From time to time, a magazine article, blog, or website reveals the idiotic responses and actions from applicants before, during, and after job interviews. Here’s a collection that–hopefully–needs no further elaboration on the stupidity of the job applicants–unless they were interviewing for an available “village idiot” position. Is it any wonder why most hiring managers dread screening résumés and conducting interviews? You have your work cut out for you…
Took the edge off…with a drink.
“I swear this is true: Someone threw his beer can in the outside trash can before coming into the reception area.” Anonymous HR professional
Hey: TMI, people.
“A guy once talked during the interview about how an affair cost him a previous job.” Anonymous HR professional
Read the directions wrong.
“We ask prospective job applicants at our business to fill out a questionnaire. For the line ‘Choose one word to summarize your strongest professional attribute,’ one woman wrote, ‘I’m very good at following instructions.’” Anonymous HR professional
Grossed out the interviewer.
“Someone once blew her nose and lined up the used tissues on the table in front of her.” Anonymous HR professional
Misunderstood the work.
“An individual applied for a customer-service job, and when asked what he might not like about the job, he said, ‘Dealing with people.’” Source: Robert Half Technology
Brought a sidekick. Who wasn’t patient.
“Once an applicant’s friend came in and asked, ‘How much longer?’” Anonymous HR professiona
Didn’t bother with research.
“It’s amazing when people come in for an interview and say, ‘Can you tell me about your business?’ Seriously, people. There’s an Internet. Look it up.” HR professional in New York City
Listed all experiences…relevant or not.
“I had somebody list their prison time as a job. And an exotic dancer who called herself a ‘customer service representative.’” Sharlyn Lauby, human resources consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL
“I had someone eat all the candy from the candy bowl while trying to answer questions.” Anonymous HR professional
Called in an understudy.
“The candidate sent his sister to interview in his place.” Source: Robert Half Technology
Gave more than a handshake.
“Someone applying for a job hugged me at the end of the interview.” Anonymous HR professional
Ordered in lunch.
“Applicant delivered prepaid Chinese food, including a fortune cookie with his name and phone.” Anonymous HR professional
Spammed a prospective employer.
“Applicant put up posters of himself in the company parking lot.” Anonymous HR professional
Wore the wrong outfit.
“The candidate arrived in a catsuit.” Source: Robert Half Technology
Got too creative.
“Applicant announced his candidacy with a singing telegram.” Anonymous HR professional
Thought he was larger than life.
“Applicant rented a billboard, which the hiring manager could see from his office, listing his qualifications.” Anonymous HR professional
Shared his “happy” hours.
“Candidate specified that his availability was limited because Friday, Saturday, and Sunday was ‘drinking time.’” Anonymous HR professional
Tried to justify the crime.
“Candidate explained an arrest by stating, ‘We stole a pig, but it was a really small pig.’” Anonymous HR professional
Forgot to proofread the cover letter.
“Advertising is a tough business. Which may be why one prospective adman wrote a cover letter boasting, ‘I am getting to my goal, slowly but surly.’” Anonymous HR professional
Was just weird.
“A job applicant came in for an interview with a cockatoo on his shoulder.” Source: Robert Half Technology
Cared about his appearance too much.
“A guy who forgot dark socks to wear with his suit colored in his ankles with a black felt-tip marker.” Source: Washingtonian.com
Cared about his hygiene too much.
“I once had a person clip her fingernails while we were speaking.” Source: Washingtonian.com
Had other business to conduct.
“I was interviewing someone who took a cell-phone call and asked me to leave my office while they talked.” Source: Washingtonian.com
Has a problem with authority.
“The candidate told the interviewer he was fired from his last job for beating up his boss.” Source: Careerbuilder.com
He was a fugitive.
“The candidate said that by crossing the Maryland state line he was in violation of his probation but felt the interview was worth risking possible jail time.” Source: Washingtonian.com
Something didn’t add up.
“An applicant said she was a ‘people person,’ not a ‘numbers person,’ in her interview for an accounting position.” Source: Careerbuilder.com
Got a little too comfortable.
“A candidate complained that she was hot. She then said ‘Excuse me’ and removed her socks. After placing them on the desk, she continued as if everything was normal.”
(All of these examples came from Reader’s Digest online at http://www.rd.com)