Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

91 Ludicrous Things That Candidates Have Said and Done in Interviews…

By Anthony Hughes | May 7, 2015 | Friday Funnies

We all panic a little bit when it comes to interviews.

It’s only natural under the intense pressure of trying to impress someone we’ve never met before.

Usually, they never turn out as badly as we thought they would…emphasis on usually.

This week, we’ve put together some of our favourite interview horror stories, hilarious anecdotes and our own cringe-worthy first hand experiences.

You may think that your last interview went particularly badly, but chances are you’ve got nothing on these poor candidates (and if you do, I really feel for you!)

You Said What?!

Verbal diarrhoea can strike even the most confident of interviewees and we’ve heard some pretty hilarious one-liners in our time.

Some people could really do with a filter…

1. “I’ve had too much Valium to give you a real representation of myself.”
2. “I’ve never heard such a stupid question.”
3. “I’ve just had a chat with the other candidates – they’re rubbish!
4. “Sorry, I think I’m still a little drunk from last night.”
5. “The last time I faced such interrogation was with my parole officer.”
6. “I really am the dog’s boll@#@#!”
7. “I’d appreciate it if you actually listened to me rather than just take notes.”
8. “Salary is very important, my gambling debts are rising.”
9. “You really get my juices flowing.”
10. “I get on with everyone really, except maybe old people.”

Abominable Answers!

Of course, even when candidates are given a helping hand, with structured questions guiding them in the right direction, the risk of verbal diarrhoea is ever present…

Why are you leaving your current role?

11. ‘I had an affair with my boss.’
12. ‘I’m not really very good at it.’
13. ‘I beat up my boss.’
14. ‘We worked with a lot of money and I was always so tempted to steal.’
15. ‘My boss is too needy and to be honest, I just can’t be arsed with him anymore.’

Why do you want to work with us?

16. ‘My parents told me I had to get a job and earn some money.’
17. ‘I live just around the corner.’
18. ‘My friend works here.’
19. ‘It’s a job, isn’t it?’
20. ‘My wife will kill me if I don’t get a job soon.’

What are your weaknesses?

21. ‘I’m don’t like cleaning my bathtub.’
22. ‘Scotch!’
23. ‘Blonde-haired, blue-eyed women – a bit like you!’
24. ‘Interviews!’
25. ‘I have none. I’m genuinely perfect.’

What do you do in your spare time?

26. ‘Well, I mud-wrestle on the weekends.’
27. ‘You really don’t want to know…’
28. ‘I’m a young, virile man and I’m single – if you ladies know what I’m saying.’
29. ‘I do like to travel around England, cottaging.’
30. ‘I just go out and get smashed to be honest.’

Have you got any questions for us?

31. ‘Can I have your secretary’s number?’
32. ‘How many young women work here?’
33. ‘Do background checks include drunk and disorderly charges?’
34. ‘When will I meet the important people in the decision-making process?’
35. ‘Exactly what does the company do?’

Did these blunders tickle you? You can discover more ridiculous questions candidates have asked in our previous blog: 20 Questions you should never ask in an interview.

Fashion Faux Pas.

We always recommend showing up to interviews extremely smartly dressed (in a suit) and ready to impress. Unfortunately, some people must have missed that top tip.

Say what you will, at least these candidates will be memorable…

36. The candidate who cycled to the interview, wearing a lycra suit (he didn’t get changed).
37. The candidate who showed up in the cat suit.
38. The candidate who’s trousers fell down (he’d borrowed them from a fairly sizeable friend).
39. The candidate who wore a little black cocktail dress and silver glittery shoes to the interview.
40. The candidate who wore sunglasses throughout the interview.
41. The candidate who showed up in joggers and a hoody.
42. The candidate who arrived with just one shoe on.
43. The candidate who wore a cap saying ‘take this job and shove it.’
44. The candidate who wore fluffy slippers to the interview.
45. The candidate who showed up with her shirt on inside out.

Bring in Backup!

Some candidates feel so nervous at the prospect of interviewing that they bring back-up with them!

