Best clothes? Check! Took a day off? Check! Make sure we are early? Check!
As a job seeker, many of us harbour the faith and hope that we get selected for the job we are going for the interview. Most of the time, the interviews at best we made a connection and a network and at worst, the interview turned out to be boring and mandated.
Due to the popularity of these stories:
Today, I’d share with you some of the horror interview stories I have heard from friends and acquaintances.
It was a dream job at a dream company so my expectations were high even before I walked through the door for my interview. I was half an hour early but ended waiting for more than 2 hours.
Apparently, the hiring manager was delayed.
No problem. I can wait. It’s my dream job, remember.
At the end of the 2 hours wait, the receptionist told me that the interview is cancelled and they have found someone but they have forgotten to let me know.
What a waste of my time!
In the end, I did end up working for the same company but in a different department and a different role a year later.
- Daniel, Shift Planner
They have forgotten to interview me!
I was 30 minutes early so the receptionist sent me to one of their meeting rooms. It was a small room with no glass door or windows. It was 5pm in the afternoon and I was really excited about the job prospect.
After waiting for an hour, I went out of the meeting room to be greeted with darkness. It was winter so the daylight had gone by 6pm. I had to fumble around using my iPhone torchlight because I don’t know where the switches were and this is a huge company. The janitor was startled when he bumped into me and led me to the exit.
By that time, it was nearly 7pm.
The HR called me the next day (to chide me for no show apparently) and I told her what happened. She was appalled and immediately invited me back for an interview. This time I waited in the lobby instead of inside a meeting room.
The good news is that I was hired on the spot (not sure if it is because of the liability of leaving me in the company). Next, I heard the receptionist was fired because she forgot to tell HR that I was in the meeting room waiting for the interview to happen.
- Frank, Deployment Assistant Manager
The first bad sign was that they kept rescheduling my interview.
Finally, for the fourth time, the interview time is confirmed.
The second bad sign was I couldn’t find the company. I was right on the location. I had to ask around before being directed to a side door that led to a narrow, smelly and dark stairwell. Mind you, I’m interviewing for a paralegal position at a law firm.
The last bad sign was that the associate manager who interviewed me don’t even know my job scope. The interview lasted only 10 minutes and half of the time, he was silently reading my resume while I was twiddling my thumbs.
They did call me up for a second interview two weeks later but I found a better offer somewhere else.
- Geraldine, Paralegal
5 years back, I was interviewing for the position of client relations executive for a well-known firm. The HR people who did my first interview went really well. My hopes are up that I would get the job.
My second interview is with my direct manager and his assistant manager. Straight up, I was asked sexist questions like if I am going to get married in 5 years time, am I thinking of having children and can I work overtime during the Thanksgiving / Christmas period.
Then the direct manager begins to give me tips on how I should dress when I go see my clients, that I should wear skirts (above the knees) and not pantsuits. He also started to compliment my hair and I should let it down instead of tying it up (I mostly wear my hair in a bun). I can tell the assistant manager was getting uncomfortable and tried several times to redirect his questioning.
The interview ended with me asking both of them never to call me even if I do get the job. Seriously?!
- Alisha, Client Relationship Manager
The moment I walked into the interview room I knew I wasn’t going to get hired.
I had a non-gender-specific name that can be mistaken for a guy’s name. In addition to that, I had a low voice so if you heard me on the phone, you can be forgiven that you thought I was a man.
When I was at the reception, the HR who greeted me couldn’t hide her surprise. I get that a lot so I’m pretty used to it. But when I walked into the interview room, there were 4 other guys who were doing the same interview as me.
When I was called out to go into the meeting room, the hiring managers couldn’t stop gaping at me. I had the relevant qualifications and years of experience so I am confident that I will fit right in the job. But you can feel the animosity vibe in the meeting room as they glanced at each other.
I felt I had just intruded their exclusive boys’ club. I couldn’t run fast enough away from the company.
- Kris, Aerospace Engineer
I met with my recruiter at her office for a potential job in one of the Fortune 500 companies. It was a dream role that I wanted so badly and she is supposed to prep me for the actual interview.
The problem is that she forgot our interview appointment and I had waited for her for an hour before she could free herself.
Next, she forgot the role that I am applying for, she forgot my employment history and worst, she doesn’t recall my name! I was desperate enough for the dream job so I kept my mouth shut and just go along with the flow.
After a week, she called me to say she scheduled an interview at my future company, only for me to turn up with the dates and time all gone wrong.
I didn’t get the job because I missed the interview by a day. They had chosen someone else.
- Jackson, Line Manager
I was shuffled into a tiny airless storeroom at the back of a huge retail store to wait for my interview. I was sweating so bad that I feel my underarms are getting wet patches.
My manager had to squeeze into the small space and angle his body in a weird position to fit both of us inside.
The interview lasted only 30 minutes, not counting the endless time where one of the staff would accidentally barge into the storeroom to get something.
In the end, I did get the job and we still do interviews inside that storeroom until this day.
- Samuel, Visual Designer
The worst interview I ever had was with this media agency.
I was right in the middle of giving my answer when the hiring manager was called away in an emergency so someone else was called to replace him.
This “someone” has no idea who I am, what position I am applying for and sure is more uncomfortable than I am. I was furious because it wasting my time. I had actually turned down two job offers in lieu of this interview because the role sounds promising. I ended up giving that “someone” a piece of my mind after enduring yet another senseless question on his part.
Only much later I discovered through a mutual friend who worked there that the hiring manager always did the “disappearing act” whenever he thinks the candidate is unsuitable for the job and instead of rejecting the candidate, he will haul some junior to complete the entire interview.
- Benjamin, Co-editor
From the moment I sat down to the moment I left the office, I was criticised negatively.
Dressing: I was wearing a full skirt suit with a white blouse and sensible low black heels but the HR commented that I am dressed too conservatively for the work culture.
Qualifications: The HR said she didn’t believe I graduated on top of my class at university. I produced my certificate and my transcript. She kept quiet but didn’t apologise.
She then proceeds to scrutinise every work experiences I had (7 jobs in 12 years) and spend every moment she had belittling my ex-companies with industry hearsay. She asked questions like benefits in my ex-companies and whether my famous ex-CEO is what the rumours are etc.
By the time the interview is completed, it was 2 hours and I was exhausted. She wanted to move me on to do an interview with the hiring manager but he had already left for the day so I had to take another day off from work to come back the next day for the second round of interview.
- Emily, Personal Secretary
I was scheduled to be interviewed in front of a panel of 5 interviewers for a management position. I was really excited about the position but I’m confident that I was the perfect fit.
I was ushered into a huge meeting room after waiting for 10 minutes. But once I’m in the room, the 5 interviewers proceed to ignore me. Some were having conversations among themselves and 1 was busy typing on his laptop.
Nobody bothered to greet me or ask me any interview questions. I stood up to leave after 10 minutes of ignorance and one interviewer had the cheek to thank me for my time and asked me to close the door behind me!
Only much later I found out from a friend who works there that the position I applied for was given to someone within the company however, they have to “interview” at least 10 people to prove equal opportunities protocols.
- Wilson, Compensation Senior Manager
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