The recruiter is kind of like a gatekeeper for the company. Their task is to ensure that any job candidate that gets hired deserves to be there. This is often easier said than done since people can present an image that’s quite different from who they truly are. But every now and then, someone comes by who makes the decision a no-brainer.
There’s a post on Reddit that asked hiring managers what are some of the biggest red flags they’ve spotted in a resume or during an interview. From lying about experience to oversharing about personal life, turns out, we folks can get really creative when facing unemployment. A bit too creative. Sure, hunting for a job can be really difficult, and the struggle can leave us feeling rejected, stressed, anxious, and overall pessimistic about our future outlook which might make us do things we normally wouldn’t, but these stories prove that we have to at least try to keep it together.
We were interviewing for a higher level management position in a small company, in a very small rural area. The candidate was from a large city pretty far away. One of the panel asks a general question of how he sees himself fitting in with the community (position involved some community outreach) given that we’re very rural. The candidate says ‘oh I can be redneck!’ and then proceeds to tell a joke using the n-word multiple times. He then laughed at his own joke and acted like nothing was wrong.
It was so f*****g crazy I had no idea how to react.
I was hiring for a field technician position and brought three equally qualified candidates in for interviews. They all had sufficient experience with other contractors so all I really cared about was how they presented themselves and how they spoke to someone in a position of authority.
First two candidates were excellent. I figured it was going to be a super tough choice between the two of them at least. Then the third candidate completely blows away the other two in how he presents himself. He’s clearly very gifted and is super ambitious and I’m about ten seconds away from telling him he’ll receive and offer before the end of the week.
He starts telling me he’s excited for this opportunity because he feels his current employer is going under because of some poor business decisions over the last year. Signing contracts that they can’t complete and things like that. I ask an open ended question like “how would you do it better?” And this fella tells me something to the effect of “well, I don’t know much about business but one time I was working on interac (credit card) machines and found a way to add my personal bank account information to the machine. So I did that to help boost my personal income because I figured it wouldn’t be easy to trace. But don’t worry I cleared it all up with the cops and had to pay all the money back. Oh and that’s what the company should have done – find a way to generate passive income until something more profitable came along.”
I was floored. I just stared at him. I couldn’t even respond.
He asked me straight up how that story would affect his chances. I told him I had other candidates that probably fit the role a little better but would keep him in consideration for future opportunities.
The building was key card access so everyone else had to sign in with security and because we work with special needs populations certain things are simply not allowed in the building. All of this is explained when they get the interview. Security asks me to come talk to this guy because he has a chain wallet and a key ring with a pill holder and a pepper spray bottle all of which is is refusing to leave at security to come in for his interview. I tell him those are the rules. Interview goes acceptably until I ask how he would handle a client offering him money or favors in return for privileges or contraband. He laughed and asked how cute they were. The job he was applying for would have had him on a ward with teenagers. I literally had a meeting about how we were not hiring this person ever later that day with others just in case.
A woman that was 40 minutes late walk in on us interviewing the next applicant and demanding we see her first. Screamed at me that she had wasted her time when I refused to interview her.
Mental health field
A guy told me he would have to try to convert gay clients to his religion and tell them how he felt about them. Again, this was what he chose to the question of how he works with diversity.
We interviewed a guy once for an engineering position. We Asked the typical, “ what do you like to do in your free time?” He said he really enjoyed taking his dog with him on a long run to decompress (so far so good)—then he went into excruciating detail of how his dog likes to lick every last drop of sweat off his body as he undresses for the shower. It was cringey!
Not during an interview, but in checking up on references. Called this girl’s previous employer. This girl had called out 3 times over a 6 month period to attend her grandmother’s funeral. She had called out to 3 different managers with the same excuse, and aparantly didn’t think the managers communicated with each other. The fourth time her grandmother died, she was let go.
The interviewee that found my private personal social media accounts and initiated contact to thank me for the interview, even though they had my professional contact information. This was a young, inexperienced mistake not malicious or a power move. They had been told by their guidance counsellor that it was important to follow up after the interview. I know this because I actually had them come in for a second interview just so could explain why this was unprofessional. Gave them some other tips on how to interview properly, but didn’t hire them. Did send them to a place I knew was hiring and a better fit.
Two people get up and leave upon the mention of a [toxicology] test, which we specifically stated did not include [weed].
Well believe it or not I set up an interview with a mid to late twenties chemist with a masters degree from a good school. She ticked all the right boxes, interviewed well by phone. When she showed up for her on-site interview, she brought her mother. Yes, you read that correctly. When I learned of this, I told my boss that I was no longer interested in interviewing her and that I was no longer considering her for the position. My boss ended up conducting the interview and then they went on a facility tour with mommy in tow. She didn’t get the job. Guys, don’t bring one of your parents to your job interview. This isn’t high school and it’s not a parent-teacher conference.
