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This is a question Job Interview Disasters

The boss showed me the shop floor, complete with loose floor tiles, out-of-date equipment and prospective colleagues eyeing me like a raw steak. "Christ, what a craphole", I said. I think that's the moment I blew it. Tell us how you didn't get the job.

Suggested by Field Marshall Dozington-Smythe (Ret.)

(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 13:06)
Pages: Popular, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

My PhD interview
I somehow really impressed my future supervisor. I acted interested in his project even when dull as dishwater and the field (also dull), gave all the contrived reasons were perfect, was friendly and enthusiastic. Completely nailed it, got the position at a remarkably prestigious institute for my average 2:1 and even started early.

Turns out the right answer was "no, that sounds shit, please never let me near it".

3 years of hell began, a project I was completely unable to do, a management style of bashing my head against a brick wall rather than trying to work out what was wrong at fix it, a placement in a hell-hole that left me drinking every night to stop the tears with another supervisor who was like a perfectly designed personality clash, after 3 years I finally handed in a very thin MSc thesis with a conclusion of "further work needed". Oh, also to get out of the hell-hole I had to finish the project completely unpaid, if you quit a PhD there is IMMENSE pressure to finish it as an MSc no matter how insane and in debt this will make you.

So, in future, if I can see something is going to fuck me over professionally and personally to a very large extent, I'm not going to try very hard at the interview. Possibly I'll break that rule if really desperate for money, but in this case I had to work unpaid (not even student loan, you thought Workfare was bad) for several months.

There are a bunch of jobs I didn't get because I didn't do well at interview but since I didn't fuck up the one for my quite satisfactory job I don't count them as nearly as big a fuckup of getting stuck with the worst PhD position ever.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 18:29, 8 replies)
Let's all bully Dr. Shambolic.

(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 17:58, 18 replies)
When we were looking for an email marketer at my last company
One applicant sent in their CV and covering letter by fax
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 17:14, 17 replies)

(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 17:11, 2 replies)
Fresh out of Uni
I went looking for a job and quickly began to regret my decision to leave my job as a undegreed technician to go into further education because jobs were rarer than Ringofire's entertaining QOTW answers. Mostly I didn't even get a reply.

Then a got an interview. Cut off my long hair and dusted off my hardly worn suit and off I went to Bristol University Dept of Biochemistry.

The only interviews I had up to this point (two sucsesful ones for my pregraduate work) had been one on one, then tour around the department being introduced to other people in the group who also ask some more questions. This one was a panel of 6 behind a big fuck off desk with a tiny chair in front of them. The 6 bastards were glaring at me(or so I thought) as I sat nervously on the little chair.

One of them decided to open with an easy question to ease me into it

"Did you study any Biochemistry on your course?"
"yes it was one of my favourite subjects" I lied
"which area did you particularly like?"
At this point my brain went on holiday, I couldn't think of a single thing about biochemistry

internal dialogue...
come on come on ...biochem topic?......pathways!..what pathways? it's all pathways that's no bloody good think of something specific....pathways?...no not just bloody pathways a actual pathway.......pathways? gah for gods sake pick a favourite pathway any bloody pathway....pathways?

Every time I felt like I could grasp a name of a pathway my brain stopped and thought that single word pathways. 10 mins later I could have drawn a detailed diagram of the formation & breakdown of haemoglobin, The Krebs cycle and a fair few others. But at that moment I felt like I had just done a bucket bong.

It felt like an hour had passed as I sat there gaping like a recently landed carp. I said ummmm a few time but that wasn't really helping.

Thankfully at this point one of them told me not to worry and relax and we got on with the rest of the interview. It was such a relief not to be stuck in my own private 'pathway loop' I didn't do too badly. Didn't get the job (they said I was second choice but I bet they say that to all the applicants) but the work looked shit once I was shown round TBH so lucky break there
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 16:54, Reply)
We had a vacancy, and an agency sent several candidates along.
One was very appropriately experienced, having worked for one of our closest competitors for 6 years. The interview went well, which was conducted by our trading manager, who is a Muslim.

