Job Interview Horror Stories

It came from behind the interviewer's desk.

ByABC News
September 9, 2008, 6:15 PM

Oct. 29, 2009 — -- Thanks to ever-shrinking budgets, exponentially expanding workloads and a dizzying assortment of seasonal flu strains, the office is a scary place to be these days.

But job seekers making the interview rounds have their own horrors -- and I don't mean hoping they land an offer before their unemployment checks run out.

Although most HR folks and hiring managers know how to conduct themselves in a professional manner, you don't have to dig too deep to unearth those eerie tales of interviewers behaving badly.

Some hiring managers yell, beat their chests and berate their candidates for no apparent reason. Others show up stumbling drunk or otherwise in need of 30 days at The Betty Ford Clinic. Still others confuse the office with their private powder room and do things they probably wouldn't even do in front of their spouse.

Herewith are some of the creepiest interviewer phenomena candidates recently shared with me:

A number of readers e-mailed me spooky tales of hiring managers who seemed perfectly polished during the initial interview or phone screen only to later morph into a seething, fire-breathing demon without warning.

Debra Yergen from Yakima, Wash., can attest to that.

After three interviews for a technical writing position with a small manufacturing firm, Yergen received a job offer, she said. Because she'd have to relocate across the state, she asked for a few days to mull it over.

In the interim, Yergen said, the hiring manager, who'd been nothing but charming during the string of interviews, left her an unsettling phone message, "yelling and ranting at me about the fact that I needed to call him and accept the job immediately."

"About an hour later," Yergen continued, "he called and left me another voice mail literally begging me to take the job, like a kid would beg his parents for keys to the family car. All this inappropriate emotion was a huge red flag to me, considering that I hadn't even accepted the position, let alone made a mistake in it."

Not surprisingly, Yergen turned down the job.