Job Interview Horror Stories

In an exit interview at the end of a summer internship, Annabel, a communications professional from the Midwest who didn't want her real name used, said she witnessed a fright show she's not likely to forget.

Annabel said she showed up to the meeting ready to ask for a letter of recommendation and discuss future employment opportunities at the PR firm. Her superior, on the other hand, seemed to think he was at a pedicure appointment.

"During the meeting, he removed his socks and cleaned and clipped his toenails with his feet up on his desk," Annabel said. "I thought I was going to pass out. He even said, 'Sorry about this, but I have these blasted corns.'"

On the up side, Annabel said, "He did give me a fantastic letter of recommendation."

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hiccup

There are those interviewers who think they're living in a "Mad Men" episode or a scene from "Scarface."

In her former life in the women's apparel industry, Nancy Fox said she interviewed with the president of a midsize company who arrived "totally smashed."

After weaving his way to his chair, "he tells me about how terrific the person I would be replacing is," said Fox, who's now a business development consultant in New York. "His eyes are closing and he's slurring his words. And as he's telling me this, he leans back in his chair and falls over backwards. It took all I had to not run screaming out of the room."

After the interview, Fox said, the exec's assistant explained that the product manager Fox would be replacing had been with the company a decade and that Fox's interviewer was distraught about her resignation and had "unwisely gotten drunk at their farewell lunch," but, "was really a good guy."

Fox's industry contacts also vouched for the guy, and she wound up accepting the position.

Margrit, a Los Angeles fashion designer who didn't want her real name used, wasn't as forgiving when an interviewer she agreed to meet at a Starbucks arrived under the influence.

"He was late and kind of stressed out," said Margrit, who'd already checked with her industry contacts to ensure the guy was on the up and up. "It was apparent from the moment he sat down that he was definitely wasted or jonesing for something. He was shaking."

After 10 minutes of "fairly normal conversation" with the guy, things turned weird, she said.

"He gets a real serious look in his eye and asks me, 'Are you a Christian? Because my whole company is born again, and we have to have someone who is Christian. We still party, but we're Christians,'" Margrit said.

"He then went on to talk about a million other things that didn't even string together into cohesive statements," Margrit added. "And then he left me sitting there so that he could go to his car and get a cigarette."

When the guy returned, "still shaking," Margrit said, he offered her the job.

Between "The shakiness, the stopping mid-interview to grab a cigarette, the sentences that were all over the place," Margrit said, "it just seemed way too risky to take a chance with this guy -- as much as I want a job."

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Michelle Goodman is a freelance journalist, author and former cubicle dweller. Her books -- "My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube" -- offer an irreverent take on the traditional career guide. More tips on career change, flex work and the freelance life can be found on her blog, Anti9to5Guide.com.

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