Have you ever been in a job interview and you knew right off the bat that it was a terrible idea?
I’ve been there, too! And those interviews really suck!
But, like my dad always said to me, every interview is practice for the next one, so you might as well do as many as possible…even when they’re terrible.
Still though…not a whole lot of fun.
Folks on AskReddit shared their worst job interview stories. Let’s take a look.
1. Wrong company.
“Showed up looking good in my suit with a ton of knowledge on Capital Partners.
It turned out I had researched the wrong company named Capital Partners.”
2. Stress interview.
“Had a phone interview and the woman kept asking more and more intrusive questions, kept hinting I’m a total piece of sh*t who’s totally unfit for the job (it was the easiest job description ever) and jumping to conclusions about my life that were completely untrue.
For example I found out that being a freelancer who gets a lot of decently paid work each month is apparently living off my parents. She kept going on and on like that for quite a while before I told her to p*ss off and hung up. Didn’t really need that job too badly but it was in a different country so the trravel aspect was the main reason.
Years later I found out it was a “stress interview” which apparently is a thing. F*ck those people.”
3. Hell no.
“I went in to apply for an administrative assistant position and the guy kept asking me questions about liking kids and are my passports up to date…etc.
I was SO confused. Turns out what he really wanted was a nanny for his two young kids to travel with him and his wife back to India.
I was so p*ssed he wasted my time. I noped right the f*ck out of there.”
4. That’s weird.
“At an interview to be a county street sweeper, guy asks me if I have a girlfriend, proceeds to rant for 5 minutes how young people dont get married anymore.
Then he asks me what I want to avoid at the job. At the time I had no idea how to answer as I’d never been asked that in an interview before. So I ask him to clarify, to which he just repeats the question, over and over until he gets super angry that I dont know how to answer that, then asks me to leave.
To this day, biggest wtf interview I’ve had.”
5. Still salty.
“I was interviewing for a job in Houston, and lived in Austin, about 2.5 hours away.
I drove to Houston for the first round of interviews, and they said it went well and wanted to being me in for a final interview, so i drove there again. It seemed like it went well and they told me they had one more interview to conduct and would have a decision tomorrow.
So the next day came and went, I emailed the manager to ask if any decision had been made, nothing, waited a couple more days, left a voicemail, nothing. Then a couple days later, I just called the main number for the company and told the receptionist why I was calling. She was like “well, someone just started in that job yesterday”.
They ghosted me after I drove a total of 10 hours to interview twice. Still salty about that 11 years later.”
6. That’s bad.
“Had an interview, went well. I was offered the job on the spot and accepted.
The HR manager went to get the needed paperwork, came back 10 mins later and said “I must have forgot that we already filled this position. I’m sorry, but we don’t have an opening. I could call you if something opens back up”.
I said no thank you.”
7. Great job!
“I told them I couldn’t answer their questions, farted audibly out of stress and thanked them for their time.”
8. Sorry I wasted your time.
“Applied for a desktop support position. $15/hour advertised. A bit on the low side but I was out of work and needed to pay bills.
Sat down for the interview with two guys. Interviewer A introduced himself as the manager / network / project manager and introduced interviewer B as the server guy. Indicated he was looking for someone to bridge that gap between the two of them when things got buys.
He wanted someone who could take the overflow of work and handle project management tasks, network configs, server admin work, and handle the day-to-day desktop requests of the office. Cue my eyes getting as big as saucers.
I apologized and indicated I thought I was in the wrong interview. I had applied for a desktop support position for $15 an hour. His response, “Oh no, you’re in the right spot! It’s desktop support, and a few other tasks as we need to assign them to you. There was a typo in the job advert though. It’s only $13 an hour.”
I just stood up, grabbed my coat from the back of the chair, apologized for wasting their time, and left.”
9. Sir, yes sir!
“I had a skype interview with a private practice and the lady interviewing me literally made it sound like a stern military parent.
“You can NEVER be late” (mind you the job was an hour away)
“Even if you have a cold you can NEVER call in sick” (idk if this was meant for pre or post-covid)
“We’re a small company so you won’t have much of a work/life balance”
“PS our pay for all this dedication is only 3 dollars more than the measely pay your getting now”
Just a whole interview of Red Flags. And the last one was when the lady messaged me immediately after saying I got the job and had to leave my job at maximum, five days’ notice, regardless of me kind of bombing the interview and claiming there were other interviewees in line.
