Stupid things you've said/done on job interviews

I just interviewed for a position as a communications director at a Jewish organization. I was asked what kind of editor/proofreader I am.

I said I was obsessive, extremely detailed oriented…and it pains me to say it…I said I was somewhat of a grammar nazi.
:smack: :smack: :smack: :smack: :smack: :smack: :smack: :smack:
Probably isn’t a good idea to refer to yourself as a nazi in any capacity during a job interview, especially one at a Jewish organization.
I blame the cold medicine. Yeah, that’s it.

I did a phone interview yesterday (preliminary screening to see who they’re going to bring in); this is for a job at Princeton. Yeah, that Princeton.

About the third time I said “Gotcha,” I did start wondering who the hell I was channeling, because I really am not a “gotcha” kind of gal.

I’m not expecting to make the short list on this one.

At end of the interview when we were both standing, the interviewer and I shook hands, and I was about so say “Thanks,” but decided in midstream to change it to “Thank you.” What came out was “Thanks you.”

Not a big deal, but, no, I didn’t get the job.

I once had an early morning phone screen that I blundered the way I’ve never blundered before. I remember one of the questions was “what kind of work environment do you like to work in?” and I confidently proclaimed “I like environments. Work. You know, things to do. Places. I like to go to work. Like, where there is work to do. Work environments.”

For some reason they never called me back.

In one of my first job interviews when I was young and didn’t know there were such things as “standard questions” and “standard answers” I went blindly into the interview with the strategy of “just answer everything as honestly as possible”.
One of the questions was “Describe your ideal job” in which the correct response is to tell them about how challenging it should be, how it should help you develop and hone your skills, how you should feel a sense of teamwork and accomplishment, blah, blah, blah.
Of course my answer was “One where you make a lot of money and do very little work.”


I’ve got to use that in my next interview. :slight_smile:

I once went to a job interview for a factory-based job and the interviewer wore a Kukuxumusu tee and jeans. Specifically, it was a tee where ladybugs walk around on a cammo background. For completeness’ sake, let me explain that in Spanish, “ladybug” means gay - no, Kukuxumusu doesn’t believe in political correctness. This woman didn’t work for the factory, it was at one of those consulting firms; this usually means that the interviewer doesn’t really understand the job’s requirements.

At one point she asked me what kind of clothes would I like to wear to work. I answered “basically jeans and a T-shirt; one of the things I llike about factory-based jobs is that you don’t have to spend half your salary in clothes.” She said that didn’t sound very professional. Before my brain was able to find the brakes, my mouth replied “I’m sorry, I know lots of people who wouldn’t find your own clothes professional, but I don’t see anything wrong with being able to wear the clothes you happen to like.”

No, she didn’t call me back. But my brain still agrees with my mouth, it’s only that my brain was paying attention during “politeness” classes and my mouth wasn’t.

Thats hilarious. I actually read it is a good tactic to be honest instead of saying what the interviewer wants to hear as that makes you stand out.

It wasn’t anything I said, but I did show up an hour and a half late to an interview.

I got the job.

Fell asleep.


Not stupid per se, but recently I had a quickie phone interview after a 12 hour work day. For reference, I was on the phone in my car in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant and it was 7:30 pm. The interviewer asked me what I currently made and I was totally honest :smack:

Now normally I wouldn’t think this was a :smack: -worthy offense, but the friend who referred me told me that if I hadn’t told them the truth I likely would have been offered about $12,000 more. Not that I’m really complaining, as I still got a 25% raise, but dammit I wish I’d lied.

Never never never answer this question with a number. The first person to name a number loses. In the future, say something along the lines of, “I make good money/decent salary/a fair amount but I understand with a different job comes different skill sets with a different salary range. What is the salary you’re offering?”


And of course, see if you can work in the word “different” a few more times.

Heh. My favourite one was for a really crappy warehouse “picking” job. I walked into the place and just got a complete “We will crush your soul” vibe from it.

But I was there, and filled out the application kind of whimsically – without any thought for trying to represent myself as a desirable employee.

