Just the job? When interviews go wrong!

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The BBC has a fascinating article today, titled “Just the job? When interviews go wrong!”  featuring some of the worst interviewing experiences that people have had.

These include Katherine Irvine, recruitment consultant:

She was then asked: “What do you think? Do you think you’re too old?”

Kevin Helton, ex army:

The interviewer asked, ‘You used to be in the Army, how many people have you killed?’

Jo Foat:

The interviewer brought out a large straw hat.

“Put this hat over your face and tell me why I should give you a job,” he said.

“Why do you want me to do that?” she said.

He replied: “In my experience, pretty girls like you rely too much on their looks.”

The BBC article lists the questions that you should never be asked during an interview and offers suggestions on how to push back if they crop up.

Well worth a read!


You’ll apply whether you like it or not

Phone call.

Recruiter: Hi, so I saw your CV on [well known recruitment site] and it looked like a perfect match for a role that [company] is trying to fill so I sent it over to their hiring team and…

Me: Wait, what? You already sent over my CV?

Recruiter: Yes and the feedback is really positive and…

Me: Hold up. You can’t just give my CV out to people without my permission! What if I’d already applied to [company] or I had reasons I’d never want to work for [company]?!

Recruiter: Sorry, we like to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.

Me: That’s incredibly inappropriate. Please rescind my application from [company] at once.

Recruiter: But they really want to interview you!

Me: I have no interest in applying for them.

Recruiter: They’re a really good company to work for.

Me: They’re an hour and 45 minutes commute away.

Recruiter: Oh. Yeah, sorry.

I just know that the recruiter will have misinformed the employer as to my reasons for rescinding my candidacy.

Memory upgrade required

I’ve had an interview and it went well. The interviewer made it clear he wanted me to progress to their final stage. After the interview I check in via text with my recruiter who had asked me to keep him in the loop.

Me: Hi [Recruiter]! Just to let you know that the interview went pretty well. They told me that they’d be getting in touch with you to arrange the next interview with me.

Recruiter: Great news! I’ll contact [Company] this afternoon and give you their feedback.

Today – voicemail.

Recruiter: Hi it’s [Recruiter]. I didn’t hear from you yesterday and I did ask you to let me know how it went. Please call me as soon as you get this.

Text message.

Recruiter: Hi – didn’t hear from you yesterday. Call me ASAP.

Me: Sorry, I thought the text message telling you about the interview was sufficient. I’ll be free to talk at lunchtime.

You can’t beat a good bit of hypocrisy

Interview. In the UK it’s standard to have long notice periods of generally at least one month.

Interviewer: Right so we only have a couple more questions at this point. How long is your notice period at your current job?

Me: Two months.

Interviewer: Two months?! Any chance you can get that down to one month?

Me: I can always ask at the point I hand in my notice, however obviously I can’t give any guarantees as it’s clearly written in my contract. What’s the notice period here, out of interest?

Interviewer: …. two months.

Still happens so often.

Note: In the UK as in many states in the US, interviewers are advised to stay away from asking any questions that may lead to an accusation of discriminatory hiring practices. This means no asking about sexual orientation, religion or politics. It is also frowned upon to ask a female about whether she has or wants kids.

Example 1 – The direct one.

Interviewer: Soooo, you have kids?

Example 2 – The pryer.

Interviewer: Do you live locally?
Me: Yes, about 20 minutes away.
Interviewer: You in one of these houseshares?
Me: No.
Interviewer: Do you have a family?
Me: Er… I live with my partner.
Interviewer: No kids?
Me: …

Example 3 – The sneaky one.

Interviewer: This job sometimes requires on call work.
Me: That’s fine.
Interviewer: It can be really unsociable hours.
Me: That’s fine.
Interviewer: It can be really hard on a family.
Me: Sure.
Interviewer: Especially if you have young children.
Me: I can imagine.
Interviewer: Or are likely to have in the near future.
Me: …

Example 4 – Bold faced cheek

Note: This was not a tech job and I was 15 years old.

Interviewer: Do you have a boyfriend?
Me: Not sure it matters but yes.
Interviewer: Are you pregnant?
Me: Er….
Interviewer: We have to know. Health and Safety.