I could see why they were having trouble hiring people.”
10. First one ever.
“My first interview in my life was for a fast food place and I was way too honest.
Why do you want to work here?
“Mostly for the money. I like the food here too.”
What do you do on your free time?
Did not get a call back.”
11. No way!
“When he said I’ll give you extra hours if you bring me smokes every day, then put his hand on my leg and said his wife gives him passes to have fun.
I also got a speeding ticket on the way to the interview.
Was not my month.”
12. Time to leave.
“I interviewed for a project management position.
The interviewer describes the job: basically it was pure research and data entry of potential clients, then cold-calling them and documenting the results. The job ad mentioned exactly none of this but was an average project management job ad, else I wouldn’t have applied in the first place.
I asked what exactly was the project management part, and got told that could (could, not would) be down the road, maybe 2-5 years in, but really only maybe. I thanked them for the interview opportunity, we wrapped things up and I politely left.”
13. See ya later.
“It was my first “professional” law firm interview. I was SO nervous.
I had applied for a legal secretary position. The attorney whose name was on the door would be interviewing me so I was a nervous wreck. When he walked in the room, I stood up, introduced myself and shook his hand. He looked me up and down and said “yeah, you’ll do”.
I turned around and walked out without saying another word.”
“The interviewer insisted on knowing why I’d left graduate school.
Now, I had left graduate school because my advisor died in a car accident and the whole small department was thrown for a loop and no one seemed to know or care what was going to happen to me or my just started research project.
The *sshole interviewer wouldn’t even accept “My advisor died suddenly” and dug into the gory details until I was almost in tears (even intimating that I must have had “feelings” for my advisor.)
I couldn’t wait to get out of there and in my haste to leave I knocked some solutions off a cart (which had no business being in his office BTW) on my way out. I’d never been so humiliated in my life.
After that, I was sure I’d never get a job in science.”
“Company was downsizing.
All employees in a specific yet exclusive division were fired and ordered to reapply for their position plus two other jobs in the company. You’d either get one of those jobs or be terminated.
The subsequent interviews were conducted with a manager and an HR person.
First interview in executive suite: Manager asks why aren’t you applying for this key supervisory slot? (I had listed it second on my list.) Me: I would prefer to stay in my expertise in which I won a National award. HR: I didn’t know awards like that existed.
Second interview: Current boss likes me for my existing job (for which I was heavily recruited from another company). HR: Wow, so you’re the guy who does this job? I had no idea a real person did it.
Third interview: HR person says he’s never heard of my division or that employees actually worked at night. I had listed this job in which I merely served as a minor manager as third on my preferences. Really didn’t want it but had to list three.
The results: I was retained but transferred to the third dead-end day job. My old award-winning job was given to an aging staffer who never worked in that position or had a clue. The supervisor job went to a brilliant colleague who wanted and deserved it.
I quit very soon thereafter and joined a bigger company with better benefits. Skill pays off.
After all that, my old company, seeing the error of its ways in lost production and general lack of ability, offered me a bonus to return.
Nope, nope, nope. And I’m returning the corporate knife you stuck in my back.”
16. Not a good one.
“I drove an hour away to an interview at 8:00 am. I waited outside the interviewer’s office until 8:30 am with no one to tell me where to go or where she was.
Finally, another employee walks by and I ask if they know where this woman is to interview me. They had no idea where she was, why she was late, and told me if she wasn’t there yet, I should leave because she probably forgot (…ok?).
I decide 45 minutes is the cut off (especially standing in a government building looking like a creep waiting. 8:45 on the dot she rushes in, flustered, wet hair, and in casual yoga pants.
With all the resurgence of patience I could muster, I greeted her and was met with a passive aggressive scolding of how the interview was at 9, not 8. (Uh… I tripled checked the email asking me to interview and it was 8. We had conducted a phone interview and she followed up with an email request to an in person interview at 8. I was 100% positive on this, I hate being late.)
Even with this, and i did say, “I’m certain you said 8 am, ma’am” she wasn’t having it. Conversely, she also went on about why she was late, surmounting in, she went to the gym and forgot her underwear to change into and had to stop at a store and buy new ones after working out, before coming to work.