Interview concluded, we were all fairly sure this was the right candidate.

I did a quick Google on his name, and found amongst other things a short video showing him being arrested at an EDL rally, for public order offenses including spitting at a group of Muslims.

Freedom of expression and speech and all that, but I did conclude maybe this wasn't the right person for the job.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 16:34, 28 replies)
Saying completely the wrong thing
Many years ago, when still living in lovely sunny Essex, I somehow managed to wangle an interview with the Essex County Council Tourism Department - I didn't believe at first they had one. I was sat down in a small office with three very officious and humourless people. Their first question was: "How would you improve Essex's image to potential tourists?" My answer: "I'd drop an atom bomb on Basildon." Here endeth the interview.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 16:29, Reply)
“I don't know” is not an option
Mad scientist is not a frequent job description. So after having studied physics, I found myself applying for engineering jobs mainly. In the end, it all boils down to physics any way, right? Not on one particular occasion, when one interviewer just couldn't grasp the fact I didn't know a certain component's electric characteristics by heart. He tried giving me “hints”, so I could “deduce” this knowledge somehow. But deducing something that has no physical reasoning behind it, that is just a definition by the producer, is hardly possible.

So after I had failed to deduce this number from his data sheet, he launched into a tirade, that lasted more than half an hour. He told me, that maybe I should start studying all over again, as with this kind of knowledge I would never find a job anywhere. He expressed his sorrow for the society that would have to provide for me through unemployment compensation for the rest of my life. He felt my parents had failed with me (which, I have to give to him, is correct).

After this lengthy onslaught, an obviously distressed HR woman, who had been sitting there silently all the time, led me to the door and wished me luck. I didn't need luck. At the time I already had a “yes” from another company, and was just there to see if maybe this position might be more interesting.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 16:13, Reply)
We were interviewing for a studio manager, and had whittled the list down to a final three. Second stage was with myself and the Marketing Director, nice chap, very sharp. We had one bloke come in who was great on paper, and who came across well. Chatty, confident, everything going well until MD asked his trademark final question.
"so, you're going to be managing 12 people and it's a pretty close knit group. If we were to get 12 of your best friends together and ask them to describe you in just one word, what would that be?"
We had had some creative answers to this in the past, and it really did a lot to sort the wheat from the chaff. He sat there, and mulled it over. Then a flash of inspiration! His face lit up, he grinned broadly and proclaimed ...

He seemed really pleased with how he had done, and chased us on a response for weeks.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 15:51, 15 replies)
So back in the early 2000s a company was advertising a position as a web developer
I'd been out of work for a while, so I applied and they sent me a .psd file and asked me to turn it into a functioning DHTML site. I did a site-specific Google search on them, found their test server, downloaded the site that they'd already built for the client, cleaned up the code, zipped it and emailed it straight back to them.

Apparently they didn't want someone with initiative.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 15:51, 4 replies)
Not a disaster, but I felt stupid
I had applied for a senior position, and all I remembered from the job description was how often it emphasised the need for maturity and experience. So when the interviewer asked me how old I was, I answered "28, and a half". He looked at me, then laughed out loud. Got the job though.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 15:04, 3 replies)
Not strictly on topic but....how I failed my driving test.
Awooga. What a rush.

Right. Yeah, I got my notes here just in case I completely forget what I'm fucking saying. So, how are we all? Are we all good? Excellent, excellent.

Right, like, I was sort of rehearsing earlier. It is an absolute fucking pleasure to be here in despite the fact that my heart is currently going nineteen to a dozen and I feel like I'm about to take my driving test. Which I failed three times in a row. However, I- the last time I maintain it wasn't my fault.

I like to maintain- thanks there- I like to maintain- God, that's fucking distracting.

Long story short, I pissed in my own mouth.
I like to maintain that it wasn't actually my fault. It was actually the fact that the OAP stepped out in front of me. And the fact that driving examiner was actually y-

Are you fucking filming? You bastard. Oh for God's sakes. Anyway, urm.

