When it's your job to fill a position in your workplace, you get all kinds of applicants in. For the most part you're dealing with a mess of qualified people who are all kind of the same. One of them will eventually get the job, and the others will get other jobs elsewhere: but in the meanwhile, some other people might wander into your interviews.

These are the people you have stories about. The ones that you think are going to be just like the next person, and turn out to be wild. The ones you have to clean out your ears for, because you literally can't believe they just said that. How many of those stories can you cull from your memory?

u/TheHendryx asked:

HR and Recruiters, what is an instant "Well, this person isn't getting the job" thing a candidate can do during a job interview for you?

Here were some of those answers.

Back When I Was Dealing...

I was interviewing clerks for a gas station. One was a relative of a friend of my supervisor. He was clean and showed up on time. He also answered every question with "Back when I was selling crack..." My supervisor said I had to hire him, so I did. It went as well as you might imagine.


Maybe Not The Fire

A woman casually mentioning that she wanted to set her ex on fire. Totally unprompted and unrelated to anything that had been asked. Later, when asked how to handle difficult customers she said she would set them on fire as well.


Retail. In a video game shop. This was a group interview and she was there at the recommendation of someone who already worked in the shop. That person was also there helping with the interviews and kept trying to drop hints to stop talking about setting people on fire but she just kept going.


Never Lie On Your Resume

Had a guy literally SPRINT out of the building.

I wasn't the interviewer, I am a web developer, but as we were trying to hire a second developer I was asked to prepare some basic web development questions.

These were not hard. These were absolute bare basics babies first code stuff.

This guy came in, started interviewing and was apparently doing okay, not fantastic but enough to keep him in consideration. Then he saw that we had a test and he apparently grabbed his bag and ran out of the room. All I saw was this guy sprint full-tilt past the rest of the office, shoulder-barge out the door and run off into the distance, followed by our two directors stumbling out of the interview office laughing uncontrollably.

I guess he lied on his CV?


One Word: No

I was interviewing someone who had previously worked at the American embassy in his home country. The language barrier was very difficult and he was having a tough time with the interview. Part way through, he showed me some certificates he received from the embassy job, as awards for good work. The conversation then went like this:

Me: Can you tell me the story about some of these awards?

Him: Huh?

Me: I'd like to know why you received these awards. Maybe you can pick one of them and tell me the story about how you got it.

Him: ...awards?

Me: Yes, these things you're showing me right now. Tell me about them.

Him: They are awards.

Me: Right. Tell me how you received them.

Him: How?

Me: Yes. What did you do to get them?

Him: ...I dunno. It's your embassy, you tell me.

That last bit was the longest sentence he spoke to me during the entire interview.


We Don't Need Your Help SIR!

Had a guy who was a little rough but was looking quite promising for a design role. He blew it with me by saying "I'll turn this company around in 6 weeks" and a few more comments along those lines with a theme of "you are currently messing it up".

This is a small successful company. I wanted him to fit in, not "turn us round".


Yeah, No.  None Of That.

Friend of a friend (call him Bob for short) got a job despite not being the best "qualified" candidate.

Down to the final two for a teaching job, there was Bob who was a solid, unremarkable candidate. Clearly good enough for the role but nothing special about a candidate... and then there was Charlie. Charlie was an absolute rock star teacher. Won awards, young dynamic and driven, outstanding teaching demo, just the nicest guy who had glowing references.

Then they asked "any questions?" and he replied "could you tell me if you'd have a problem with a teacher dating a student?"

...yes. yes they would.

Bob got the job.


Sales Ain't Tech

So many:

  • making comments about getting into an employees skirt as they walked past (also how to get reported to HR before even getting the job).
  • explaining how they took copies of all the companies code home.
  • explaining how they used to work two jobs at once, pretending to work for one from home
  • explaining how they program games for their playstation with notepad... While being interviewed by programmers for a sales role
  • telling the interviewer that the problem they are trying to solve is impossible (even though it was literally 3 lines of code... It was a warm up question)

Ah...Nope, We Don't Love That Answer

I worked for a big, well known company and we were recruiting interns straight out of college. The questions are more of a get to know you questions, rather than actual knowledge of the work or experience. The company actually gave us a paper with some example questions, like the one below, that we could ask if we ran out of ideas.

So it's going pretty well, very bubbly, chatty girl and I have impression she would fit the team. Until:

Me: how do you handle multiple deadlines in a short time period? E.g. if you have 2-3 exams close to each other or an exam and a big class project?

Interviewee: well, you try to do your best, but if I realise I cannot meet both deadlines, I just call in sick.


None Of Our Money SIR!

For a while, I did "secondary" interviews to help out a new store. They'd do the recruiting for candidates and pass on to me the ones they liked best. I'd get some okay results but ONE supervisor had no idea how to shut down a candidate that wasn't suitable. I coached her over and over but she had too soft of a heart (I miss when I had one, pre-retail).

This meant I got all kinds of characters. The worst: a candidate who laughed at me. He didn't have an answer for my first two questions then just LAUGHED at my third and shook his head.

I shut down the interview and made it clear it was due to an inability to complete it. I politely asked if he had any questions and he said "is the job paid by direct deposit or a check? Do you need a void check from me?"

No sir, you're never getting a pay check from us... EVER!


This Is Why We Honor Red Flags

This guy's resume had a ton of IT skills/technologies in it and that should have been a red flag but we didn't have many candidates for the position so we gave him a shot.

First question I asked him was "So I see you have PHP on your resume, can you tell me what types of environments you've worked with it in?" His answer was "What? I don't know know that." And he didn't say it like he didn't know PHP, he said it like he'd never heard of it. When I showed him a copy of his resume he scratched out PHP with a pen and said "My friend did my resume for me, I'll have to update that..." That was the end of any consideration of hiring him. I texted the recruiter to come get him and it took them 20 minutes to get there. To be polite we continued the interview but it was a long 20 minutes. I don't remember everything but every question was a train wreck.

He insisted he knew Active Directory because he kept it on a usb drive he carried with him.

He got a text and stared at his phone for about 10 very uncomfortable seconds and then said "Hold on, this guy is trying to sell me some windows" while he texted back.

When asked what types of teams and groups he's used to working with instead of saying "very structured" or "easy going" he rattled off about 10 names, first names, as if we knew who they were. When we asked what that team was like he was like "Oh, you know" and then repeated the names again.

Someone asked him to walk them through a typical day at his current job. I don't think he said anything about work and instead talked about his wife and his kids. Then he told us a story about a funny thing his uncle did years ago.

I asked him how his work was presented to him and whether he used a ticketing system or if he used any project management software and he said "They call me." When I asked if he meant a help desk environment he said no "They call me at home." He couldn't elaborate on how any of that worked or what he did after they called him.

He jokingly insinuated that the real reason he was trying to get this job is because he wasn't making enough money in real estate and his wife wouldn't have sex with him.


Clint Patterson/Unsplash

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