I’m just going to say it, job interviews can be the worst. Everyone focuses on trying to impress the interviewer, but it’s a two-way street in which potential employers are also meant to be impressing you to see if it’s a fit.
In my experience, interviews really seem to go wrong when a company acts like it’s a gift from God, or when their role description is so vague and/or misleading that you actually have no idea what you’ll be walking into. Then there are times when the interviewer has other intentions and is using their position to do so.
Here are a few to prove my point, from odd to downright disgusting – and yes some names have been changed.
When I was going for my first full-time position, I applied for an entry-level job which was advertised on Seek as a marketing position or something like that.
I turned up and the interview seemed normal enough. They were happy with me so they asked if I wanted to hang around and see what the work was like. Next minute I’m following some bloke around Bondi while he does door-to-door sales. It was the worst. Needless to say, I politely declined the offer to start on Monday.
When I was in uni I went for a job interview at a major cinema franchise. They tried to make the whole thing like a red carpet event with an event hall full of candidates and lots of random cheering from the organisers.
The first part of a WHOLE DAY of interview activities was the organisers talking to us as a group and encouraging people to stand up and talk about the most impulsive thing they’d ever done, which culminated in a girl being encouraged to jump on stage to strip off her top and show off her new tatt. I left shortly after.
For my first ever full-time job, the interview was at a pub and the two people who were interviewing me offered me a drink and I said no. The interview went on for about 15-minutes and then they are like “okay do you want a drink now?” They were already on their third beer.
I still said no and the hiring manager was like “If I tell you you’ve got the job will you have a beer?” so I said yes, anyway we stayed out until midnight and I started working with them the next week.
A few years back I went for an engineering job fresh out of uni. I was asked where the stress on a cantilever beam (which is basically engineer talk for a beam that sticks out of a wall) would be and I didn’t know the answer. The interviewer made me stand up with my arm outstretched while he left the room for 10 minutes.
When he came back he asked me where it hurt the most and boom, I had the answer to his question. It was weird but it also never forgot the lesson.
In my last position, I was hired by the Business Manager without meeting the MD who was travelling at the time. When the MD returned, I had my “job interview” two weeks after I’d already started in the role – which was pretty weird in itself.
I was told the MD would see me in his office, so I went in and sat on one of the three couches in there. He then told by him that the one I had chosen was HIS couch, and I was to sit in the one opposite.
He spent the first five-minutes staring at my chest while big-noting himself, sitting with his legs apart and crotch prominently on display, taking no interest in my past experience or asking how I’d been finding the role. He then noticed my tattoos.
I was wearing a long-sleeved blouse that had ridden up my forearm a little. He commented “Oh dude, I love tatts” and reached for my forearm across the coffee table whilst making very suggestive eye contact. When his hand landed on my forearm and started to slide up towards my elbow, I instantly pulled my arm away and looked him dead in the eye and said: “Don’t ever touch me.”
He pulled away and finished up the “interview” pretty quick. He never touched me again, but I’d hate to think how it would have ended if I hadn’t been so forceful.
They asked me to do a fake sales pitch – for a clitoral vibrator. Also, we had a vibrator race across the floor of the store. That was a fun icebreaker. To be fair I was interviewing to work at an adult store but look, it was a strange time. And yes, I got the job.
I went for a job and had to have five interviews total – one with the boss, one with two of my potential future colleagues, one with the UK HR guy, one with someone from the LA office… and another weird one with the boss that occurred a day after the first interview with him.
He emailed me and said, “Did you want to catch up for a drink to talk more about the role and prepare you for the other interviews?” I didn’t really want to, but I wanted the job, so I met the guy after work. I just had a lemonade but he had two whiskeys and food. We didn’t talk that much about the role, more about some of the staff (not all positive things either) who I’d potentially be managing.
It felt a bit weird, especially because he was married with kids and there was a very casual date-like vibe to it. After all that, I got ghosted by the company for two weeks and followed up twice before he casually replied: “Oh sorry, we hired internally.” Weirdest experience I’ve ever had.