Top 9 Stories of Awesomely Bad Job Seekers

Every recruiter has had memorable interviewing experiences. But every now and then you get some so strange that they can only be classified as once-in-a-lifetime. Sure candidates should try to differentiate themselves from the competition, but some stand out for all the wrong reasons.

You tell yourself you didn’t see it coming–they seemed so qualified! If there’s one thing we believe in at RIVS, it’s that you can’t get to know someone from bullet-points on resume.

I’ve asked my co-workers to share some of their interviewing stories. We raise our coffee mug to you, awesomely bad job seekers.

1.  A guy I interviewed wore a t-shirt with a Nirvana logo that I could see through his white dress shirt….this was in 2008.

2. A guy went through the entire panel interview had the job lined up. While leaving, he stopped and walked back into the room where there were still people. He took off his shirt to show he had the company’s logo tattooed on his shoulder. He didn’t get the job.

3. One person, when asked if he had any questions about the role, immediately asked if he’d be making six figures.

4. I had a candidate who sweated profusely throughout the interview… and he was wearing a gray suit.

5. One candidate sat with his hands tightly in his lap for the duration of the interview. When he left, we noticed a large wet spot on the seat cushion. I didn’t sniff the seat to verify what the stain was.

6. A job-seeker with no prior sales experience told me that he was going to sell more than anyone had in the history of the company within his first six months. The company is over thirty years old.

7. Once I had a guy show up an hour early. He lied down on our couch and took a nap. The receptionist walked into my office wide-eyed saying, “your…next…visitor…just…um…laid down on our couch and is napping…what should I do?” I told her to wake him up when it was his turn. It was a very short interview and no, he did not get the job.

8. I interviewed a candidate that initially I thought was super nervous but later found out he was just weird. Our interview process was two parts: a Q&A with me and mock sales calls. He performed so bad on his mock calls that on his last attempt he said he didn’t want to do sales anymore!

9. When I was a recruiter, I sent one of my candidates on an interview. While waiting at the company’s location, he took a birdbath in the bathroom sink. Wearing no shirt, he washed his hair and sprayed water on his body. The only reason we found out is because the manager went to the bathroom minutes after my candidate and witnessed the whole thing. Can’t make this stuff up.

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About Rajpreet Heir

Rajpreet Heir is the social media manager at RIVS.  She is a Hoosier who is trying to change the name from Tweeting to Rajtweeting. When she’s not trying to put VHS tapes into her laptop or sorting floppy disks by color, she tweets from @rivscom and @rajtweet_rivs.  You can find her, well not really her, because she doesn't live in the computer, on LinkedIn.

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  1. rajtweet_rivsJune 21, 2013 at 11:52 amReply

    IvyExec Thanks so much! Glad you liked it. Do you have any funny #jobseeker stories?

  2. IndyCA35January 7, 2013 at 8:38 amReply

    An applicant pulled out a certificate to prove he was now sane (I had not asked whether he was or not).
    An applicant who had worked for us years previously said he really appreciated the company now.  Before, he said, sometimes he would go out to the parking lot at lunch, sit in his car, pull out a revolver, and contemplate suicide.
    A couple of applicants asked if they could take the application home and bring it back filled out.  We surmised this was because they could not read or write.
    None of the above were hired.

    • RajpreetJanuary 7, 2013 at 9:42 amReply

      Wow they shared waaay too much info. I’m not sure I’d know how to respond to their comments. Yeah I can’t think of any other reason someone would need to take an application home.

  3. seventhmanJanuary 4, 2013 at 6:49 amReply

    What were they thinking…?  That was the only question I have in mind.  I had interviewed a guy before on Skype; this was for a freelancing position and he was wearing pajamas.

    • RajpreetJanuary 4, 2013 at 9:23 amReply

      @seventhman That’s a gutsy move on his part. Head to toe, or was he just wearing the bottoms?

  4. RajpreetJanuary 2, 2013 at 11:16 amReply

    Allison, NO WAY. He did that during an interview? That’s not okay to do in real life, but especially not with a future employer… I mean, he can’t even blame that on being nervous.

    • allisonlbhcJanuary 2, 2013 at 1:36 pmReply

      @Rajpreet I know! It was so bad. I don’t think it was intentional… But it went on for the entire interview. He’d take his hand away for a minute or two and it would creep right back.

      • RajpreetJanuary 2, 2013 at 2:12 pmReply

        @allisonlbhc People who write “things not to do in an interview” articles don’t think to include tips about being vulgar… It’s just something people should know (I would think)

  5. RajpreetJanuary 2, 2013 at 11:14 amReply

    TDLindsay, that’s hilarious! That’s something you’d think would only happen in the movies. Were they able to get the shoe out of the cement?

    • TDLindsayJanuary 2, 2013 at 1:20 pmReply

      @Rajpreet Yes, he reached into the cement and retrieved it. To make things worse, it was a steel-toed  shoe we had provided for the tour. He had to limp back to the office, as the shoe was full of wet cement.

      • RajpreetJanuary 2, 2013 at 1:25 pmReply

        @TDLindsay There’s not much you can say to help your case at that point. Poor cinderella

  6. TDLindsayJanuary 2, 2013 at 10:58 amReply

    In a previous life, when I was a plant engineer, I gave a plant tour to a prospective engineering candidate. My job was to observe their safety practices. One candidate stepped over a yellow safety barrier, into wet cement. And when he pulled his foot out, the shoe stayed behind. No, he did not get the job.

  7. allisonlbhcJanuary 2, 2013 at 10:55 amReply

    Mine was a few weeks ago – A guy used the cord hole in the desk to make some… suggestive gestures. Awkward.

  8. Robin RayburnJanuary 2, 2013 at 10:53 amReply

    Have your own story of an awesomely bad job seeker? Share in our comments!

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