Interview howlers – Top 10 fails!

We all have foot-in-mouth situations and some of us open our mouths just to change feet (think Prince Philip!) Most of the time you can laugh these things off, apologise and move on. However in an interview situation you are judged by everything you say and do, and it would take some skill to overcome the following howlers. These are from my own experience, having interviewed 1000’s of people in the last 20 years. Enjoy or cringe, but make sure never to repeat these!

  1. Candidate arrives late without calling to apologise. He’s very rude to the receptionist and completely unconcerned by being 20 minutes late. He was unaware I was in the meeting room waiting for him and could hear the whole thing play out. I greet him as he comes to the room, he attempts to lie, and offers a half hearted excuse for being late. I suggest he doesn’t sit down and politely show him the door. (My quickest interview ever).
  2. ‘Why I am interested in the job? Well, it has a Director’s title, hasn’t it?’
  3. Says female interviewee to male interviewer, whilst leaning forwards on to the desk: ‘You look fit, are all men in this business as attractive as you?’
  4. Interviewee: ‘I’m really sorry, I was supposed to do a presentation to you today, however I was abducted by my friends for my 40th birthday and I have not had a chance to prepare anything’. It was the truth, the client liked his candour and he did get the job!
  5. On having been notified that his flies were open. Candidate: ‘Yeah, sorry, they’re broken, I don’t seem to be able to fix them’. … … er, why wear them then?
  6. Male interviewer to female interviewee: ‘Do you mind buttoning up your blouse a bit, I’m finding it hard to concentrate’.
  7. Candidate, who had arrived 5 minutes late for an interview and was perspiring profusely: ‘Do you mind if I change my shirt? I don’t seem to be able to stop sweating’. Who goes to an interview with a spare shirt? Bizarre.
  8. A brilliant one! Female candidate: ‘Yes I am actively looking for a new job, however I seem unlucky in getting job offers. Every time a company hears about me being dismissed for sexual misconduct the interview process comes to an end’. Wow. Wasn’t sure what to say.
  9. Candidate who arrived to be interviewed for a senior retail position in torn jeans and with hair dyed green, was greeted by a ‘Glad to see you have dressed up for the occasion’, responded ‘Sorry, I’m hung over, you should have seen me yesterday!’.
  10. ‘Please tell me a bit about your achievements in the last 5 years. Candidate: ‘Well I could, but I won’t. It is all confidential information, can’t possibly discuss that. Do you have any other questions?’. Well, no. Goodbye!

Good luck with your interviews, prepare and rehearse, don’t make stupid mistakes please! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

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