Worst Job Interview You Were the Inteviewer On

The one truly memorable one, which I’ve mentioned here before:

I got pulled in at the last minute to be one of the 2 or 3 interviewers to meet with a candate; protocol was they would be seen by one or two people at my level, then passed on to the project manager (partner; this was a Big 8 accounting firm). Someone else was supposed to do the first interview but was unavailable at the last minute, so I got roped in.

I apologized to the candidate for being behind and had him wait a minute or two while I read through his resume, then we got on with the usual interview questions.

He was a nervous wreck. He was almost literally shaking in his shoes. I didn’t especially notice whether he was perspiring heavily but it would not have surprised me. I’m a pretty un-perceptive person but even I could see he was a wreck. Monosyllabic answers, no sense of connection, no fluent conversation… it was almost as painful for me as it was for him.

It did not help that his last name happened to be that of a clueless character from a TV sitcom from my childhood - so I kept having to fight the urge to burst out giggling.

Somehow I managed to stretch the interview out to occupy 20 minutes (of our allotted 30), then took him over to the partner for the next stage.

She got rid of him within 10 minutes - then came over to me and said “What on EARTH did you DO to him???”. I threw my hands in the air and just laughed - as did the partner (who knew me to be not an especially terrifying person).

Long before the internet, I was in charge of the hiring process for a business position and had to go through stacks of resumes. It was fun at first but after a couple of dozen, I found myself scanning every resume as fast as possible to find anything that stood out as a obvious red flag so that I could put the resume in the reject file without having to read it carefully.

One woman’s resume identified herself in the title of her resume as “Jane Doe (MRS. ELMER DOE).” The resume was about four pages long. At the top of every page she had neatly typed, in larger lettering than one would expect for a header, “MRS. ELMER DOE resume page x.”

I don’t know whether ELMER DOE was some important person and she was hoping to get the job because of her connections (the name meant nothing to me, but I’d recently returned from living on an isolated tropical island for three years so perhaps I was unaware of something I could have been expected to know) or whether she was making some kind of weird sociopolitical statement about the role of women vis-a-vis their husbands. Anyway, I tossed her into the reject pile.

Yeah, my ex had a very staid and proper resume with assorted degrees from MIT and Harvard followed by very proper jobs with boring gravitas. But his “personal” section mentioned juggling as a hobby. That got him an interview once (and ultimately a job offer).


There are those who would characterize the governmental processes of the Federated States of Micronesia as having circus-like elements, so in some respects, yes.

I wonder how old Jane was? Or more accurately, when she was born?

Story time:
Before we got married my wife was an age 30-ish successful attorney. Her mother was a traditional sort but had always encouraged her daughters to aim high, work hard, get a high-falutin’ career, and don’t be dependent on a man. Oh yeah, but make lots and lots of grandkids and be a total hostess with the mostest kind of woman. Mixed message much? Naah, not Mom!

Anyhow, we get married, my wife being the first of Mom’s daughters to do so. Wife chose to adopt my last name as her own. That was her decision, not mine; I’d have been happy whatever she’d chosen.

Shortly thereafter Mom writes daughter a flowery congratulatory letter full of gushing about how wonderful it was for Mom to now have a married daughter. Squeee!

Of course it was addressed to

Mrs. Elmer Doe
123 Main St

And the salutation on this heartfelt mother->daughter letter was

Dear Mrs. Elmer Doe,

Mom had been waiting decades while dreaming of the day she could address her daughter like that and wasn’t going to waste the opportunity when it finally came.

My wife’s reaction:

My own mother has reduced my identity to a lower-case “s”. The same as every other married woman in the English-speaking world. Makes me feel so special!

To this day when Mom does some typical Momly thing that minimizes daughter’s status versus her own, she or I comment to each other something like: “Oh well, I guess I’m just as ‘s’” or “Well dear, what do you expect, you’re just an ‘s’”.

Ya gotta laugh or else you’d cry or get angry.

TLDR: Folks from the Olden Dayes be … quaint … about stuff.

Calling her Mrs. Mary Doe, in the standard formal etiquette of the day, would have indicated that she was a widow.

Oh yeah. I comprehend the convention.

I/wife just don’t agree with it nor understand / accept that someone would cling so stubbornly to something that anachronistic long past its social discard-by date.

