Maxwell Stephens

Interview Stories: 20 real life examples of what not to do...

We all know that interviews can be stressful, and sometimes stress can make us do or say strange things. At Maxwell Stephens we work in close partnership with our candidates to identify key strengths, skills and areas of expertise, career goals and we provide expert guidance on interview preparation.


The following real job interview anecdotes are examples of candidates who could have benefitted from a bit of Maxwell Stephens’ preparation. Do you have any interview horror stories? Let us know in the comments.


  1. “I was asked, “If you could be an animal, what would it be?” I replied, “What sort of a stupid question is that?” Didn’t get the job.”


  1. “While conducting an interview the candidate asked me “Do you get many death threats?” It was an inbound call company. Selling stationery.”


  1. “A friend of mine told a customer in a mock selling exercise at a shoe shop interview that the trainers he had could repel magpies.”


  1. “My friend was asked what her weaknesses were. She replied, “Jazz hands!” (With accompanying gesture.)”


  1. “I was interviewing someone who took a phone call and asked me to leave my office while they talked.”


  1. “I once confidently told an interviewer that I’d read a book he’d mentioned. He pointed out it hadn’t been published yet. Or even written.”


  1. “I panicked when asked for my biggest weakness. Told them it was a “vague but common feeling of melancholy.”


  1. “When asked what she wanted to be when she was a child, the candidate responded: “I wanted to be a fairy. No, Queen of The Fairies.”


  1. “I interviewed a guy who failed all the test questions, then gave me a list of ones that I should have asked”.


  1. “I was Late for second round interview with Network Rail. I was asked why and I told them it was their fault.”


  1. “The interview went so well I got cocky, and when the interviewer gave me my suit jacket from the rack I turned so he could put it on me. No job.”


  1. “An interview with Microsoft. I was asked if I’d change anything about them. Said, “I’d get rid of Internet Explorer.” Didn’t get the job.”


  1. “Someone who I once interviewed forgot dark socks to wear with his suit, so he coloured in his ankles with a black felt-tip marker.”


  1. “At the end of an interview for a promotion I was asked if I had any questions. I said, “When do I start?” Failed.”


  1. “I once interviewed someone who blew her nose and lined up the used tissues on the table in front of her.”


  1. “An individual applied for a customer-service job, and when asked what he might not like about the job, he said, ‘Dealing with people.”


  1. “Someone applying for a job hugged me at the end of the interview.”


  1. “A candidate once specified that his availability was limited because Friday, Saturday, and Sunday was ‘drinking time.’”


  1. “I once had interview where the candidate clipped her fingernails while we were speaking.”


  1. “A candidate complained that she was hot. She then said ‘Excuse me’ and removed her socks. After placing them on the desk, she continued as if everything was normal.”

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