You won’t find better storytellers than personnel professionals. Their strange but true interview experiences can be so outlandish, outsiders may question their voracity. But if you’re a recruiting professional, you might just shrug and respond with an equally strange tale. As odd as these tales are, there are plenty of job-search lessons to be learned from the following interview stories.
Jeremy Eskenazi recounts a recruitment story about his attempt to woo a respected recruiter from a competitor. He took the candidate to a local eatery where the interviewee ordered “enough food for a family of six.” Finishing a portion of the meal, he requested doggie bags for leftovers, leaving Eskenazi wondering if he had just bought the man’s groceries. Eskenazi doesn’t say whether the frequent eater was hired, but each time he shares the story, it’s a reminder that even the looniest job interview candidates should be treated with respect and dignity.
Elizabeth Bromstein has alibrary of bizarre interview storiesculled from colleagues. A favorite originated with the company CEO who named an interviewee “Frankentramp” because she was unapologetic about trashing her employer’s wife (who had the audacity to disapprove of her skimpy outfits and non-stop flirting). The same CEO hosted a job-seeker who arrived drenched in so much perfume, he cut short the interview and dubbed her “The Stench of Doom.” Another of Bromstein’s colleagues recalls the candidate who named 50 Shades of Grey as her favorite business read. The takeaway from this trio of strange but true interviews? Women would do well to focus as much time and attention on their comportment as on their resumes.
The administrators overseeing the PBP Employment Blog had so many strange but true interview stories to share, they devoted a website page to them. A favorite? The recruiting manager who hired a terrific-on-paper candidate to conduct oversight on construction projects. Unfortunately, the credentialed new hire had flaws—like maxing out a new corporate credit card on clothes just before leaving project explosives unattended by the side of the road. This strange but true story ends just as strangely: the dynamite employee denied everything. When hiring the wrong candidate blows up in a recruiter’s face, it’s not unusual for him become more skeptical. Job seekers would do well to take this as a cautionary tale: don’t let careless behavior blow future job prospects if you want a recommendation.
In the interest of gender equality (see Story #2), this strange but true interview story is about a man who underwent rigorous interviews before an offer was made during a face-to-face with the female recruiting manager. To seal the deal, he treated the HR pro to “a strange pat on the back which lasted a little too long” in place of the traditional handshake. After months on the job, the unlicensed masseuse got his walking papers, despite building a reputation as an equal opportunity back rubber. Important lesson for all interviewees and new hires: Keep your hands to yourself under all circumstances while on the job. This is particularly important at the office Christmas party.
In the realm of strange but true interview stories, there are lessons to be learned, but storytelling plays a critical role in the job search process. Candidates unable to articulate their life stories make it hard for HR professionals to figure out if they are good matches for the company. That’s why job seekers should improve their interviewing chances by developing their confidence and skills. LiveCareer’sinterview videos can help you take your interviewing abilities to the next level.
LiveCareer shares real-world job interview bombs.