How to Screw Up a Job Interview
We've all been interviewed for jobs. And, we've all spent most of those
interviews thinking about what not to do. Don't bite your nails. Don't fidget.
Don't interrupt. Don't belch. If we did any of the don'ts, we knew we'd
disqualify ourselves instantly. But some job applicants go light years beyond
this. We surveyed top personnel executives of 100 major American corporations
and asked for stories of unusual behavior by job applicants. The lowlights:
"...stretched out on the floor to fill out the job application."
"She wore a Walkman and said she could listen to me and the music at the
" A balding candidate abruptly excused himself. Returned to office a few
minutes later, wearing a hairpiece."
"...asked to see interviewer's resume to see if the personnel executive was
qualified to judge the candidate."
"... announced she hadn't had lunch and proceeded to eat a hamburger and
french fries in the interviewer's office - wiping the ketchup on her sleeve."
"Stated that, if he were hired, he would demonstrate his loyalty by having
the corporate logo tattooed on his forearm."
"Interrupted to phone his therapist for advice on answering specific interview
"When I asked him about his hobbies, he stood up and started tap dancing
around my office."
"At the end of the interview, while I stood there dumbstruck, went through
my purse, took out a brush, brushed his hair, and left."
"...pulled out a Polaroid camera and snapped a flash picture of me. Said
he collected photos of everyone who interviewed him."
"Said he wasn't interested because the position paid too much."
"While I was on a long-distance phone call, the applicant took out a copy
of Penthouse, and looked through the photos only, stopping longest at the
"During the interview, an alarm clock went off from the candidate's brief
case. He took it out, shut it off, apologized and said he had to leave for
"A telephone call came in for the job applicant. It was from his wife. His
side of the conversation went like this: 'Which company? When do I start?
What's the salary?' I said, 'I assume you're not interested in conducting
the interview any further.' He promptly responded, 'I am as long as you'll
pay me more.' I didn't hire him, but later found out there was no other job
offer. It was a scam to get a higher offer."
"His attache [case] opened when he picked it up and the contents spilled,
revealing ladies' undergarments and assorted makeup and perfume."
"Candidate said he really didn't want to get a job, but the unemployment
office needed proof that he was looking for one."
"...asked who the lovely babe was, pointing to the picture on my desk. When
I said it was my wife, he asked if she was home now and wanted my phone number.
I called security."
"Pointing to a black case he carried into my office, he said that if he was
not hired, the bomb would go off. Disbelieving, I began to state why he would
never be hired and that I was going to call the police. He then reached down
to the case, flipped a switch, and ran. No one was injured, but I did need
to get a new desk."
Back to the Workplace Humor section or the