I like to maintain that it wasn't my fault. It was in fact the fault of the driving examiner in that she didn't get there with the dual controls quick enough. That, and she was a frustrated Daily Mail reading bitch queen man-hating whore from hell. But, so it goes so.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 14:47, 4 replies)
"Ok, sorry I'm a bit late, but I'm very busy. We've still got ten minutes, I don't know anything about interviews, that's not my job, just talk about yourself for a bit."
This is how the interviewer started the interview. Then she folded her arms and scowled at me.
It was for a management position and I'd spent a couple of days preparing.
I didn't get the job, but I didn't really care.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 14:34, 2 replies)
Not disasters but Directors of smaller firms seem to find these offensive.
"Yes, I checked out your accounts at Companies House and you would have to pay me weekly." He went mental.


"I would have to see your last 3 months management accounts before I accept the generous offer."

Them, "Do you think about the box?" Me, "Do you know what is in the box?"

edit for idiocy - obviously earlier I was watching that bold as brass fox on the lawn and pondering whether it was going to say about my bins. They said, "Do you think OUT of the box?" - I hate that phrase and is often said by young people who do not know anything about the box nor its contents. Stupid people also insist on Brainstorming which invariably means going over the content of the box and finding a solution that was already in the box which they then insist is outside of it.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 14:22, 3 replies)
Having arrived 3 hours late for my interview,
then waiting a further 3 so that they could fit me in at the end of the day, I found myself sat opposite a small, hatchet faced woman, with a very impressive bust.
I got the impression that no one in the room appreciated having to spend an extra 45 minutes on the day's bullshit, which knocked my already flagging confidence as, on the rare occasion that I met my interviewer's gaze, I found she was scowling at me something fierce.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 14:13, Reply)
Hellish journey to an interview...
I recently went by train to a job interview for a school IT tech, and thought I’d take my three year old daughter, Jennifer, along. You know, show them I was good with kids, etc. She was very good on the journey there, to a point. At first she just sat on my knee eating biscuits while I read my book. I was just trying to remain calm before the job interview. Until she started screaming and yelling -rolling around on the floor jerking - like she was having a fit or something - then she growled "SATAN COMMANDS ME NOW" in a really low, deep voice. Show off! Some people came to help, but she kind of sprouted these 'wing' things, vomited blood all down the train carriage - and even though she was throwing up all this blood and bile, she seemed to actually GROW, until she was bigger than me, even. She also turned a sort of reddy-purple colour.

This one woman, who was sitting opposite, turned into a real bitch at this point. She said something like "Oh my GOD what's happening to her" - like, really hysterically - and it must have scared Jennifer, because she swiped out with her hand towards this woman's face. I've never seen anything like it - she tore this woman's face RIGHT OFF, and cut her throat - Jennifer had these fingernails like steak-knives for some reason. Anyway, serves this woman right - shouting at a little girl like that.

But the other people on the train started to panic now - there was Jennifer’s vomit-blood splashing around, and this woman lying on the floor screaming from this hole where her mouth used to be - pumping out blood from everywhere and gurgling. You can tell she was in immense amounts of pain, because she was really twitching violently - thrashing around and making a hell of a racket. Women, eh?

So the other commuters are screaming and clambering over each other - all making loads of noise, when Jennifer does this high pitched scream thing (you know, like she does) which drowns out all the other noise in the train - and makes several of the windows shatter. And as she keeps on screaming - this 'thing' starts opening up in the middle of the carriage - like a disk with shimmering edges getting bigger and bigger as Jennifer continues to scream. In this disk - its like it's a TV screen you can see through AND in - there's fire and smoke and these black and red swirling shapes in it - and then I realise it's a hole in reality.

I don't know...one minute she's eating biscuits, then next thing she's breaking down Einstienian physics, creating a trans-dimensional vortex into the very lungs of hell itself. You can tell she's MY daughter!