46. The candidate who brought homemade cakes to the interview (smooth move!)
47. The candidate who brought her best friend along with her.
48. The candidate who brought along a guitar and performed a song for her interviewers.
49. The candidate who brought along a reference from his 3-year-old daughter.
50. The candidate who brought her mum along with her.
51. The candidate who actually brought along his referee to give a face-to-face reference.
52. The candidate who announced his arrival with a singing telegram.
53. The candidate who brought along his personal photo album.
54. The candidate who brought along their huge, mucky dog to the interview.
55. The candidate who brought along juggling balls and performed during the interview.

How Rude!

Interview etiquette is so important. With a tough decision to make in only a limited amount of time, the interviewer will be scrutinising your every move.

Not that you’d ever commit any of these rude interview faux pas, surely…

56. The candidate who answered her phone 7 times during the interview.
57. The candidate who ditched an empty can of beer in the office bin before the interview.
58. The candidate who finished off all of the complimentary sweets in the sweet bowl.
59. The candidate who kept her earphones in throughout the interview.
60. The candidate who sent her sister to the interview in her place.
61. The candidate who rang his wife mid-interview to argue about who would cook dinner.
62. The candidate who whistled while the interviewer was talking.
63. The candidate who ordered a bottle of wine at an 11am breakfast interview.
64. The candidate who answered every question with a question.
65. The candidate who passed wind during the interview and blamed it on the interviewer.

Hygiene Horrors!

For most people, interviews are incredibly out of the ordinary and occasionally they may even forget where they are.

Whether a cringe-worthy accident or through a sincere lack of awareness, some of these unhygienic horrors will seem too terrible to be true…

66. The candidate who accidentally sneezed a pasta shell onto the table.
67. The candidate who kept blowing her nose, leaving dirty tissues on the table.
68. The candidate who openly picked their nose during the interview.
69. The candidate who willingly offered urine for a blood test – the urine was not human.
70. The candidate who took off her socks and placed them on the table during the interview.
71. The candidate with bird poo on his shoulder that he just hadn’t noticed.
72. The candidate who clipped their fingernails during the interview.
73. The candidate who threw up on the desk and carried on asking questions as if it hadn’t happened.
74. The candidate who took out their chewing gum and stuck it to the table.
75. The candidate who decided to share the interviewer’s water (without asking).

Just Plain Weird!

These unexplainable and inexcusable bizarre interview no-nos will leave even the most articulate of people beyond words.

What were they thinking?

76. The candidate who asked their interviewer for a hug.
77. The candidate who played footsie with one of the interviewers.
78. The candidate who kept doing impressions of Yoda (Star Wars).
79. The candidate who’s accent changed mid-interview, from English to Scottish.
80. The candidate who showed up with a cockatoo on their shoulder.
81. The candidate who challenged the interviewer to an arm wrestle.
82. The candidate who offered to get the corporate logo tattooed onto his forearm.
83. The candidate who took a photo of his interviewer without permission.
84. The candidate who started doing press-ups (to demonstrate their hobby).
85. The candidate who took part in the telephone interview, whilst in the bath.
86. The candidate who tried to fist-bump the interviewer.
87. The candidate who continuously called the interviewer ‘babe’ and ‘sweetie’.
88. The candidate who admitted to hiring someone to murder her ex-husband.
89. The candidate who hadn’t been invited to the group interview he attended.
90. The candidate who stared unflinchingly into the interviewer’s eyes for the entire interview.

And the winner is!

91.The candidate who, realising he was not going to get the job, proceeded to do a number 2 in a potted plant (while the interviewer left the room…hopefully).


So, it’s really not the end of the world if you mess up an interview. As you can see, everyone does it (some more splendidly than others).

Whether you’re holding on to a memory that still makes you cringe, or you’ve got an interview coming up and you’re feeling nervous, take comfort in the fact that others have been there, done that and let’s face it, you’re probably not going to beat the 91 culprits on this list! (That’s not a challenge.)

Recruiter Pro Tip

In truth, it’s the hiring manager’s job to help candidates to feel at ease during the interview process.

Of course, there will always be those who’ll not quite “get it” (turning up in a Lycra bodysuit springs to mind) but looking past the obvious eccentricities, you never know where the great employees are hiding.

Happy Friday!

- Anthony Hughes

Anthony Hughes

Anthony is a recruitment veteran of 18 years and is also one of the original founders of Coburg Banks. He now trains recruitment consultants on the best methods to utilise when sourcing and assessing applicants for their clients. 


> More blog posts by Anthony Hughes

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