She told me this. In the first 5 minutes. Why? I didn’t ask her!
Regardless, she looks at my resume, apparently for the first time, because she proceeds to tell me how it is unimpressive and my graduate studies should have yielded numerous publications after 1.5 years. (In my field, most don’t publish until after 3-4 years.)
Even still, she kept saying how I had “moved up the interview time”, showed me the work spaces and told me I “probably wouldn’t be interested in what they do there”. I politely told her I had driven, at her request, to be there and interview for employment, I was VERY interested. She waved me off.
As we left, I just tried to hold it together (I was very poor and very desperate for a job), thanked her, and she told me how great it is to work for the government, how good the benefits, the pension, the time off are. On and on. She said, “If you can find an opening working for the government, you should try to check it out and get hired on!”
I just looked her in the face and said, “Yes, ma’am, that was my hope with today’s interview. Thank you.”
And sat in my car and bawled the whole drive home like the desperate loser I was.
That was a low one, to be sure.”
17. What’s wrong with that?
“Was invited for an IT “helper” position when I was 17.
Would help fix computers for people at a shoddy PC fix shop.
They asked me “Whats the first thing you check if a customer calls and says their screen doesn’t turn on?”
I said “Well, you gotta check if they have it plugged into a socket”
They laughed and said thank you that will be it. Then led me to the door and gently pushed me out.”
“At an interview, they asked me, “If you could be any animal, what would you be?”
I answered “Otter” because you know, fun, active, and work well with their hands. They debated whether or not to hire me because of that answer because, “We only hire predators, never prey”, and they weren’t sure how to quantify an Otter because none of them had ever paid the least bit of attention to any sort of animal documentary or read biology or you know, visited a zoo recently.
God that job sucked hard.”
19. A twofer.
“Two of them.
1- the recruiter started to fold my cv into a paper plane during the interview. (Didnt get the job)
2- was pawned off unsuspectingly to the CFO of a company five mins into my interview with the CEO. The CFO had no idea what to ask so he went the “tell me your biggest flaws” way. I was so dejected that I said “you’ll have to hire me to find out”.
Interview ended five mins later. I spent 30 mins crying at my hubris and stupidity in the parking lot. Got the job.”
“In a group interview, the interviewer crossed a line through my name on the list he had after I told him what I have a degree in.
This was within the first 5 minutes of a 40 minute interview…”
“I walked in at 2:45 for a 3:00 interview.
At 4:00 I asked reception for the last time if I was going to be interviewed. Finally they showed up 5 minutes later.
There were two people doing the interview. They were hostile. Rapid fire questions. Half of which had nothing to do with my experience. One kept asking me where I worked during such and such a time. Despite the other one looking at my application with all that info.
Then they told me that IF they hired me it’d be for a position below what I applied for. Much lower pay and I couldn’t take time off.
Finally they basically told me they’d be watching me like a hawk and if I did drugs I’d be fired and arrested. I have never even smoked pot. I stood up and told them this wasn’t for me and walked out.
It was bizarre. I felt like I was being interrogated for a murder investigation as the prime suspect.”
22. No, thanks.
“Job was for a vibration analysis engineer.
I knew how to do the job well. I knew the pay should be around 95k, and they stated 55k (in the interview). When I tried to discuss my point, they said, “don’t worry, there’s plenty of overtime”.
They also mentioned since they weren’t involved with many balancings at the moment, I would assist the cleaning crew with a lot of the cleanings.
I’ve never been so uninterested in a job in my life.”
23. Totally exessive.
“Five interview rounds with the last interview round being with the CEO all for an entry level customer service job.
During the last interview, the CEO said you weren’t allowed to get sick, and you weren’t allowed to leave at the end of the day until all of the work had been done. So even though the job was 8-4 the CEO said customer service reps often stayed until 6 PM or later.
She also asked if I would be comfortable secretly reporting to her about what the customer service team is up to. I declined the job offer and the company harassed me with emails asking why and what they did wrong.
Really glad I didn’t take the job.”
24. Let me ask you a question…
“In the middle of my interview, the manager asked me if my current workplace (that I was trying to leave) was hiring.
When I said I didn’t know, he asked if I’d be willing to drop off a resumé for him anyway.”
How about you?
What do you think is the worst job interview you’ve ever had?
Share your stories with us in the comments. Thanks!