SO - I look round after seeing this demonic portal power itself into existence, and Jennifer's stopped screaming. She's massive now, towering above me and seeming to be even bigger than the train we were in. She's looking pretty cool, actually, all wings and horns and bulging black veins under red skin. And then she starts firing these things like death-ray energy-beams from her mouth - they looked like a cross between fire and lightning, and they crackled with power and energy. She did this unearthly bellow and these bolts of light and energy erupted from her mouth. She must have done this a few dozen times, launched these fiery 'power-rays' from her mouth, launching them at other people in the train. And the weird thing is - whoever these death-rays hit (you'll see why I call them that now), the people they hit sort of exploded and disintegrated at the same time with this horrific screaming noise. All that was left after they had exploded/disintegrated was this white shadow where their body used to be, which then got sucked into this rotating portal that Jennifer had screamed into existence just seconds before. The vortex pulsated every time one of these 'light shadows' went through it.

Once everyone in the carriage had been destroyed, and all their "white shadows" (I'm not sure if they were ghosts, or souls) had been pulled into the hellgate, Jennifer (or what was once Jennifer) tilted her head back, and roared in triumph. All this light started pouring out of her, like she was on fire from within. I though she was going to explode, but she kind of folded into herself, condensing down until she was a floating fireball, about the size of a burning tennis ball, and floated into and through this pan-dimension hell tunnel, which then closed in on itself after her.

I looked around - and there was nothing. The dead woman on the floor was gone - even the windows that had been blown out were back in place and intact. Everything was calm - I was the only one left in the carriage and there was no sign of any chaos at all. And no sign of Jennifer. And luckily we were just pulling in to Wimbledon.

So I got out and went to the school and told then that my daughter had turned into the Prince of Darkness, the Bringer of All Evil. I told them what happened on the train, and how she had harvested the souls of all the other passengers and spared mine, but they slammed the door on my face and said something about calling the police.

Then I realised - I was STILL wearing my Jimmy Saville mask from the fancy dress party the night before!!!
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 13:56, 5 replies)
I inadvertently slept with the manager of a place I had an interview with the next day.
I got the job though, so all good.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 13:55, 3 replies)
I was once interviewed by a woman who looked just like Deauxma.
I couldn't look her in the eye.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 13:52, Reply)
Ah the joy of a job interview in the middle of the day in the middle of summer!
The suit! The tie! The cheap socks n' shoes combo that makes your feet stink after 30 seconds!

The tiny little room that you're interviewed in ... !
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 13:44, 6 replies)

Tell us what you do in your spare time?

I like to go out hill climbing!

And which hills in central London where you thinking of climbing?

It went downhill from there. My answer of "well, there are weekends and holidays" didn't seem to cut the mustard.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 13:35, 2 replies)
The quickest-ever presentation
I once sat on an interview panel for an IT team who were looking for a new web developer.

One of the interviewees arrived looking very dishevelled and had an extremely indiscernible Geordie accent. It was also clear from the outset that as an IT bod, presentation skills weren’t his forte.

After the perfunctory introductions, we asked the chap to go through his interview presentation, which is where it went horribly wrong.
He’d set up some auto transitions on his slides along with some nice animation. What he hadn’t done is rehearsed the presentation, or checked the timings…

So his 40-slide masterpiece whizzed by in just under a minute and all the while he spoke rapidly, while his world unravelled, his wet, Geordie lips quivering and spittle flying all over the place as he valiantly tried to get his accompanying words out.

It’s probably the hardest I’ve ever tried not to laugh inappropriately. He didn’t get the job.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 13:24, 4 replies)
I went through my first ever interview with my flies open.
My prospective employer was kind enough to point this out as I made my way out.
Still got the job, though.
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 13:20, 2 replies)
Top button
In an interview for a data entry job (which I was already doing as a temp in the same place, and had clearly demonstrated that I was more capable than most of the existing staff), I didn't do my top button up. I was wearing a shirt and suit jacket, and a tie (not loosened or anything). But I didn't do my top button up and that's why they told me that I hadn't been given a spot. It was apparently "disrespectful".
(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 13:16, 8 replies)
I've never fucked up a job interview because I'm not a barely functioning halfwit.

(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 13:13, 14 replies)

(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 13:10, 2 replies)

(, Thu 21 Nov 2013, 13:10, Reply)

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