Under “Hobbies,” I filled out:

That’s it.

I got a callback the next day, and when I went in, that was the first thing the interviewer asked me about. Absolutely no stress coming from me, because I still had a couple of months of severance pay coming to me from my last job. So I said:

“Repetitive tasks are great because you can just let your body do them without even thinking about it. I don’t really want to spend a lot of mental energy concentrating on the task at hand. I like a job that I can do on autopilot – that way I can spend time thinking about things I enjoy – you know, working on logic problems and riddles, thinking about poetry, deconstructing the film I watched the night before. That kind of stuff.”

They gave me the job. (I quit about three months later. It was mind-numbingly, back-breakingly repetitive. Apparantly I lasted about as long as is average.)

I was once asked by an interviewer (for a federal job) my opinion on the view the general public has of governent employees. I answered that it seemed to me most people thought federal employees were well paid but didn’t do very much. The interviewer laughed out loud and told me I was the first person who had given him an honest answer. I was later offered the job.
Oh, and having been a federal employee for the last fifteen years (different job) let me add that I get paid fairly well for working my ass off.

Years ago I was interviewing for what seemed like the perfect job. I really wanted that job and got so worked up over it that I was horribly nervous–so much so that my knees started shaking during the first interview. I didn’t want to let on that I was nervous, so I crossed my legs and just locked them into place.

I ended up having a really good conversation with the interviewer. We were scheduled to go for a half hour but ended up talking for an hour and change. After answering my questions, the interviewer thanked me for a wonderful conversation and got up to shake my hand. I went to stand and…

… NOTHING happened! My legs had fallen asleep and wouldn’t respond because I had kept them crossed and locked for the entire hour. I was sitting there without any means of standing or even moving my feet!

I panicked. I couldn’t think of how to get out of that situation. I scrambled for some additional questions to ask while I pushed one leg off the other with my hand. It sort of flopped over to the side and stayed there at an awkward angle. And I mean a really awkward angle. There was nothing I could do about it since I couldn’t move it. So I kept coming up with what must have been the most inane questions all the while hoping the interviewer wouldn’t see the odd position I was sitting in.

After what seemed like an eternity, I noticed the pins and needles feeling in my feet and figured I’d try to move my feet. It worked, so I wrapped up the interview and went to stand.

Too soon. My right leg collapsed under my weight. I didn’t completely fall over, but I did lose my balance and had to steady myself on the desk. At that point, I just came clean and said my leg had fallen asleep and I’d been so into the conversation I hadn’t noticed.

I went home convinced that my combination of asking a bunch of stupid questions, sitting there with my leg at a weird angle, and then falling over had eliminated me. But I did get the job. I was told later that I’d “really made an impression.” I thought you were supposed to make a good one, but I guess just being memorable counts for something.

I interviewed in 1991 for a proofreading position at Popular Mechanics. Hoping to leave a positive impression with the tech-minded PM folks, I mentioned that I’d done freelance proofing for another magazine in their corporate family, where production was entirely computerized from copy input to page proofs.

“Incredible,” the interviewer muttered, her face looking as if she’d just bitten into a shaving-cream cone with chocolate sprinkles and a cherry on top. “Do you know we still use these?” She handed me a see-through plastic type rule.

I didn’t get that job.

“I don’t really know what this job involves.”

Well, I didn’t.

Uh yeah.

“Can you give me one of your weaknesses?”

As a 14 year old applying for a hostessing job at a restaurant I didn’t realize there are good ways to answer this one.


“Um, I’m late a lot.”

Still doesn’t compare to a guy I know that interviewed for this college course that is known for its brutal competitiveness (we both got in by the way) and was asked about Wayne Gretzky.

He was so nervous by that time his reply was, “I think he might just be a flash in the pan .”

I had an interview shortly after getting out of rehab for cashier at mcdonalds and the interviewer asked me what I wanted to do as a career later on in life and I told him that I wanted to be a drug and alcohol counselor. when he asked why I politely answered with because I have been there and done that. I never got the job