Employer Branding Talent Acquisition

Top 5 Interview Howlers of All Time

We’ve all attended an interview in our lives, defines an interview as a formal meeting in which one or more persons question, consult, or evaluate another person. To even get an interview request means that someone has decided that you might be suitable for their position, however, it doesn’t always go to plan!

I’ve been in recruitment 7 years now (wow!) and in that time I must have literally arranged, briefed and debriefed 1000’s of interviews. Obviously I love it when a client says to me ‘Adam, that candidate is amazing, when can we get him/her back in and prepare an offer’. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, sometimes the candidate is just not right for the client, or the candidate is looking for something slightly different than the client is offering which is particularly prevalent in the technical sector I recruit within.

I’m not sure why, but there are a group of people that just do not take the interview process seriously, and during my time recruiting for technical staff, there have been some real interview howlers, but I thought I’d put the best 5 I’ve come across in that time to The Undercover Recruiter.

In reverse chronological order:

5) Angry Birds:

The man who turned up for his interview to be a QA for a blue chip client in a pair of sandals, shorts and a vest. When the interviewer asked him to come through he asked them to wait until he had finished his game on his handheld.

4) Dressed for a quick getaway:

The candidate who was interviewing for a very senior position that turned up to the interview in a suit and a pair of trainers. Not black trainers, but bright white running trainers. Perhaps he was already considering the possibility of a quick escape?!

3) Interviewing for the wrong job:

The candidate who turned up for an interview, was asked to complete a HTML coding exercise and pulled a book out titled ‘HTML for Beginners’, and then got up after ½ of the test and said he had to go back to work now as he only gets 30 minutes for lunch.

2) Employee of the month material:

The person who didn’t answer their phone to me all morning, had an interview booked for 10am, turned up to the interview 4 hours late and then proceeded to shout at the client for not having the time to interview him, needless to say he wasn’t in receipt of a job offer.

1) Self-confession:

Saving the best for last (and possibly leaving myself open to some serious mockery) how about the young recruiter with just a few months experience and very minimal money who managed to sit on some chewing gum on his way to an interview? He proceeded to go to a shop and purchase a black pen, scrub as much of the gum off as possible from his only suit and colour over the residue to not have it noticed by his potential client. I’m not so sure if I pulled that one off as well as I thought I did, but only the interviewer would be able to tell you…(hint, I don’t work for him now, and never have done!).

What can we learn from howlers?

So, in summary it might be an idea, when requested for an interview, to wear suitable attire (that would be a suit, and shoes!), know your technology before going to the interview, turn up on time, and, above all else, check the seat on the train doesn’t have chewing gum on it!

Related: 10 Classic Job Interview Blunders You Must Avoid.

Image: Shutterstock

By Adam Bolton

Adam Bolton is a Technical Recruiter for ABrecruit Ltd who specialise in recruiting for .Net developers. If you would like to get in touch with Adam feel free to leave a comment below and/or tweet him at @ABRecruitLtd. He also runs IDinLondon.