Looking for a job has to be one of the most stressful things on the planet. First, there’s lengthy application process. Then, the wait for a call back, and if you’re lucky, the dreaded interview.
Some people can sail through an interview, building instant rapport with their potential boss and thus paving a way to their next promotion before they’ve even been hired. For others, it’s an excruciating mess of awkward questions and sweaty handshakes.
Depending on the style of the interviewer, questions can run from ‘How are you today?’, to ‘Can you please describe in approximately 200 words how you could streamline the accounts process to maximize efficiency?’. Despite how well prepared you are, there are still a few questions than can catch you completely off guard – and some questions that we pray won’t come up, so we don’t have to answer honestly about the reason we left our last job.
What happens when you’re left with no choice but to provide an answer that is completely underwhelming and fist-clenchingly embarrassing? My guess is, you slink out of the office in shame and avoid walking down that street forevermore. On the plus side, those on the outside of it can laugh.
With that in mind, I’ve scoured the internet to find you The 15 Most Humiliating Answers Given During Job Interviews. Enjoy!
15. I’M LIKE, REALLY QUALIFIED
“I was conducting interviews for a photographer position. I asked the interviewee about her experience with cameras, and she told me that everyone in her generation were experienced with cameras/photographers because of their phones.”
Wait, Snapchat experience isn’t considered valuable? I’m really well practised in the art of Instagram filters too. WHAT DO YOU MEAN THAT ISN’T A SKILL? Who knew you needed actual qualifications to be a photographer. It’s just point and shoot, right? What do you mean it’s an art? Have you not seen my Facebook profile?! That’s art. Brb, I need to do some serious resume editing, immediately.
14. I’M FRIENDLY AND APPROACHABLE
“I was interviewing a candidate for an IT manager-type of position. He told me that he had been fired from his last position. Before I could inquire as to the reason, the candidate added, ‘Funny thing is, the same day my boss fired me was the same day he decided that he needed a punch in the face.’”
There are a few sure fire ways to not get a job. One, go into the interview wearing a turkey hat and singing the hits from Evita. Two, let your potential boss know that you were fired for aggravated assault on your previous employer, and it was all his fault. Boom! Congratulations. How to lose a job before you’ve even got it 101.
13. THERE’S NOT ENOUGH FINGERS
“They asked me what 8×5 was. I counted on my hands and still said 32. Needless to say I didn’t get that job.”
Basic Maths and English skills are usually required to do the majority of jobs out there. Regardless of if you’re counting burger patties in the stock room at Micky D’s or crunching the numbers at a desk with a scientific calculator, it’s a pretty standard thing. When you fail at doing the simplest of the times tables, that’s when you hang your head in shame, walk out of that office and seriously re-evaluate your readiness for adulting – before contacting your local college and taking some night classes in Math.
“I was interviewing for a position at Facebook my senior year of college and the interviewer asked me what I was passionate about. I was so nervous I just shouted “CATS!” and made the interviewer jump because I literally shouted. He looked at me, nodded, and asked me to explain why. So I explained why I love cats and about how they are just misunderstood for the next five minutes.”
The most brilliant thing about this? Cats are misunderstood. Behind that steely exterior and IDGAF attitude, there is a heart of purring gold. Anyway. Regardless of your own personal feelings towards the (clearly superior) animal, it’s probably best to avoid blurting ‘CATS!’ randomly in an interview. It’s probably not the ‘I’m passionate about time keeping!’ answer they were looking for. Me-ouch.
11. I MAY BE BAD, BUT I’M PERFECTLY GOOD AT IT
“When asked what I thought my weaknesses were, I replied by saying, ‘It’s funny, because when you ask for a weakness you’re still supposed to try and use it at as a strength… it’s kind of like that Rihanna song where she says, ‘I may be bad but I’m perfectly good at it.” I was met with a dead stare and a large cloud of awkwardness growing between us.”
Who doesn’t dig a pop-culture reference slipped in to an interview? The trick to this one is knowing your audience, and it looks like this candidate got a tough crowd. Tough luck, but on the bright side, you don’t have to go to work, work, work, work, work, work…
10. THEY’LL NEVER KNOW
“I had a video interview for a very large company. The computer would ask a question and record your answer to send to management. You had 30 seconds, no more no less, to answer the question. For one question, I ran out of things to talk about so I decided to stand really still and not blink for 15 seconds to make it look like the video froze…That’s probably the reason why I didn’t get the job.”
9. I PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO DETAIL
“We ask prospective job applicants at our business to fill out a questionnaire. For the line ‘Choose one word to summarize your strongest professional attribute,’ one woman wrote, ‘I’m very good at following instructions.’”
I’m going to go ahead and put this one down to candidate nerves. This poor potential is probably somewhere hitting herself over the head with a clipboard for making this gargantuan error. There are fewer things worse than getting a question this wrong, when it’s printed in black and white in front you. This questionnaire probably got filed in the waste paper basket, never to be seen again.
