Job Interview Howlers

Ever felt like you blew a big job interview? Well, cheer up. At least you didn't bring your dog. Or a date. Or doughnuts.
By Anne Fisher  (  09-30-2002)

Friends, it's important to know what to do and say during a job interview--but knowing how not to behave helps, too. OfficeTeam (, a worldwide staffing company, recently hired an independent research firm to survey hiring executives at the 1,000 largest U.S. companies. The question: What are the strangest things that job candidates have said or done in interviews? Here are some of their more memorable answers:

"After answering the first few questions, the candidate picked up his cell phone and called his parents to let them know the interview was going well."

"At the end of the interview, the candidate expressed her interest in getting the position, but only if her boyfriend liked the company and the hiring manager. She then said, 'He's waiting outside. Can I bring him in to say hello?'"

The person got up just a few minutes after the interview had begun, saying he left his dog in the car and needed to check on him."

"The candidate entered the lobby and identified herself to the receptionist. She then pulled two pairs of shoes from her bag and said, 'Before the interviewer comes out, tell me which pair you think I should wear with this suit.'"

"When asked why she wanted to work for this company, the candidate replied, 'That's a good question. I really haven't given it much thought.'"

"When asked how he would improve sales if hired, the candidate replied, 'I'll have to think about that and get back to you.' He then stood up, walked out, and never came back."

"When told she would meet with a second interviewer, the candidate took out a large bag from her briefcase and proceeded to reapply her makeup and hairspray, all in the first interviewer's office."

"Asked by the hiring manager why he was leaving his current job, the candidate replied, 'My manager is a jerk. All managers are jerks.'"

"The candidate disparaged his former boss during the interview, not realizing that the boss and the interviewer had the same last name and were related."

"When the interviewer asked what the candidate was earning, she answered, 'I really don't see how that is any of your business.'"

"When asked what he liked least about his current job, the candidate replied, 'Managing people.' He was interviewing for a management position."

"After being complimented on his choice of college and the GPA he achieved, the candidate replied, 'I'm glad that got your attention. I didn't really go there.'"

"The candidate asked for an early morning interview. He showed up with a box of doughnuts and ate them during the interview, saying this was the only time he'd have to eat breakfast before going to work."

"When asked by the hiring manager if he had any questions, the candidate responded by telling a knock-knock joke."

"The company sent an employee to meet a prospective new hire at the airport. The applicant got off the plane, said it was far too cold to live and work in this city, and took the next flight home. He never met the hiring manager."

"When asked by the hiring manager about his career goals, the candidate replied, 'To work the least amount of time possible until I can get your job.'"

Need I say that none of these folks was hired? The moral, according to OfficeTeam executive director Liz Hughes: "Think before you speak. The first thing that comes to your mind might not be the most appropriate thing to share with the hiring manager." How true.