It’s not funny / cringeworthy because it’s wrong.
It’s funny / cringeworthy because it’s right in a painfully quaint way.

That’s a nice formulation!

In a (tiny) defense of your MIL, “Mrs. Jane Doe” wouldn’t have worked for her because traditionally that construction was reserved for that shameful class of womanhood, the divorcee. From my perspective, she could have used “Ms. Jane Doe” but I guess that wouldn’t have given her the thrill that writing “Mrs.” did.

ETA: Just saw needscoffee’s post. Now I doubt myself a little. I thought widows were still “Mrs. Elmer Doe” and only divorced women were “Mrs. Jane Doe” but I could well be remembering incorrectly. The distinction was going out of fashion by 1982, when I got married.

No, you’re completely right! I had a brain fart. Happens a lot nowadays! Can’t even blame it on lack of coffee. Thanks for the correction.
Formal etiquette of olden tymes:
Mrs Jane Doe = divorcee
Mrs Elmer Doe = wife/widow

IOW, the only way to avoid the curse of being reduced to a mere “s” is to divorce the evil bastard. Even offing him in his sleep gives no relief. From his very grave shall he dehumanize his still-living chattel.

Yup, sounds like a convention Mom would love. Bless her anachronistic but very durable heart. :wink:

When reviewing resumes, I would consider this a good thing. It shows the person has varied interests and therefore would likely be able to offer balanced opinions or see things from different perspectives. I’ve been hired a couple of times because of my car racing activities.

One was because the manager was also interested, but the most important time was because my eventual mentor was a former military pilot and he knew that I would be able to make snap decisions when there was no time to waffle and because, in my hobby, I supervised volunteers which is like herding cats.

Probably depends on the hobby. I have many hobbies, but I doubt that any of them would help me get any job, with the possible exception of fiction writer.

Agreed. As long as a hobby or activity isn’t controversial (unless you want to make sure you aren’t interviewed by someone who feels differently), it’s probably cool to put it on your resume just to show you’re a whole person.

Back in the day when I cared about keeping my resume up to date, my “personal” section listed a range of volunteer activities I’d engaged in, from reading to the blind to cooking meals for homeless people with AIDS. Not especially exciting stuff, but it probably screamed “BLEEDING HEART LIBERAL!!” which was good, because I’d never want to work anywhere that wasn’t welcoming to such types.

Hobbies: Discussing random shit with strangers on an internet message board.



@Greenwyvern. 'Zactly! Pretty sad when you think about it. And that was a darn fine rebus to boot. Tip 'o the cap to you.

You’d have been a total hit as a proposal writer at a couple of my IT gigs. Most of what we put in there about our company capabilities or our product features was fictional. Some of it was out at the magical fantasy level.

You were hiring a Drama Teacher. :smile:

Gotta agree with you and Fredo here. I’ve been a freelancer for all but 5 of my 41 years in the film industry. You get a Call Sheet. ( These have been around since the early Silent Days ). You are told what time to report the following day.

I get it- this is pure corporate. So? Why would someone assume that the day starts at anything other than 9am and ends at anytime other than 5pm unless they were informed in writing with enough lead time in the mailing of that document to reasonable assume they got it before their start day?

Failing of the new employer. Nothing more. That letter should have confirmed not only address and start time but a BUNCH of names and telephone numbers to be used on Day 1. Also, the floor they report to, who they ask for and where they go.

[quote=“SmartAleq, post:97, topic:925607, full:true”] A little sense of humor is necessary for any place I’m going to work to be successful for both parties. They hired me. :wink:

No kidding. They hired a guy whose email address is “SmartAleq@isp.com”. That shows a LOT of humor on both sides of the desk.

:laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

I interviewed someone who put on their resume that they were a founding or club captain or something of a Esperanto enthusiast group. This was a software engineering position, so being a total nerd about something was not a strike. But such a strange thing to list on a resume.

Within reason.

Years ago, when I was directly involved in the hiring process, we got a CV where the Hobbies and Personal Interests section had a single bullet-point item: “Donating blood.”

We went back and forth amongst ourselves as to whether that was interesting or weird and off-putting.

In the end, we chose to roll the dice and bring them in for an in-person meeting.

It turned out to be weird.