s had standards. In the end, I took both of those jobs because it was either that or homelessness.
32. That’s Rule Number One
I work in the childcare field. In an interview, the director of the daycare left me alone with the kids. Granted, she was in the other room and was able to watch on a camera but I don’t think you should leave anyone you don’t know, alone with kids. She also hung up on me when I said I couldn’t start Friday but could start Monday.
I called back and said I wouldn’t be taking the job.
33. Hands Off, Creep
He kept touching me. My back, my shoulder, my arm, stroking down the back of my arm once. Anytime we were passing through a doorway or going down a hall his hand was on me if I was in reach. This was a several-hours-long interview with a lot of walking through buildings. He referred to our touring the facilities I may be working at as a “date.” But that wasn’t even the worst part.
At the end of the interview, he went in for a hug instead of a handshake. No thanks!
34. Less Than Ideal Learning Conditions
I’m a teacher and had a demo lesson at a charter school. They had asked me to come in the day before Memorial Day Weekend began. When I got there, the individual who was supposed to interview me had called out, so I was placed with another recruiter who had seemingly seen my resume for the first time five minutes before I arrived. Knew nothing about me or my qualifications. It was the first—but not the last—red flag.
I was also told the principal was out too. I guess she had decided to enjoy an extended weekend as well. Apparently meeting a potential new teacher was not a priority for her. Second red flag. As I was waiting in the office, I overheard teachers and admin making fun of a substitute, calling her the itty bitty committee. Third red flag.
As we were walking to the classroom, the DEAN OF DISCIPLINE, who was apparently standing in for the principal, saw a student meandering the halls. He asked why he wasn’t in class and told him to return to his class. The student completely ignored him and proceeded to walk away from his classroom. Nothing more was done. Fourth red flag.
The lesson was a disaster, the kids were out of control and completely defiant. I know that part of a demo-lesson is classroom management, but given the fact the interviewee does not know the kids, it’s also up to the classroom teacher and admin to make sure the kids are minimally compliant so that the lesson can actually be carried out.
I have conducted and observed several demo lessons and kids are usually on their best behavior, given that 1) there are several teachers and admin in the room and 2) they are generally somewhat sensitive to the fact that this random person had been put in an extremely stressful and awkwardly contrived situation. Not these kids…
The regular classroom teacher sat there looking completely defeated the whole time. The recruiter and dean, who were observing me, sat in the back on their laptops the whole time, not even paying attention to me or the lesson that I had worked on for weeks. I cut the lesson short because it was actually to the point of humiliation.
At the end, back in the office where we were supposed to be wrapping up, I said, “I think we all know that this school is not a good fit for me. Thank you for your time.” That was it. I still feel my face getting hot when I think about it to this day.
35. First Batter Up, Full Count
They gave me the wrong building for the interview. Then they failed to mention that I’d have to pay for a guest pass while I was there. Then I found out that they didn’t tell the woman at the front desk to be expecting me, so I almost got security called on me to escort me from the premises. By the time I actually got to the interview, I was so stressed out and frustrated that I fully messed up and I didn’t even care.
I knew I didn’t want to work for someone who couldn’t even get this straight.
36. Belittling But-Head
When I was in my mid-20s, I interviewed with an insurance agent for a job. The first thing he says looking at my resume is, “You don’t have any sales experience.” I acknowledge that I don’t but I was willing to learn and he responds, “But you don’t have any sales experience.” The interview continues, and he repeats that sentence every time I say something positive about myself.
Before the end of the interview, I feel defeated. He finally finishes the interview, tells me he will consider my resume before adding one more, “But you don’t have any sales experience.” I left feeling an inch and a half tall. After I got home, I decided that I wasn’t going to be comfortable working there. Even my friend, who was working there and trying to get me a job quit a few weeks later because that same agent was a jerk to him.
37. Snooty Suit
He set an interview time that I would struggle to meet as there was no one to cover my position at my then-current job. He would only move the interview time back by 20 minutes meaning that I would have to go straight from work, after a 10-hour shift with no time to change or freshen up. And it would still mean I’d be skipping my lunch break in order to leave an hour early.
I explained this several times. On the day of the interview, I show up on time. I’m still in my work gear, covered in cement dust, and smell absolutely awful. Some guy in a suit comes into the lobby, sees me, and pulls a disgusted face before walking away. 45 minutes later, I’m still sat there. No one has called me through and every time I ask the receptionist how much longer they’ll be, I’m just told, “soon.”
