“Why the hell did I just say that?”
Have you ever said something in an interview and immediately, within seconds, regretted it?
Perhaps you accidentally swore (I’ve done it), lied for no good reason (I’ve done it) or maybe you completely misunderstood the question (I’ve done it)?
We all make mistakes when we’re put under pressure – but usually within reason.
The 30 most absurd (embarrassing, weird, silly) interview answers on our list however, may just have crossed the line…
Over the Telephone.
“Honesty is the best policy…” Is it? Is it really?
Question 1: Why do you want to work with us?
Absurd Answer 1: “My parents said I have to get a job or they’ll stop giving me money.”
Question 2: How large was the last organisation you worked for?
Absurd Answer 2: “Erm… about 3 floors”
Question 3: Why did you leave your last job?
Absurd Answer 3: “The boss was very needy, he micromanaged and I was never allowed to leave bang on time. In the end I just couldn’t be arsed to be honest”
Question 4: Can you tell me why you want to join the organisation you’ve applied for?
Absurd Answer 4: “Two secs, I’ve just got to pay this woman behind the counter.”
Question 5: Can you bring your references with you to the interview?
Absurd Answer 5: “I’m not sure, I’ll have to see if they can get the time off work”
Question 6: What don’t you like about your current job?
Absurd Answer 6: “Where do I start? The early starts, the people I work with, the commute, my crappy computer, the lack of decent coffee in the kitchen, shall I carry on?”
Question 7: What is your biggest weakness?
Absurd Answer 7: “Scotch.”
Question 8: Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Absurd Answer 8: “I’d like to stay for a few months and then, when I’ve earned enough, travel the world!”
Question 9: What motivates you?
Absurd Answer 9: “Salary is really important – I have a lot of gambling debts.”
Question 10: Tell me a little bit about your job history.
Absurd Answer 10: “Hold on, you’ve had my CV for 2 weeks now and you want to know about my job history? Typical lazy recruitment consultant, why can’t you do your job?”
Recruiter Pro Tip.
It’s very noble to try and tell the truth all the time… but just don’t expect a job out of it!
Need tips on how to triumph during a telephone interview? Check out this blog.
Some of these interview answers really do make me shudder.
Video interviews are a relatively new trend that employers often use as an alternative to telephone interviews, with the added bonus of actually seeing a candidate.
Unfortunately, not everyone is ready for the technological revolution…
Question 11: Can you see me?
Absurd Answer 11: “Yes… oh sorry, I wasn’t expecting you to be a woman.”
Question 12: Sorry James, have we disturbed you – you appear to be eating something?
Absurd Answer 12: (Through a mouth filled with food.) “No, no I’m not eating anything…”
Question 13: Do you have any questions for us?
Absurd Answer 13: “If I get a job offer, how long do I have before I have to take the drug test?”
Question 14: Can I just ask where you are right now..?
Absurd Answer 14: “Um… in the pub”
Question 15: Tell me about a time you had to work as part of a team…
Absurd Answer 15: “Hang on… two second… (whooping and hollering)… sorry Arsenal just scored. What did you ask me?”
Question 16: Have you got any questions for me?
Absurd Answer 16: “Is it acceptable to date co-workers… or managers?”
Question 17: Tell me a bit more about yourself. Do you have any hobbies or interests?
Absurd Answer 17: “Well, I particularly enjoy talking to beautiful women via Skype.”
Question 18: What do you do in your spare time?
Absurd Answer 18: “You really don’t want to know…”
Question 19: Why are you leaving your current place?
Absurd Answer 19: “I had an affair with the boss’s wife. It got messy.”
Question 20: Any plans for the weekend?
Absurd Answer 20: “Honestly? I’ll probably just go out and get smashed.”
It’s definitely best to be prepared for a video interview… honestly, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
If you’d like some guidance, check out this fab post from the Undercover Recruiter.
Back to our comfort zone, meeting someone face-to-face for a friendly chat… what’s the worst that could happen?
Question 21: Tell us about a problem you had with a fellow member of staff and how it was resolved.
Absurd Answer 21: “The problem was that we hated each other and the resolution was violence resulting us both being sacked.”
Question 22: Tell me of a time you made a mistake and how you dealt with it.
Absurd Answer 22: “I stole some equipment from my old job, and I had to pay for it to be replaced.”
Question 23: When have you demonstrated leadership skills?
Absurd Answer 23: “Well my best example would be in the world of online video gaming. I pretty much run the show; it takes a lot to do that.”
Question 24: Why did you leave your last job?
Absurd Answer 24: “I have a problem with authority.”
Question 25: Can you tell me about a weakness you have?
Absurd Answer 25: “I often have trouble oversleeping and getting out of bed in the morning”
Question 26: What are your hobbies and interests?
Absurd Answer 26: [He said] “Well, as you can see, I’m a young, virile man and I’m single – if you ladies know what I’m saying.” Then he looked at one of the fair-haired board members and said, “I particularly like blondes.”
Question 27: What do you know about us?
Absurd Answer 27: “Not much, why don’t you fill me in?”
Question 28: Describe yourself in three words:
Absurd Answer 28: “Tall, dark and handsome.”
Question 29: Have you got any further questions?
Absurd Answer 29: “Can you book me a taxi?”
Question 30: Why did you leave your previous job?
Absurd Answer 30: “I had too many hours to work… I was in at 9am and didn’t leave until 6pm!”
Well yes, that pretty much sums that up.
If you want to prepare yourself to give GOOD interview answers that impress (rather than terrify and bewilder) check out this week’s post, 10 Common Interview Questions and How to Answer.
I have a confession. I too have completely messed up interviews with ridiculously absurd interview answers.
Here are my “top” three…
Question: Where did you see the position advertised?
Absurd Answer: On my laptop.
Question: Why are you leaving your current job?
Absurd Answer: “Honestly, I’m just not very good at it.”
Question: What’s your biggest weakness?
Absurd Answer: “Interviews”
Have you done worse?
Please feel free to send us your interview horror stories, either via email or in the comment section below!
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A Quick Tip For Hiring Managers…
Try not to be too harsh on candidates who say silly things in interviews (within reason)!
A mixture of nerves, desperation to impress and generally being completely out of their comfort zone is obviously going to put them off.
Recruiter Pro Tip.
We always recommend that our clients try to ease candidates into the process.
Only then will you reveal the true ‘them.’
OR check out this condensed version, detailing the 6 different types of interview (with pros and cons).