Maxwell Stephens

Interview Horror Stories

This week one of Maxwell Stephens’s candidates had a very embarrassing situation in an interview. He was told that in the event of a fire, he should head to the skip in the car park. However he misheard and thought the receptionist wanted him to stand by the skip to wait for the interviewer, so he did…

He is feeling a little embarrassed about the whole situation, so we wanted to make him feel better by asking our other candidates if they had any interview horror stories. We are sharing the best ones (anonymously!) here on our website, so everyone can feel better about their interview mishaps.





I went into the interview to find 4 people, one sat in each corner of the room and a swivel chair in the middle. Three asked questions and one made notes. At the end of the interview, the one making the notes told me why I wasn’t getting the job.





A long.. long… long time ago interviewing for a position, eagerly leaning forward at the desk to show attentive enthusiasm to the interviewers line of questioning, in an open plan office, seated on a task chair with castors, unbeknown on a slippery wooden floor.  Hanging on every word to listen to the softly spoken interviewer, the chair tipped forward… then flew backwards and unceremoniously dumped me in a heap in the interviewers lap..





Been there done something like that before but my horror story lies around a bad journey 5 hours (traffic and breakdown) but getting there on time to be met by the interviewer who’s comment was “good to meet you, just wanted to see what you looked like” and said interview over.


500 mile round trip for no more than 2 minutes didn’t get the job either and never applied for a role with that company again.





I  was once interviewed for a Job with a local authority that didn’t go very well.


I came in, was introduced to the panel and then began answering their questions as normal.  During my repose to the second question which was about dealing with negative feedback one of the panel looked pained.


I thought jeezoh my answer must have been terrible but continued on regardless confident that I could pull it back. The panel member then winced and sucked her teeth. This time the other panel member picked up on what was going on and turned to her colleague.


It was then that it happened the panel member with the teeth sucking/wincing, let out the most tremendous blast of flatulence. Myself and the non-wincing panel member just sat there agog in a state of disbelief and awkwardness. The gaseous wincer looked relived at first but then suddenly darted out of the room clutching her belly almost knocking me from my perch of incredulity.


The non-wincer turned to me after her colleague had departed and said “She was at a BBQ at the weekend, probably under cooked chicken” and we then continued the interview.


Needless to say I was quite disturbed by the whole affair and did not get the job but I do make sure to thoroughly cook all of my BBQ food in the oven first.





It was 1986, I was fresh out of an engineering degree that the wine, women and need for money and independence prevented me from completing. The interview was with a Hotel Manager, a lady, in a vacant/converted bedroom. As the interview came to a conclusion I stood up to depart and felt something crawling down my leg (not up). What ended up resting on my shoe were yesterday’s underpants! I noticed, she noticed and the room became very small and very warm!


I got the job but never again put last night party trousers on without checking!





Few years ago, after an interview with the recruiter in a luxurious hotel, I have the interview with the MD and HRD of a company that was searching for a customer relationship manager.


The MD started the interview referring he only had 50 minutes so he would prefer to start asking few questions.


He started asking about differences between primary and secondary education in Spain and UK, GCSE, A levels etc


I took it as a good way to break the ice and make the conversation more fluent.


After 40 minutes, given that we were still speaking about differences between fist degrees and postgraduate levels in the two countries, I interrupted to say:


Candidate – I am sorry to interrupt, but we have 10 minutes left and I still have some questions I would like to address, related to the reason why we are here.


MD – of course , time has gone by and I really need to go in 10 minutes, please go ahead.


Candidate – What % of the total turnover does this client mean?


MD – this is confidential information, but I can only say, a very high one


Candidate – Do you think you are delivering what the client wants?


MD – I am sorry, that is a confidential question, I cannot answer at this moment.


Candidate – all right just a last one then, do you think you have the capability to deliver what the client wants?


MD – again, confidential. I am sorry.


Candidate – right, then unless you have any more questions, I have enough information to make my decision. And we still saved 5 minutes.


MD – can you let me know what is your decision?


Candidate – I am terribly sorry but it is confidential.


We shaked hands very politely and off I went.





Just a small tale to brighten the day.


Ex-military so my timings are without question, 15 minutes before the interview. My clothing was immaculate and creases to cut paper. Questions practised, and company knowledge digested. Comfortable and confident and ready, I stepped out the car and my trousers split from belt to crutch! (Been ‘commando’ for 35 years)


Couldn’t help but wonder if the interviewers would find it funny ?





I attended an interview and it became blindingly apparent that the chap interviewing me was so out of date in respect of law that I was far in excess of his knowledge.  This was so obvious to me and the MD of the company also interviewing!!  I didn’t get that job and I did see the interviewers role appear shortly afterwards on a job board as well!


I turned up for  a role at a big multi-national as a NEBOSH – H+S Manager and I had been told I would be given a practice problem as well as an interview.  A chap came out into the busy reception area, mumbled his introduction and gave me a paper with a  lift re furbishing quote on.  Ah Ha thinks I, the problem.


Not an issue, I can do this on the hoof, bit of chat and when I started asking about usage, working at height, wheel chair/disabled access, routes in hots works etc this guy was really impressed.  It was when he asked me how much it would cost to re furbish the penny dropped.  Leaning forward I saw his ID – Wrong Name!!  We returned to reception to find my interviewer looking very lonely.  The real interview was a laugh from start to finish!  I got a job offer as well.  I suspect based on comedy value.


I went for two interviews in one day with a very big multinational.  The first role was well below my grade but a job is a job etc.  I decided not to mention the second role as it sounded a lot higher.  In the afternoon I went for the second role and in discussion it became apparent that the role was in fact that of the guy interviewing me from the morning!


I am sure there are others

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