After an hour, I tell the receptionist that if someone doesn’t come down straight away, I’ll be leaving. Lo and behold someone scuttles through the doors a few minutes later. It’s the same guy who gave me a dirty look before. He apologizes and says that he thought that I hadn’t shown up. I told him that I gave my name to the receptionist when I arrived on time and that no one else had entered the building since then.
He then made a remark about my attire. I told him that I had explained multiple times that the interview time was an issue for me as it meant coming straight from work. The interview consisted of him reading the job advertisement from his phone followed by a few questions about my current job. All of my questions were answered with, “We’ll discuss that if you get the job.”
When he called to say I had not been successful, I gave him both barrels and left horrible feedback on the application site I’d used. It may have been a little immature of me but man, it felt good to unload.
38. No Means No
As a manager, I applied to a position in another company. I met the criteria for the position, have proven experience, good references, and all that. I got a phone call with the HR recruiter person in the local branch (in the UK) where the position would be, and we discussed the position, the type of interview, and I got a great feeling.
A week later, I had a follow-up interview with a manager in the same company, but this guy was located in France. He started going over my CV and despite me having 8+ years of experience in the position, he started telling me that I should apply to a lower position in the company, and tried to direct the conversation towards me accepting one.
I stuck to my guns for nearly 15 minutes saying that no, I was interested in the position I had applied to and wanted to interview for that and not apply to a lower position. He kept insisting, so after those 15 minutes, I just told him to stop, that it was really not his place to tell me what I could apply to or not, and that if he wasn’t going to interview me for the position I had applied to, then that was the end of our conversation.
I then hung up the phone and went on with my life.
39. That’s Just Gross
Tiny bit of back story; I’m an executive secretary and have worked with executives for years. I know my stuff. Prior to the interview, I was asked by his HR team to take a typing test. A typing test. 20 years of EA experience. OK. Rules. I took their test. I crushed their test. I got the interview. The executive came to the interview late with his breakfast in hand—a breakfast burrito stuffed with scrambled eggs and some kind of meat with a side of potatoes.
No problem, I’ve worked with busy executives forever. He starts shoving the food in his mouth, laughs while chewing, and asks if I mind if he eats while we talk because he’s terribly busy. Of course, none of my business how he conducts himself, but I was going to judge him for it. I smiled and said, “not at all.” He basically interviewed me with food in his mouth and I was grossed out.
I took my name out of that ring soon after that.
40. Missing the Target
A certain retail store was coming to my country. I was in college and looking for a part-time job. I get called to an interview and there are dozens of people there. They crowd us all into a room where a TV is playing a clip over and over again about how this retailer is so great and that we don’t need a union. Then I get called to a table to interview with a super nice lady.
She likes me and sends me to the second portion of the interview at a different table where there are two men. They ask me a question about a customer looking for a pair of shoes that is out of stock. How can I help this customer? So I give several answers such as: I check to see when the item will be back in stock, see if the item is in stock at a different location, offer a similar product, etc.
They will not accept any of my answers. Both men are laughing at me as I try to come up with answers. Then they add to the scenario, “the item is discontinued, now what do you do?” and laugh more when they notice that they’re annoying me. Eventually, I ask them if there is a correct answer. Their reply was infuriating. They said no and that they simply had no intention of hiring me.
Well, the joke was on them, because all the Canadian stores closed two years later from mismanagement.
41. Stampede of One
I was too young and inexperienced to see the red flags ahead of time. The guy who called to set up the “interview” was not in HR. Strike one. The “interview” was at 7 pm. Strike two. When I got there, I realized it was a group “interview” with like 10-15 other people. Strike three. I should have turned around and walked out then, but again, I was young and naive (or dumb) and still thought maybe it was somehow legit. The “interview” started and the only question any of us was asked was our names.
Then the guy goes right into basically what I know now to have been an MLM presentation, talking about how all of us can help each other and him make money, while advising clients, etc. I sat through the initial 45-minute presentation and then the guy said something like, “If this great opportunity doesn’t sound like a fit for you, you’re free to go now before we start the sign-up and training.”
I stayed put for a second, not wanting to be the first in what I assumed would be a stampede out the door. Apparently, I waited too long and the guy started to talk again, so when I got up to leave, it was super awkward with everyone watching me since I was the only one to take off.