My boss was interviewing a lady who asked what the dress code was. My boss told her business causal. The lady then puts her feet up on my boss’s desk and says “good because these are the only pair of shoes I am ever going to own”
This one kid was very proud of the fact that he got so mad one time, he punched a couple windows on a bus and broke them. Somehow he thought this was a good story to tell us in the interview.
A mom called asking why I hadn’t called back their 18 year old son, then mocked me for sounding young and asked how old I was while still trying to get them an interview.
Guy came in reeking of booze. Decided this would be a quick interview and then move him out. After coup,e questions he said let’s forget about my questions as he’s got questions for me, then proceeded to hit on me hard and heavy. Luckily I’d learned the trick to a,ways sit them towards back of the room and me close to the door so I made my excuses and left the room. Got security. Confiscated his keys as he’d driven and got him a cab home. Receptionist warned me the next day when he was in picking his keys up so I wouldn’t bump into him by accident.
During the oral interview with a hiring panel, he had long, drawn out pauses between the question being asked and him answering. The answers themselves were often not related to the question asked or he would go off on tangents.
As one of the panel members said once he left “Guess he shouldn’t have smoked that second joint in the parking lot “.
I worked in an organization focused on social justice and in the interview we asked the candidate their experience working in a diverse environment and he said “well, I won’t get you sued if that’s what you are asking, I already learned that lesson the hard way.”
I asked a man, recent PhD grad, to give an example of a time when he had a conflict or different opinion from a coworker (standard question). He said “oh I’ve never had a conflict with anyone, I’m super chill.” When I asked for him to elaborate he basically said he would pretend to agree with whatever his PI or supervisor said and then as soon as that person wasn’t around he would just continue on doing whatever he wanted. So basically, 30 year old man had never learned dialogue and discussion and openly admitted to deception to get what he wants. Obviously, we did not hire him.
I was interviewing a candidate for a technical position ( electronic design )
I handed them a dry erase marker and asked them to draw ( this particular easy circuit) on the white board and explain how it works.
The candidate stood in front of the white board looking uncomfortable and I heard them say under their breath “I hate the truth”
Was hiring an assistant for my business that required someone who worked well with people.
The only experience she had working with people was applying cosmetics to corpses for their open coffin funeral.
I asked about other jobs and her experiences with coworkers. She told me her favorite job was analyzing slides under a microscope- because she didn’t have to deal with people!
A dude told me one time he stole from his last job because “they deserved that s**t” I really appreciated the honesty but, had to pass on that guy.
Refusing to take out an air pod during interview. I guess they took out one, that should be good enough right?
My boss had a zoom interview with a dude who didn’t bother to put on a shirt. He didn’t get the job…
Edit: It was for a job as a baker in Ontario. Apparently he looked like he just rolled out of bed. No shirt. My boss barely remembered his interview answers because she spent the whole time thinking “why isn’t he wearing a shirt? is it a flesh coloured tshirt. Nope….”
Edit 2: He also wasn’t jacked. At all.
Also, not the hiring manager but in the tech sector.. All questions I asked were directed to my male colleague. Our lead architect happened to be female so that wasn’t going to fly very well..
Truthfully, there were enough problems with some of the international teams that we didn’t need this behavior on the local team as well.
Software dev manager here. Asked a potential Sr. Developer candidate how he felt about mentoring staff. His response was “well I don’t mind answering a question here and there, but I’m certainly not going to train my competition.”
I did not hire this person.
Had a guy come in wearing his HS wrestling medals… idr exactly how old he was but minimum age for the job was 21 so he was at least that
Resumes: All capitals – don’t shout at me man I’m just trying to hire someone. Jumping around jobs – staying somewhere for a couple of weeks/months over and over. When you have to put in the effort training someone it feels like a waste of time. Focusing on high school achievements when you’re over 30. (Straight out of school, this is fine)
Interviews: showing up late and demanding to be seen. Not dressing appropriately. Stinking of weed (it’s not legal here). Talking to the male in the room and ignoring me (I was the boss) he’s here to take notes. Making inappropriate jokes. Showing up unclean (don’t be stinky it’s gross).
They asked to take a cigarette break in the middle of the interview.
Canned answers, like ones you’d learn off the internet.
When I sense that the candidate is just reciting that b******t, I throw in some wierd question. Such as, “If you could play only one sport for the rest of your life, what would it be?”
It’s not the answer, it’s how they answer it.
Not me, but my dad works in the oil and gas industry and the first thing his interviewee said was “I don’t really wanna work in oil and gas”
I interviewed someone who claimed to speak a foreign language that we’d been clear wasn’t essential but would have been a bonus. A guy claimed to speak, read and write fluently so I gave him a pre prepared paragraph to translate. He asked me if we had the translation as well and when I said that I did, he stood up and said “well was worth a try, I don’t really” and walked out.