Embarrassing Interview Moments and How to Avoid Them
05.14.10 | Job Search & Career | Amanda Musto, Marketing Manager at Treeline Incorporated
Most people are on their best behavior when meeting with hiring managers during a job interview, but sometimes, interviewing applicants do things which are nothing short of bizarre. Executives were asked to recount the most embarrassing job interview moments they had heard about or witnessed themselves. Here are some of their strangest, embarrassing, amusing, and often unbelievable responses:
- One candidate sent his sister to interview in his place.
- One person was dancing during the interview. He kept saying things like, 'I love life!' and 'Oh yeah!
- A job applicant came in for an interview with a cockatoo on his shoulder.
- The candidate stopped the interview and asked if the interviewer had a cigarette.
- One group had a man who walked out of an interview into a glass door and the glass shattered.
It's helpful to do your homework before a job interview and truly understand the position, and the company you are interviewing with. Taking the time to do the right research is very important, and can really affect the outcome of your interview. Here are some examples of job seekers who would have benefited from more preparation:
- The candidate got his companies confused and repeatedly mentioned the strengths of a competing firm, thinking that's who he was interviewing with.
- A guy called the hiring manager by the wrong name during the entire interview.
- A prominent retail company asked their job candidate why she wanted to work for them, and she said she didn't want to work in retail anymore.
Most employers observe applicants' body language to better understand how friendly and honest they are. Unfortunately, these job candidates could have used some improvement in that area:
- An interviewee put his bubble gum in his hand, forgot about it, and then shook the hand of the woman conducting the interview.
- A job seeker gestured with his hands so much that he sat on them to stop it.
- A candidate fell asleep during the interview.
Dressing appropriately and professionally can dramatically increase your chances of landing the job. Regrettably for these next job hopefuls, the wrong attire took them out of the running:
Someone showed up for an interview in pajamas and his hair not combed, like he had just rolled out of bed.
The candidate had a big rip in the back of his pants.
While job seekers should give complete and compelling responses to the set of questions asked of them during their interview, saying too much can work against you, as these next examples demonstrate:
- An applicant was doing really well in the interview until she got to the reason she left her other job. She told them everyone was out to get her.
- A candidate insulted the interviewer on his tie.
Although extreme, these examples illustrate the importance of interviewing basics. To be considered for a job, candidates must prepare well, dress appropriately and provide compelling information about themselves to persuade their interviewers . They should not babble and offer too much information which could negatively affect the outcome of the interview. They should also stick to the questions asked of them, and keep their responses simple.
Tips to avoid embarrassing job interview moments:
- Do your homework. Study the company and ask the interviewer relevant questions that demonstrate your interest in the firm and show your desire to succeed.
- Dress to impress. Err on the conservative side with a suit in a neutral tone. For woman, make sure your skirts and blouses are not too tight, or too short. "Test drive" any new interviewing outfit before the interview to make sure it's comfortable, fits correctly, and presents the right impression.
- Don't delay. Plan to arrive at your interview at least 15 minutes early. Give yourself extra time if you are unfamiliar with the area.
- Keep it real. Offer examples and anecdotes that help illustrate your strengths, but do not embellish or lie.
- Resist rambling. Once you have answered an interview question, stop talking. Allow for periods of silence while the hiring manager formulates the next query.
Remember, even careful preparation can't prevent all mishaps:
- A candidate cut his lip shaving, and it was bleeding profusely during the interview.
- The applicant became ill during the interview.
- The applicant spilled coffee on her suit.
- Handling problems gracefully may actually impress your interviewers. But if the situation can't be overcome, you should quickly move on and focus on the next opportunity. Your mishap might be embarrassing at the time, but it's is often a learning experience that will someday make an entertaining story.
Comment and let us know about an interesting interview you or someone you know has experienced!