42. A Suspicious Sell
The company said it was an entry-level marketing position. Red flag number one was that like 35 people were there to interview and all were either recent college graduates like myself or recent immigrants. Red flag number two was that each interview was done in pairs, “because that’s how you’ll be working.” Red flag number three was when the interviewer said that everyone in the company is expected to become a manager of about 10 people a year after being hired.
The place did not seem like a company undergoing that kind of exponential growth. And finally, after repeatedly asking different variations of “What exactly do you do here?” and getting “we protect our clients’ brands” as the answer, the interviewer finally clarified that it was “face-to-face direct marketing” AKA sales.
When the interview was over, I thanked the interviewer for their time, walked out, went to a Wendy’s with my brother for lunch, and promptly emailed them saying I was no longer interested. As for the final red flag? They refused to take no for an answer, and sent me three emails a day and called me twice a day for the next week trying to get me to come in for a second round of interviews.
43. Eyes Over Here
He met me at a bar and he wanted to know if I would set up a sales team for his company that was expanding into Chicago. He also kept looking over my shoulder at a sporting event on a TV. So I asked him for $20,000 more a year than he should have paid me. He was only half paying attention and said okay, that’s fine.
44. In Full Transparency
I applied to this small accounting firm right out of college and was brought in for an interview with one of the managers and another staff person who was only like a year and a half out of college himself. It had snowed the night before and it took me about an hour and a half to get to the interview with rush hour traffic plus the weather issues. It should have really only been about 45 minutes.
It turns out the manager forgot my interview was scheduled that day and decided to work from home. Nobody reached out to cancel or reschedule the interview. The other young guy brought me into a conference room to start the interview and he was a really nice kid but clearly wasn’t comfortable/prepared to do the interview himself.
After about five minutes, he ran out of questions and wasn’t able to answer a lot of my questions, so he decided to dial-in the manager to conduct the rest of the interview over the phone. The manager didn’t make up an excuse like he had a kid who was off from school so he had to stay home or something. He just flat out said he woke up and didn’t feel like sitting in traffic.
Needless to say, I did not end up taking that offer.
45. We Have Casual Fridays!
Any time the interviewer is more excited about wearing jeans for casual Friday than the actual benefits, it’s a bad place to work.
46. Screamingly Obvious
I interviewed for an assistant manager position at a high-end beauty supply store. The manager interrupted the interview five times to yell at her employees. Then she proceeds to tell me that every who worked there was stupid. I stood up and walked out. I didn’t even say a word. She called me later that day to ask why I left…clueless.
47. Yeah, That’s Illegal
I’m in the middle of job hunting right now, and I just went to the most ridiculous interview of my life two days ago. So first, I got called for a phone interview that lasted 40 minutes. The interviewer, who I later found out was the owner of the company, was obviously just reading a long list of standard questions from a script, which was odd because a lot of those questions were completely irrelevant to the position.
But I gave my answers and was invited back for an in-person interview at their corporate office. I drove an hour to get to this office, which looks like a run-down warehouse in a sketchy part of town. I’m not feeling great about this, but right now I’m trying to change careers and break into a new industry, so I’m not in a position to be super picky about my job prospects.
I go in for my interview with the owner, and he proceeds to ask me the exact same questions as the day before, right from the script, in the exact same order, because he had obviously not bothered to take notes the first time around. I’m feeling annoyed but I still want to see where this will go. THEN he starts talking about the culture of the office, which sounds super toxic and negative, and asks me if I’m a resilient person because I’ll be getting yelled at by managers and supervisors when I make mistakes.
THEN he asked my salary expectations, completely dismissed them, and told me this would be a minimum wage position. Awesome, so I won’t even be getting paid a living wage to get abused and scapegoated by my superiors. But the icing on the cake was yet to come: That’s when he told me that to be seriously considered for the position, I would need to submit to a reference check, background check, rental history check, and credit check.
For an ENTRY LEVEL RECEPTIONIST POSITION. I have been in charge of hiring at one of my previous jobs, and I know that in my state, you absolutely cannot request a credit check from an employee unless the job deals with financial transactions or money management, which was not at all the case here. So I asked him why a credit check was relevant for this position and he said, super casually, “Oh, you know, if you have some loans out in your credit history, we know you’ve made bad choices and won’t hire you.”
This is beyond illegal, and so ludicrously invasive for an entry-level position, and he didn’t even bat an eye. I thanked him for his time and declined the job and practically ran out of the building. Then I went home and googled the company, only to discover they have a one-star review on Yelp and a record of several lawsuits from both clients and former employees. Bullet dodged!
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