Job searching is a slog: networking, tailoring your resume, making unspeakable sacrifices to ancient gods in the hope that they’ll smile on your applications, etcetera. After a while, the search starts to feel like you’re in some horrible, distorted fun house world where it actually makes sense to ask for six years of experience in an entry-level position.
By the time people get to the interview stage, they’re so grateful that they usually try their best to make sure nothing goes wrong in the interview. Except for these people, who were in interviews so unbelievably bad that they couldn’t stick it out for another minute.
From Scientology to sexual harassment, from Bigfoot to burgers, here are 25 stories of how seemingly-promising job interviews went completely off the rails.
1. “The interview started an hour late, and the lady was extremely rude. Her first question was “If you were a Mcdonald’s Hamburger, what would you be and why?” Annoyed, I replied that I didn’t know what kind of burger I would be, but that it would definitely be to-go. And then I got up and left.” (Jonmoj)
2. “I actually had my life insurance license, but they STILL wanted to charge me 200+ dollars for their “training” and insisted it was different. So I pulled my cell phone out, called another office that offered me a job the previous day, and accepted the offer in front of the entire group interview. The con artist running the thing was seething.” (anuncommontruth)
3. “I had an interview with the owner of a design company. During the interview, the design director walked into the conference room, took one look at me and said, “we do not hire old people”. I left. Wish I had recorded the interview, I would own the company now.” (barrynau66)
4. “They lied to me about what I was interviewing for. I was told it was for a technician trainee position, but it was really for an unpaid internship that had 12 hour days and a mandatory 6 month period before I could move on to a paid job (which would have started out at $11/hr). When I told the interviewer that it wasn’t worth my time, he got all mad and said, “Son, you have to show your worth first.” (deleted)
5. “The interviewer asked me if I believed in Bigfoot. At first, I thought it was a fluke but then the next interviewer to enter the room also asked me about Bigfoot. I left when they seemed concerned that I gave “lack of scientific evidence” as a reason not to believe.” (angrylollipop)
6. “It was for a political job. The guy gave me a salary range the evening before. When I came in for the offer, he said that they could only pay 40% of what he told me sixteen hours prior.” (KingGreqo)
7. “One of the first things the interviewer asked me was, “Are you deciding to have any kids soon? We’d rather not hire you, then have to fire you when you’re knocked up”. His exact words. I was 15 at the time.”
8. “I get to the place and the interview is mostly the CEO yapping about how great he is and how this company is fantastic. He takes me on a tour of the office and I notice everyone looks depressed and miserable. I shake it off and start asking questions about the position and the work to be done. He takes me to meet the guy I would be replacing to get answers. I get my answers and then ask the guy “Why are you leaving the company?” he replies “I’m not legally allowed to say anything”. Yikes!” (Konstantine)
9. “I walked out of an interview before it began once. The interview was scheduled for 10 am. I showed up about ten minutes early, signed in… and waited. and waited. and waited. 45 minutes later I got up, asked the receptionist (who looked seriously embarrassed) to let my interviewer know I was no longer interested and left. Two hours later, I got a rude call asking if I had forgotten the appointment. I laughed and hung up.” (DataDemon)
10. “I had an interview for a receptionist position at one of those “celebrity” school of dance studios. The interviewer greeted me and gave me a form to fill out while he took a call in the back room. That little voice was telling me to get out of there, but I ignored it. When he came back, he asked me to dance with him, as he needed to see if I could dance with prospective students. I did and he grabbed my butt. I tore up my application & stormed out of there. Always listen to the voice.” (PinkDiva)
11. “I went into the interview with my prospective supervisor. I looked around the office and noticed that the garbage cans were full, the walls and carpet dirty and the supervisor’s desk was old and had chips out of it. So I mentioned that the company didn’t seem to be doing any basic upkeep and then asked point blank “Is this a good company to work for?”. She replied no and hung her head. I said “thanks” and walked out.” (blanchae)
12. “I accidentally walked out on an interview once. I had spent about 20 minutes talking to the managers when some guy came up to them and started chatting to them, ignoring me completely. I sat there for maybe 5-10 minutes, wondering if the interview was over. I interrupted, shook one of the interviewer’s hands and said thanks, and exited the premises. When I crossed the road to my car, one of the interviewers chased me across the road and offered me the position (it turns out the guy interrupting the interview was one of the owners of the venue). I sometimes wonder how I get through life considering how socially inept I can be.” (Oppodeldoc)
13. “I was told about 40 minutes into an interview that the job I was interviewing for was going to be a 11pm-6am position. This had never been mentioned in the original job posting, or in the preliminary call prior to the interview. They also set it so that I’d be working hours just barely under the limit to qualify as a full-time employee with benefits. Again, none of this was ever mentioned up to this point. The last straw was that they gave me a 30-minute test to prove I could work on a deadline, based on the actual materials I’d be working with- chicken scratch post-it notes, unintelligible audio-recordings, and other horrible sources I had to base my designs on. I walked out of the test about five minutes in. (deleted)
14. “I didn’t have a car, so I called a cab to take me to the address. I was still relatively new to the city, and the cab took me very, very far out; like a half-hour drive. Eventually, the cab pulled over in front of a bland, suburban house. Even the driver was suspicious. When I found the back entrance, I was greeted by two middle-aged, balding white men, in a basement rec room that had been converted into an office. “Hi … I’m here for the interview?” One of the men got up. “Yes, yes. That’s fine. We just need you to fill out a questionnaire. It should take 30 minutes.” I looked to my left. A poster of L. Ron Hubbard hung on the wall, surrounded by a glowing rainbow of swirling colors and energy beams.”Sure,” I said. “I just have to let the cab driver know he can leave.” I walked out the door, picked a random direction, and walked for forty-minutes along the road until I found a bus stop.” (talentpun)
15. “I applied for a position as a manager of a restaurant. At the time I was already a General Manager at another restaurant, with years of management experience. When the interviewer showed up, 45 minutes late, he mumbled something about, “[expletive] servers.” He ranted to me about a server who didn’t want to pick up a night shift, used a bunch of derogatory terms for women, and insulted the rest of his staff. He then told me that while I applied to a manager position, they actually didn’t have one and that I could serve tables until a position became available. I asked when that might be, and he said maybe 6-8 months. In front of staff and customers, I told him how he’d wasted my time and how he should never talk about his staff like that. Eight months later, the restaurant closed.” (boardmonkey)
16. “Them: “We have a very dedicated team, we often stay after normal office hours, is that ok with you?”
