Interviews can bring out the best and the worst in people. Nerves are usually running high as most people really want the job they are going for and some of the resulting stories can be hilarious. Here’s a few that we here at HR Gurus have encountered.
- Say aaaah…
During one interview for a customer facing position, the candidate was asked if she had any medical conditions that would prevent her from carrying out the duties of the role. She then proceeded to explain that she had recently had surgery on her tonsils and insisted on showing the interviewer the scars on the back of her throat. #ewwww
- The Oversharer
We always recommend to build some rapport with interviewees to get them to relax a little and calm their nerves. Sometimes, candidates can get a little too comfortable, like the interviewer who was told about a candidate’s escapades with their partner the night before the interview. #waytoomuchinformation
- Not enough information…
This type of candidate is unfortunately way too common. It’s the type that when you ask questions, trying to get an answer out of them is like trying to get blood out of a stone. The answers consist of one word answers, no tangible examples and generally avoiding the questions. Most of the times we have encountered of this type of candidate, they haven’t landed the job. #answerthequestions
- I’m running late….
Everyone understands that life happens and we have heard all types of reasons including bad traffic, car broke down, couldn’t find parking, my dog was sick. To be honest, if a person can’t make it to an interview on time, we would question their ability to get to work on time if they were successful for the role. An interview is the time to put your best foot forward and impress. Hot tip: it’s the one time you should never be late. #punctualitymatters
- The Venter
Here’s a golden rule for you: don’t hire anyone who bags their previous employer in an interview. You can be confident that if they are doing that, it is usually only a matter of time until it’s you they are speaking badly about in their next interview. In one interview we conducted, when we asked why the candidate left their last job, we got the whole story and it wasn’t pretty. It included the bosses being bullies, bosses being lazy, poor management and a bad workplace culture. On the one occasion where we bent the golden rule and hired the candidate who was bagging out their previous employer, the relationship ended badly with the employee (unsuccessfully) trying to litigate against the employer. #historyrepeats
- Can’t get a word in
This one could be down to nerves. One interview we did recently, the candidate stole the show quite literally. They had so much to say and enjoyed speaking about themselves so much, that not even our seasoned recruiters could get a word in edgewise. These interviews tend to go way over their allocated time slots and it’s hard to get the questions you want to ask answered. These people tend to name drop a lot and think they are a sure thing for the role. #motormouth
- The No Show
Unfortunately, this happens way more frequently than it should. One can only guess as to reasons why people don’t show up for their interviews. Perhaps they had a change of heart, or a better offer in the meantime. The polite way to handle this as a candidate is to let the interviewer know either by phone or email that you won’t be attending and preferably a reason why. It’s a small world and if the no show comes back looking for a job in the future chances are you won’t want to waste your time again. For business owners and managers who have cleared their schedule to have an interview, this is one of the most frustrating interviews (or non-interviews). #r-e-s-p-e-c-t
- The Stutterer
One of our team conducted an interview with a candidate who was so keen to get the role he was going for. He stuttered the whole way through the interview. It took a lot of patience from the interviewer to hear him out. Our interviewer later found out that the stutter only comes back to this candidate when he is really nervous. He pleaded for another interview and ended up being the best person for the job. This situation taught us not to judge a book by its cover and that interviews don’t show you everything about a candidate. #dontjudgeabookbyitscover
- The Smelly Candidate
Not even the best recruiters in the world can avoid this one. Sometimes candidates have an odour issue. One of our interviewee’s odour was so overpowering that the interviewer had to request that they move into a bigger room. Fortunately, the candidate could continue his interview and was assessed on his ability to do the role he was going for, but it was hard for the interviewer to keep a straight face. #onthenose
- Private jokes
We were called in to assist after two managers made a private joke at the end of their interview. Although the joke had nothing to do with the candidate, she took offence to it, raised a complaint and an investigation and formal response was required by the organisation. We always need to remember that interviews are subject to legal scrutiny and can be challenged at a later date. #keepitprofessional
Some of these horror stories are funny in hindsight, but at HR Gurus we have strategies for dealing with each of them and how they can be handled effectively to ensure you get the right person for the job and don’t end up in hot water for saying the wrong thing when faced with your own interview horror story.
Give us a call on 1300 959 560 if you want to streamline your recruitment processes, or need some help handling those trickier situations.
Written by resident HR Guru, Jessy Warn.