Life

These Catastrophic Job Application Stories Will Make You Nervous About Your Next Interview

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The job interview, like the first date, is one of the most uncomfortable things you’ll ever have to do in your life. You’ll spend half the time telling the interviewer what they want to hear, a quarter of it answering questions that won’t give any insight into the kind of employee that you’ll be, and at least a few terrified moments where you’ll smile awkwardly and wonder whether this is really a place you want to work. All of this is normal.

Sometimes, though, interviews turn the dial waaaay past the”awkward interview” setting. Sometimes, you’ll leave the building glad to know you didn’t get the job. Happy to never, ever return. What you’re about to read is a compendium of those types of experiences, gathered from all corners of Reddit, to remind you that no matter how bad your job interview was, it could have been much, much worse.

Let’s start with this story, in which someone learns that it’s stupid for people to ask you to tell a joke at an interview, but that not having one at the ready can be dangerous:

The manager conducting the interview demanded I tell a joke. Unfortunately, I froze and could only recall a handful of jokes I’d read on one of the notorious reddit joke threads the previous night. The cleanest one I could think of was about gay dinosaurs. I laughed, he didn’t. So, being a genius and all, the best recovery I could come up with was to tell him another f*cking gay dinosaur joke. He stopped me halfway through and literally told me his boyfriend wouldn’t find these funny and neither does he.


Reddit user Onid8870 learned never to ask the wrong question, even when it’s the right one that all the job-search books tell you to go for:

The interviewer seemed like she was barely paying attention. She would ask me a question then sort of stare into space until she didn’t hear my voice and then ask another question. Finally, she asked me if I have any questions for her. I asked what is a typical ‘day in the life’ of the position.

This woman went from zero to pissed off in an instant. She ranted about candidates asking about hours worked and no one has any ambition. She was red in the face and there was spittle flying. As soon as I could get a word in I explained my question (which was not about starting and end times) and she calmed down as fast as she got angry and answered my question.

I left after that and sat in my car for a few minutes trying to figure out what just happened.

Sometimes the interviewer forgets you exist:

The interviewer forgot about me and left me standing outside for 3 hours in minus 40.

And sometimes they’re a time traveling spy who already interviewed you in an alternate timeline and isn’t interested:

It seemed like a standard interview. There were a lot of questions about my current firm, which was a competitor.

The twist was, that when I got home, there was a rejection letter in my mailbox. They would have had to have sent that at least a day before…

Sometimes, it feels good to be the one who rejects them:

I was applying to be a marketing assistant. I got to the place and it was a small call centre selling solar panels by cold calling. The boss was a fat guy with his feet up on his desk and casual clothing. He laughed at me and said “I guess your degree means nothing, You’ll have to settle for this job” I told him his job advertisement was misleading, I stood up, told him to f*ck off, and walked out of the building.

I didn’t get a call back.

running from building
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But be a little concerned if you’ve bored your interviewer to sleep. Yes, even if they offer you the job:

I once had an interviewer fall asleep while I was talking. It was not one of those “I’ll just close my eyes for a second” sleeps, it was a head down, snoring sleep.

I sat there for what felt like an eternity (probably a minute) trying to decide what to do. I finally just started talking really loudly, “AND THEN I WORKED…” which snapped him awake and we carried on, both of us pretending nothing happened.

Got an offer anyway.


Here’s a nightmare scenario in which you have to answer the same questions over and over to the same exact person:

This was back before I started in IT. I was getting hired for a retail job and had three interviews….all by the same guy. The first interview, he did it because he was covering for a supervisor who had something come up. The second interview was him because he was the assistant manager who did second level interviews. The third interview was him because the store manager was out of the store that day. It was practically the same questions every time.

It is possible, though, that sometimes the bad interview is really the fault of the interviewee, as in the case of this person who prepared just a little too hard:

Had an office job interview back when I was nineteen or so. I had just left college, and this was to be my gap year. The plan was to get a job, make bank, and then transition into university and take as few loans as possible (and have fun). That didn’t work…

I prepared for the interview like nothing else. Rehearsed conversations in my head, made sure my suit was immaculate, shaved, groomed myself to perfection, and was as professional and collected as possible. The interview was going well, until the guy asked me one question: ‘what do you feel are your strengths?’

Guess what I said? I f*cking said, verbatim: ‘I… don’t know; but I can tell you about my weaknesses!’

I knew I’d f*cked up as soon as I said. The guy actually started laughing, as he knew I KNEW how much I had f*cked up.

He phoned me as I was LEAVING THE BUILDING and told me I didn’t get the job. I couldn’t f*cking believe I said what I did.

Or this guy, who didn’t realize “whimsy” isn’t actually a desirable trait in an office setting. Ever.

I had a guy bring in a paper bag, stick it on his hand, and answer all of the questions through his hand puppet. I think he thought he was projecting a desirable air of whimsy and creativity. He was mistaken.

And sometimes you do what you gotta do and you still won’t get the job because…well, check this one out yourself:

had an interview at 2 pm downtown, and i left VERY early (at 11:45am) because the public transportation system in the middle of the day is quite unreliable. what should have taken 25 minutes turned into a two hour saga of trying to make it to the interview on time.

both busses were 35+ minutes late, and by this time im panicking. i had worn shorts and brought my interview skirt in my backpack (was meeting up with friends after). finally, the second bus pulls up and i have about 15 minutes to ride the bus to my stop, get out, and run to the building.

there was no other option: i had to change on the bus, which was crowded as hell because it was so far behind schedule. i slide my skirt up over my shorts, shimmy the shorts down, maneuver into a crouched standing position to fasted my zipper on the skirt, and switch into my heels. everyone on the bus can see this happening. im very flustered, but at least ive managed to change into my professional clothes. one lady in particular is staring at me with CRAZY judgment in her eyes and i snap at her “WHAT” and hurry out the doors to run to the interview.

i’ve made it in time, and i’m relieved to learn that the hiring manager is running late due to the busses. i instantly relax until she walks in.. yup. guess who?

Is it bus lady? Seems like it’s bus lady. Anyway, these are but a few horror stories. Got any to share?

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