Me: “Sure, I mean I’m single without kids, so if it’s adequately compensated I’m happy to do as much overtime as necessary, no problem.”
Them: “Oh no no, we’re passionate about the work we do here, so overtime is not paid.”
Me: “Okay then, thank you for your time and goodbye.” (g253)
17. “I had an interview at Cold Stone Creamery. They made us break into groups where we had to create and sing a catchy tip song. I really needed a job, so I decided to try and stick it out. After the songs, they interviewed us one-on-one and asked us what we thought the weaknesses of our group members were. I told them that I really didn’t want to get a job by bad-mouthing someone else. As I got up to leave, they asked me if I wanted to hear what some of my group members had said about me.” (deleted)
18. “I was being interviewed for a babysitting job. All of a sudden, she handed me a sheet of chores including making dinner and being a waitress for the parents, cleaning the chimney and gutters, washing, folding and putting away laundry, cleaning toilets and vacuuming the rooms. She then said that the kid would be in daycare so I’d have plenty of privacy. I just left.” (youarekindagorgeous)
19. “I was asked if I lived “a Christian lifestyle”. I replied, “If by a Christian lifestyle you mean going to church every Sunday and reading the bible often, then no. However, if you’re asking whether I follow the laws of this country, which were based on the Christian values brought here by New Zealand’s first settlers, then yes.” They told me that they didn’t appreciate their values being joked about, and I told them where they could stick their values, and walked.” (pointloader)
20. “I talked to a guy over the phone about a general labor job, he told me to be at his shop at 6:30. He said he was very strict about time, so I was there at 6:15 just to be sure. Get there the following day, and he screamed at me for not being there at 6:00. I tried to be polite and say I must have misheard even though I’ve never been so sure about something someone has said, but he insisted I was wrong. Can’t help but feel I’m better off not having him as an employer.” (GoodLordBelow)
21. “19-year-old me shows up for a “shift interview” as an administrative assistant at this “business,” which ends up being a residence. The “manager” a 35-year-old man, answers the door in shorts and a t-shirt. He ushers me into his empty house and into the office in his basement, which is a single desk. He explains that the other two employees are off today and asks me to do some filing, then goes outside to talk on the phone.Finally, at lunchtime, he says he prefers if I bring lunch and eat there. I tell him I had planned on picking something up for lunch, so he offers me food from his fridge so I don’t have to go out. I politely decline, grab my purse, and get out of there.” (mrsp71)
22. “I was applying for a job at a Montessori school, and I walked in and say down with the owner. She started by explaining why the position was open; the lead preschool teacher for the last ten years was recently let go because the owner’s daughter just finished her Montessori training and the owner wanted to promote her. Apparently, the owner told the previous teacher that she could work part-time as the daughter’s assistant (with a huge pay-cut), but she preferred to leave. The owner then started going on and on about her personal pet peeves, and she hadn’t let me speak at all.
I politely pardon myself for interrupting her and say, “I’m sorry, can I just ask, what are the hours for this position…?” To which she responds: “CAN I JUST FINISH?! LET ME JUST FINISH WHAT I WAS SAYING!” and then she delves into another 30 minutes. I left after that, regretting nothing.” (wilechile)
23. “When I had an interview in a bar for a part-time student job, I would always come in an hour or so early, sit down, have lunch or a couple of coffees and just taste the atmosphere. One time while I was “scouting” the place, a girl dropped a tray of drinks, breaking some glasses and wasting the drinks. No big deal, things like this happens. A guy who was working with her started yelling at her, in front of the guests. I got up, paid for my coffees and asked to see the guy I had the interview with, which turned out to be the yelling guy. Told him thank you and goodbye.” (Alwin_)
24. “As a cook, I’ve been through many interview processes I wanted to leave. The only time I actually did was when I interviewed at a one-man restaurant. During the interview, a customer came in, and he served them, which was fair enough. But when he finished, he asked me to go into the kitchen and wash some dishes while he leaves. I washed a sink-full of dishes before I left.” (Torquesthekron)