Have you ever been in a job interview and you just know right from the get-go that it’s a bad idea and there’s no way in Hell you’re gonna get the job?
Yeah, I’ve been there, too! And those interviews are the worst!
But, like my father always said to me, every interview, whether good or bad, is practice for the next one, so you might as well do as many as possible.
Still though…not a whole lot of fun.
Folks on AskReddit shared their worst job interview stories. Let’s take a look.
“The interviewer insisted on knowing why I’d left graduate school.
Now, I had left graduate school because my advisor died in a car accident and the whole small department was thrown for a loop and no one seemed to know or care what was going to happen to me or my just started research project.
The *sshole interviewer wouldn’t even accept “My advisor died suddenly” and dug into the gory details until I was almost in tears (even intimating that I must have had “feelings” for my advisor.)
I couldn’t wait to get out of there and in my haste to leave I knocked some solutions off a cart (which had no business being in his office BTW) on my way out. I’d never been so humiliated in my life.
After that, I was sure I’d never get a job in science.”
“Company was downsizing.
All employees in a specific yet exclusive division were fired and ordered to reapply for their position plus two other jobs in the company. You’d either get one of those jobs or be terminated.
The subsequent interviews were conducted with a manager and an HR person.
First interview in executive suite: Manager asks why aren’t you applying for this key supervisory slot? (I had listed it second on my list.) Me: I would prefer to stay in my expertise in which I won a National award. HR: I didn’t know awards like that existed.
Second interview: Current boss likes me for my existing job (for which I was heavily recruited from another company). HR: Wow, so you’re the guy who does this job? I had no idea a real person did it.
Third interview: HR person says he’s never heard of my division or that employees actually worked at night. I had listed this job in which I merely served as a minor manager as third on my preferences. Really didn’t want it but had to list three.
The results: I was retained but transferred to the third dead-end day job. My old award-winning job was given to an aging staffer who never worked in that position or had a clue. The supervisor job went to a brilliant colleague who wanted and deserved it.
I quit very soon thereafter and joined a bigger company with better benefits. Skill pays off.
After all that, my old company, seeing the error of its ways in lost production and general lack of ability, offered me a bonus to return.
Nope, nope, nope. And I’m returning the corporate knife you stuck in my back.”
3. Not a good one.
“I drove an hour away to an interview at 8:00 am. I waited outside the interviewer’s office until 8:30 am with no one to tell me where to go or where she was.
Finally, another employee walks by and I ask if they know where this woman is to interview me. They had no idea where she was, why she was late, and told me if she wasn’t there yet, I should leave because she probably forgot (…ok?).
I decide 45 minutes is the cut off (especially standing in a government building looking like a creep waiting. 8:45 on the dot she rushes in, flustered, wet hair, and in casual yoga pants.
With all the resurgence of patience I could muster, I greeted her and was met with a passive aggressive scolding of how the interview was at 9, not 8. (Uh… I tripled checked the email asking me to interview and it was 8. We had conducted a phone interview and she followed up with an email request to an in person interview at 8. I was 100% positive on this, I hate being late.)
Even with this, and i did say, “I’m certain you said 8 am, ma’am” she wasn’t having it. Conversely, she also went on about why she was late, surmounting in, she went to the gym and forgot her underwear to change into and had to stop at a store and buy new ones after working out, before coming to work.
She told me this. In the first 5 minutes. Why? I didn’t ask her!
Regardless, she looks at my resume, apparently for the first time, because she proceeds to tell me how it is unimpressive and my graduate studies should have yielded numerous publications after 1.5 years. (In my field, most don’t publish until after 3-4 years.)
Even still, she kept saying how I had “moved up the interview time”, showed me the work spaces and told me I “probably wouldn’t be interested in what they do there”. I politely told her I had driven, at her request, to be there and interview for employment, I was VERY interested. She waved me off.
As we left, I just tried to hold it together (I was very poor and very desperate for a job), thanked her, and she told me how great it is to work for the government, how good the benefits, the pension, the time off are. On and on. She said, “If you can find an opening working for the government, you should try to check it out and get hired on!”
I just looked her in the face and said, “Yes, ma’am, that was my hope with today’s interview. Thank you.”
And sat in my car and bawled the whole drive home like the desperate loser I was.
That was a low one, to be sure.”
4. What’s wrong with that?
“Was invited for an IT “helper” position when I was 17.
Would help fix computers for people at a shoddy PC fix shop.
They asked me “Whats the first thing you check if a customer calls and says their screen doesn’t turn on?”
I said “Well, you gotta check if they have it plugged into a socket”
They laughed and said thank you that will be it. Then led me to the door and gently pushed me out.”
“At an interview, they asked me, “If you could be any animal, what would you be?”
I answered “Otter” because you know, fun, active, and work well with their hands. They debated whether or not to hire me because of that answer because, “We only hire predators, never prey”, and they weren’t sure how to quantify an Otter because none of them had ever paid the least bit of attention to any sort of animal documentary or read biology or you know, visited a zoo recently.
God that job sucked hard.”
6. A twofer.
“Two of them.
1- the recruiter started to fold my cv into a paper plane during the interview. (Didnt get the job)
2- was pawned off unsuspectingly to the CFO of a company five mins into my interview with the CEO. The CFO had no idea what to ask so he went the “tell me your biggest flaws” way. I was so dejected that I said “you’ll have to hire me to find out”.
Interview ended five mins later. I spent 30 mins crying at my hubris and stupidity in the parking lot. Got the job.”
7. Not a good start.
“In a group interview, the interviewer crossed a line through my name on the list he had after I told him what I graduated in.
This was within the first 5 minutes of a 40 minute meeting…”
“I walked in at 2:45 for a 3:00 interview.
At 4:00 I asked reception for the last time if I was going to be interviewed. Finally they showed up 5 minutes later.
There were two people doing the interview. They were hostile. Rapid fire questions. Half of which had nothing to do with my experience. One kept asking me where I worked during such and such a time. Despite the other one looking at my application with all that info.
Then they told me that IF they hired me it’d be for a position below what I applied for. Much lower pay and I couldn’t take time off.
Finally they basically told me they’d be watching me like a hawk and if I did drugs I’d be fired and arrested. I have never even smoked pot. I stood up and told them this wasn’t for me and walked out.
It was bizarre. I felt like I was being interrogated for a murder investigation as the prime suspect.”
9. No, thanks.
“Job was for a vibration analysis engineer.
I knew how to do the job well. I knew the pay should be around 95k, and they stated 55k (in the interview). When I tried to discuss my point, they said, “don’t worry, there’s plenty of overtime”.
They also mentioned since they weren’t involved with many balancings at the moment, I would assist the cleaning crew with a lot of the cleanings.
I’ve never been so uninterested in a job in my life.”
10. Totally exessive.
“Five interview rounds with the last interview round being with the CEO all for an entry level customer service job.
During the last interview, the CEO said you weren’t allowed to get sick, and you weren’t allowed to leave at the end of the day until all of the work had been done. So even though the job was 8-4 the CEO said customer service reps often stayed until 6 PM or later.
She also asked if I would be comfortable secretly reporting to her about what the customer service team is up to. I declined the job offer and the company harassed me with emails asking why and what they did wrong.
Really glad I didn’t take the job.”
11. Let me ask you a question…
“In the middle of my interview, the manager asked me if my current workplace (that I was trying to leave) was hiring.
When I said I didn’t know, he asked if I’d be willing to drop off a resumé for him anyway.”
How about you?
What do you think is the worst job interview you’ve ever had?
Share your stories with us in the comments. Thanks!