Prepping your candidate to help them nail the interview for THAT dream job is hard enough – especially if confidence isn’t their strong point. You’ve told them to do all the prep beforehand to make sure they’re as ready as they’ll ever be. You’ve asked them to research the role, look up the company, maybe you’ve even done a role play with them but sometimes all of that can be undone in a matter of seconds like some of these candidates have proved.
*We’ve kept their identities anonymous to spare them even more embarrassment.
In the days where mobile phones were the rarity, an engineer goes to an interview after work and it’s situated on an A road in the Midlands. His interview is at 5pm and having got very lost, he finally finds the factory at 5:45pm. The very amiable Engineering Director greets the very flustered and stressed engineer and explains that he has to leave at 6pm to collect his child from the childminder. The engineer huffily responds with, “that’s not good enough, I have driven around looking for you and you have to give me more than 45 mins.” Oh….and punched him!
2. Overly friendly
A candidate goes for an interview for a sales role. She sails through the process wowing everyone with her bubbly personality and natural sales ability. She gets invited out for drinks with the team and decided to sleep with her future boss. She didn’t turn up on the first day, surprisingly enough.
3. Being observant
“I once interviewed with a company two days on the trot. The first day I was interviewed by one director and the second day I was due to be interviewed by the second director. Unfortunately the second director was unexpectedly off work so couldn’t run my second interview, so the first director stood in, wearing the exact same clothes as the day before, complete with a ‘night out stain’.”
4. Always say no
During an assessment centre day, another candidate and I were having lunch with a pair of assessors, one of whom, let’s call him Eric, was immensely old and still used snuff (for anyone born post 1980, snuff is sniffing tobacco). Being a polite chap, he kindly offered it around the table after lunch. I spotted the trap, but the other candidate saw an ingratiation-opportunity of killer proportions and took a snort. Within seconds the consequences were horrific. The explosive sneezes were spectacular and uncontrollable. Although they calmed down, every few minutes throughout the rest of the day’s proceedings the candidate couldn’t stop himself sneezing loudly, much to the hilarity of everyone. I glanced at Eric, who just winked at me across the room. I got through selection, but the other chap didn’t.
5. Weapon of choice
At an assessment centre day, one of the other candidates was aiming to impress right from the start. When we did the around-the-table introductions, he explained that his present company made a variety of military equipment. He reached into his bag and shouted, “Like this!” as he held a bayonet aloft triumphantly. It took him another millisecond to realise he may have judged the situation poorly. His hand began to shake so violently, he appeared in danger of injuring himself as he struggled to get the thing back in his bag. He didn’t make it through selection.
A candidate was interviewing for a very prestigious job that he really wanted. He went to the loo in order to prepare himself. When he washed his hands, the force of water came right over the bowl and soaked his trousers. He tried to dry them with haste but to no avail. He walked into the interview room and explained what had just happened. The interviewer smiled and said, “Yes, I would have also said that if I had wet myself”. He got the job.
7. Appropriate footwear
A candidate had an interview following a Christmas party the previous night. She was wearing incredibly high heels the night before and decided to wear flats in order to keep comfortable. She decided to try a little trick she had read about in order to soothe her feet. It advised you to cover your feet in Aloe Vera and wrap them up in cling film before putting on your tights and shoes. This worked! They perfectly soothed her tired heels and she felt ready for anything. That is, until she walked into the interview room and fell flat on her face. Luckily, they saw the funny side of it and she was offered a role upon the condition that she wear different footwear.
8. No booze
I was interviewing for a technical role and the individual was quite an introvert, however, after a Friday lunch (which sometimes involves the odd drink in Australia) they came to a face to face interview. They were not what I would perceive to be drunk, but they were somewhat more animated. This individual had a slight smell of alcohol on them and although it may have been amusing to some, it was inappropriate and, I felt, disrespectful to myself and the opportunity. For this reason the individual was provided the feedback that they would not progress to an additional interview.
Shockingly it’s not just the candidates who can have a bad day interviewing. Well, they’re also human!
9. You snooze, you lose…kinda
I fell asleep whilst interviewing a candidate to run an assembly operation with about 200 staff. I’d had to part company with the previous incumbent as he’d been allocating overtime to the assembly workers willing to grant him sexual favours in his office. (I burnt his chair in the yard.) Consequently, I’d been working ludicrous hours, seven days a week for a couple of months, covering both jobs. It was about 6pm on a winter’s Friday evening and I went dead to the world halfway through the interview. When the candidate woke me, he said, “I think you need help, I can start on Monday if you like?” I gave him the job and he was a great asset to us, but I never quite got over the embarrassment.
Interviews are never easy and while some things can be out of your control there are others, like some of the above, which are a complete no-no. But if you want some tips on how to interview like a boss, then luckily for you we put 10 Awesome Interview Tips from Actual Hiring Managers together for you.