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7 Confessions of Job Interviews Gone Wrong


When it comes to interviewing for a new job, first impressions are everything. You want to project confidence, ability, and professionalism. Some people were born to be interviewed, while others are forced to learn from their mistakes. We asked PayScale users to tell us the error of their interview ways. So the next time you interview for a new job, take heed and don't let these things happen to you.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

"I interviewed at a fairly well known non-profit retailer/educational establishment for a brand new role that was being added to the team. I prepped while on vacation, which was ok, but I definitely was unprepared overall. Sure enough, in the last two minutes of the interview it became very clear that I missed one step of the presentation. There was an awkward silence and then my interview was over. As I walked away, I heard the manager walk back into the interview room and say something that made the rest of the team burst into laughter. So embarrassing."

"Back in college, I used to attend job fairs for job leads, during which I spoke to many different companies. In one interview, the first question was, 'What interests you about our company?' I spoke for at least five minutes about everything great I learned about their company at the job fair. When I finished, the interviewer smiled and said, 'Yeah; that is not us.' I still got a callback though; they were either pretty desperate, or their ginger quota was low."

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Keep Your Job Hunt a Secret

"I was doing a phone interview for a job in New York. First, while trying to put the call on speaker phone, the interviewers hung up on me. They did call back, but while they were interviewing me, I locked my office door to avoid people walking in while I was interviewing. Random people would bang on the door and yell things at me. For example, 'DO YOU HAVE STRIPPERS IN THERE?' and 'PUT YOUR PANTS BACK ON AND COME GET THE DOOR!'. Fortunately, I still got the job, have been with them for 15 years and am now a supervisor."

"I was secretly interviewing for a company. During my interview, they told me about other people that interviewed for the position, hoping I'd give them gossip. Even worse, they obviously asked the other people they were interviewing about me. One of the other candidates publicly Tweeted at me, 'I hear you're quitting your old job. Can you give me a rec for it?' When, in fact, my old job was not open and I had not quit yet."

Practice Your Answers 

Many interview questions are standard, so be sure to come up with a few answers to have ready in your back pocket. Otherwise, the pressure of feeling put on the spot might cause you to get a little too honest. 

"When I first started interviewing for jobs after graduating from college, I was asked in an interview, 'What is your biggest weakness?' I answered, 'punctuality.' DOH!"

Don't Be Creepy

"During college, I attended many co-op intern job interviews. At one, I seriously couldn't remember female interviewer's name, so I tried to sneak a peek at her name tag when she glanced away. She caught me mid-glance and, since her name tag was on the front of her shirt, I looked like I was 'checking her out,' if you know what I mean."

Know When to Bail

"When I was in my early 20's, recently engaged, and working in Portland, I went to look for a new job in Vancouver, WA. I met the owner of the company who seemed to think I was a good match. She asked me if I wanted to continue talking about the job over lunch since she had to head out. I figure the interview is going pretty well, as being invited to lunch to talk more about a job is a good sign. We got a table and she asked if I wanted a beer. Within a few minutes she was talking about her divorce and about how nice her hot tub was, and asking personal questions. It was at this point I started wondering what was going on with the interview. She kept pressing me to go home with her as lunch ended. I didn't, of course, and went home confused and feeling a bit violated as I never really saw it coming."

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! What was your worst interview experience. Leave a comment or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #CasualFriday.

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(Photo Credit: xianrendujia/flickr)




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