8. I’M A PEOPLE PERSON, HONEST
“An individual applied for a customer-service job, and when asked what he might not like about the job, he said, ‘Dealing with people.’”
Whilst I’m 99.9% sure that this is the most honest answer anyone could ever give, (let’s face it, customer service is a battlefield), this candidate has clearly forgotten the number one rule in job hunting. LIE. EMBELLISH. FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT. Is anyone really passionate about problem solving? Does anyone wake up in the morning, and think ‘By golly gosh, I can’t wait to get out of bed and do some problem solving all the live-long day’? That kind of enthusiasm doesn’t exist, but you have to pretend it does. At least until you get the job, then you can slyly slack off under the radar like the rest of the staff.
7. KILLING IT
“I was interviewing someone for a biology teaching position at a middle school. Me: ‘And can you give an example of the last time you applied your lab skills outside of your classroom?’ Applicant: ‘I have many opportunities to do dissections.’ Me: ‘That’s great, is that over at the university?’ Applicant: ‘No, I live by some woods and animals are always wandering into my yard. If you have a scalpel I can show you.’ He then opened his backpack to reveal about half a dozen lizards and frogs, and one completely dead rodent.”
6. MARY DOES WHAT MARY WANTS
“I interviewed this lady once for a customer service specialist type position. She referred to herself in the third person throughout the entire interview. Example: ‘Tell me about a potentially volatile interaction where you needed to remain calm and professional.’ To which she responded: ‘Well at XYZ doctor’s office, this lady came in and said she was upset about her bill, so Mary just told her to calm down and that Mary would help her figure it out.’”
5. WE HAVE A ZERO TOLERANCE DRUG POLICY
“This was a person applying for a chemist job at a state-run crime lab. Interviewer: ‘When was the last time you purchased, possessed, or consumed illegal drugs?’ Applicant: ‘Uhhh, (looks at watch). Like what time today?’”
Really, you have to admire the ingenuity here. What better way to fly under the radar of the law than to get inside the law? Then, you are the law. Undetectable, a fly on the wall free to roam around consuming drugs at any time of the damn day without anyone blinking an eye. The only job more suited to this candidate might be that of evil genius.
4. WHAT WEAKNESSES?
“I asked a guy what his greatest weakness was. His face looked like he was concentrating really hard, and then he said, ‘Is that a trick question? I hear you guys do that to weed people out.’ I tell him no, and he continues thinking … only to tell me that ‘I don’t think I have any weaknesses.’ I still encourage him to come up with one, just because at this point I want to just see what he says … and he tells me, ‘OH! Being on time!’”
In fairness, it is a trick question isn’t it? Everyone and their dog knows that this is the time to show how introspective and aware of your own skill set you are, whilst displaying your willingness to change. But, you know what? Kudos to this guy for not jumping through the hoops and making his own rules. He probably wouldn’t have made it through the hoop, anyway.
3. HAVE YOU DONE MUCH RESEARCH FOR THE ROLE?
“I worked at a company that did one thing; we made a very specialized kind of device. For the sake of anonymity, I’ll call these devices ‘Widgets.’ One time we were interviewing a guy, and I asked him ‘What do you think of Widgets?’ Him: ‘Oh, those are a fad. They’re actually pretty useless.’”
Why bother trying to make a good impression when you can just go ahead and trash everything the company is about? Maybe it’s just the kind of reverse psychology they are looking for the Head of Marketing position. It’s edgy. It’s modern. It’s also resoundingly stupid and won’t get you the job.
2. I ENJOY PLAYING WITH CHILDREN
“We interviewed a student for a part-time job, and he struggled a bit with the English language as a foreign Indian student. When asked what his hobbies were, he said ‘children.’ We asked for him to elaborate on his response, and he said he liked to play with children because it made him happy. Then we asked for a few words his friends would use to describe him. He said ‘stupid.’ I could feel the heat on my boss’s face as she tried to not burst out laughing. We decided not to hire him when he crashed one of our vehicles during a test drive.”
Someone call Lemony Snicket, because this is an unfortunate series of events. I’m not sure about you, but my heart goes out to this poor soul. All interview preparation clearly went out the passenger side window, along with his confidence and dignity.
“I asked a teenager what some of his weaknesses were, and he replied, ‘Fire.’”
The dreaded weaknesses question strikes again! That’s a hat trick. Is this the most awkward interview question of all time? I think so. Rendering many candidates speechless, this is the sucker punch question that puts everyone on edge. Who can blame this kid for not knowing how to properly answer this question? I’m pretty sure that when I was a teenager, I would’ve responded to the same question with, ‘Doritos.’ The perfect answer to the weaknesses question is a rite of passage, a never-ending journey of discovery – it’s not over yet.
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