Young Professionals Share Tips On How Not Immediately To Tank A Job Interview

With more and more people entering the labor force, it's important to have great interview skills. Let's be honest, though, a lot of articles about how to give a good interview are kind of boring. This article ain't that.

One user gave Reddit a challenge:

Your task is to ruin a job interview in the first 30 seconds. What do you do?

Reddit responded like they do to pretty much all challenges - and stepped up to the plate in a big way. We've got some suggestions that made us cringe and laugh, and some stories that convinced us some people shouldn't be allowed in public without a chaperone. Have fun!

Tough Guy

Keep referring to the interviewer as "tough guy." Works equally well for both genders, works even better if the interviewer happens to be younger than you.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich - No Cheese

I can tell you what one young woman did when I was a hiring manager. She had a perfectly positive phone interview for a business casual, sit-down sales type job with our non-profit, so we scheduled a time for her to come in.

I arrive in the lobby to find this young woman wearing a stained, oversized wifebeater t-shirt, a pair of yoga pants in what I can best describe as an Arizona iced-tea can fake desert pattern, and crocs.

And literally the first words that came out of her mouth were, "I bet I don't look anything like I sound on the phone, do I?"

I was so stunned, I just took her in for her interview with me and my boss. The interview lasted all of five minutes during which she displayed all the personality of a grilled cheese sandwich missing the cheese.

She was not hired.

Interviewer Qualifications

Ask the interviewer how qualified they are to be taking your interview, and as a bonus, ask for their salary.

I work in a call center as a supervisor. I had this rep who could have been amazing but she just was a miserable person and didn't want to be coached or told what to do.

A few months go by, she had stopped talking to me or even looking at me by this point (literally would not look at me as she walked by and I said "good morning").

Her performance continues to suck and I finally put her on a performance plan. As I'm administering I have my team lead present because at this point I refused to be alone with her with concerns of allegations (for the record....I'm gay, so not that kind of allegations). As I'm administering the plan I'm stating how my team lead will be helping her through the process. The rep interrupted me and starts asking my lead what qualifications she has to be a part of this. My lead being taken aback started to answer. I quickly shut that down and moved on.

She essentially failed on day 1 because she said "I have worked in call centers for many years and I know what I'm doing to take a good call. I'm not going to change my actions just because you think otherwise."

She didn't make it past 30 days after that meeting.

"I Don't Have A Boat"

I once interviewed a guy who was unbelievably high. A few minutes in, he stops and stare out the window and says "Hey is that my car? I think someone is stealing my car. Oh wait, no, there's a boat on that one. I don't have a boat." Job offers are contingent on passing a drug test.

Key Questions

"Hi, I do not want to work with black people, do you have any of those?"

In For The Hug

When he goes for the handshake, step in for the hug. Refuse to move until he reciprocates, and throw in a "mmm," in his ear.

They might go ahead with the interview anyway as a professional courtesy, but you're not getting that job.

The Briefcase

I used to be a hiring manager and was having a hard time finding a decent employee for the office. I had a phone interview with a guy that seemed really legit. At the end of the phone interview I set up an in person interview with him and ask him to please bring a copy of his resume to the interview. After hanging up I send him an email confirmation of the interview and state "also, please remember to bring a paper copy of your resume."

Day of the interview, he shows up with a briefcase and in a full suit. A little overdressed, but whatever, I'd rather someone over impress than under impress. We go in to the meeting room, he puts the briefcase on the table in front of him and opens it so that he can see in and I can't. He doesn't close it....

I start by asking him if he has a copy of his resume, he responds with a quick "I'm sorry I forgot!". I tell him it's no problem, I'm thinking as long as there are no other red flags it doesn't matter too much. And I proceed with the interview.

Literally every single question I ask him he responds with "well if you look at my resume you will see..." Or something along those lines. I reminded him about 4 times I didn't have a copy because he didn't bring one (ya I had one on the computer but he forgot it and should be able to answer basic questions without referencing it). When he continues referencing it, I give up, finish the interview, thank him, and say goodbye.

One thing still really bothers me... If he forgot his resume... WHAT THE HECK WAS IN THE BRIEFCASE?!

The Birthday Present

you can do what my brother did and have a hip flask of whisky in your jacket pocket and let it fall on the floor as you take your jacket off

BTW he is not an alcoholic, i had given him the hip flask as a birthday present two weeks before

Passing On A Question

Most mind blowing interview I ever note took went something like this

introductory nonsense

Interviewer: Right well we're going to start with 6 standardised questions. Take your time and think about your answer. Tell us about a time when you exceeded in the workplace, what results did you get and how did you achieve them?

Our Hero: thinks for about 5 seconds and then says ... pass

Attendance Not Required

I actually once got a job that I ditched the interview for.

I was in my early 20s, submitting a ton of applications because why not? Got a call for an interview, said I'd be there, went out partying the night before and slept through the interview time.

I figured that job prospect was shot, so I just gave up on it. The next day, though, I get a call from another manager saying they found my application and it said my interview date was yesterday so they'd like me to come in to fill out all the new hire paperwork. It must've been a miscommunication between all the staff, or something. Either way, I thought it was amusing.

Turning The Tables

Bring a starter kit from each of my five MLMs in, and "answer" every question by weakly tying the content to at least 3 of the "great opportunities" I have. If called out, admit cheerily that I never wanted the job, I just want to help the interviewer quit theirs, or would they like to host a party for free product??

That's The Stuff

"Got any pictures of your kids?.... Yeah, that's the stuff."

Establish Dominance Early

Walk in and go straight for the handshake while making direct eye contact. The second the handshake is engaged let out a nice long fart while maintaining eye contact and don't let go of their hand until your done.

Screaming At The Hiring Panel

Was on a hiring panel, called a candidate in, the boss asked him, "so, why do you want this job?" Candidate screams "YOU CALLED ME" we all looked at each other, went around the table, questions? no, no, no. Okay, we will contact you, if there is ANY interest.

Ask That Guy

After going thru the high level interview process , as hiring manager I was brought in to interview someone

I like to break the ice and get a feel for someone's comfort and how they conduct themselves by asking "tell me about what you do now"

Now I have their resume n in front of me so it's not like I can't read it , it's just an easy question that usually gets people talking

So I lob my softball to this candidate ..

And his reply ...

"Man why don't you ask that guy !? " (the hr person who first interviewed him)

"I already told him everything..."

It was at that point I looked at my phone and said "oh no I have an emergency"

And walked out of the room

Blow It Before You Even Show Up

I've seen 2 situations where someone blew an interview before they even came in for the interview.

-One person got called about an interview for a job they applied for where I was working. They asked what the starting pay was because they didn't want to waste the gas driving across town (10-15 minutes) if the pay wasn't high enough.

-A guy got offered and interview and asked if he was offered the job if they would allow him to wait 1-2 months before taking his drug test.

Both people were told not to bother showing up for the interview.

How to blow one in 30 seconds when you're there? Ask if they test for marijuana because that's not really a drug right?

The Honest Answer

I did this one time lol. I don't think was quite 30 seconds. Their first question was "so do you think you have any skills that will help you with this job?" I said "I don't think so." That was pretty much it lol

Don't Wait To Be Offered An Interview

Do what my favorite interviewee story did and show up without being offered an interview.

2 hours later he left (usually a 30 min interview) shouting that he's a team player and that he'd be back.

Resident Advisor

I had the pleasure of being in the interview process for other resident advisors in college in year 3. A guy sat down and said "Gotta be honest here. I really don't like black people." Quickest interview ever.

Failing A Drug Test

I had to tell a guy his application was unsuccessful because he failed a drug screen. he test positive to marijuana.

Conversation was like

Me:"Hey Mate, just wanted to let you know that unfortunately you were unsuccessful with your application due to failing the drug and alcohol test"

him: "Oh really ? but i don't understand, i only had like one or two puffs of a joint the day before the test, surely only a few puffs doesn't show up"

Spent the next 20 minutes explaining to him that if you smoke weed, you will fail a drug test.

He just didn't understand

H/T: Reddit

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