Bizarre job interview experiences

I’ve had my fair share of job interviews over my working life.

In nearly 2 decades of active work, I’m never surprised by the antics being pulled by interviewers.

Just when I think I’ve experienced it all, some recruiter decides to go one up.

From actual recruiters to hiring managers to MDs and CEOs. It seems being an oddball in job interviews is something people need to tick off their list.

So allow me to present some of the most bizarre things interviewers have done:

  1. No greeting, just a blank stare for a minute, followed by a sigh and then “why do you even want to work here?”
  2. Gifted me coffee before the interview (not entirely sure the reasoning). I sent a thank you email (for both the coffee and interview). Still waiting to hear back about the job.
  3. Got their appointments mixed up and wanted me to walk with them to their next appointment whilst huffing and puffing up and down stairs and to the other end of town. Never heard back.
  4. They were 1.5 hours late, didn’t apologise for being late and then proceeded to ask me for an on the spot audit of the website, paid media and social accounts. In a 15 minute timeframe.
  5. Told me I was wasting my time in the interview because “people of your experience don’t need this”. told me I was hired on the spot and that HR would work out the details. Never heard from them again.
  6. “Would you be ok working for our other 2 businesses as well?” When I asked what the other businesses were – “it’s confidential”. Can’t really say yes or no, can I?
  7. I went to an interview on the other end of town only to find out the interviewer got the date and time wrong. They weren’t even in the country. Their suggestion? Come back over the weekend and talk to someone else (was not the hiring manager or in HR). Yeah no thanks.
  8. An interviewer openly told me to my face that my current salary was a joke and my expected salary was an even bigger joke.
  9. I’ll never forget the interviewer who took his lunch and 2 phone calls during the meeting and then told me ‘1 sec’, walked out for 10 minutes and left me hanging until the receptionist came in to tell me he had to leave urgently and they’ll be in touch. You know they didn’t get in touch.
  10. And to top this list, because I’ve saved the best for last, is one of my very first interviews in Brisbane. I was interviewed in person at the agency’s office in the CBD. I thought it went well. I sent the recruiter a follow up email. No answer. I sent another. No answer. I physically went to the office and I was ushered away by another person claiming the recruiter was not in that day. The kicker? They were in the office – I literally saw them with my own eyes! This unfortunate experience at the start of my career has unfortunately set the way I view recruiters and recruitment in general. The real misfortune here isn’t just me being left burnt and betrayed. It’s the fact that this behaviour is so widespread.

I don’t exactly know why these things happen but it tells me a lot about the person.

There’s a clear lack of respect for the interviewee. There’s a disregard for people’s time and personally, I felt like I was looked down upon with disdain.

But the sad thing is, I’m not alone with this.

So many others go through the same things or worse. Every, single, day.

And that’s not ok. Because it’s inhumane.

So we need to do better and start treating jobseekers with respect and the same way we’d like to be treated.

It’s not hard to apologise if you’re late or need to reschedule.

It’s not hard to get up when someone enters the room, greet and acknowledge them and to make a bit of small talk.

It’s not hard to be respectful, polite and professional during the interview. Being on your phone, looking around aimlessly and generally showing no interest is just poor form.

And its definitely not hard to get back to the interviewee with an update on their interview – no matter the outcome.

If they were good enough to get to the interview stage with you, they deserve feedback.

Anyone saying otherwise is clearly delusional. And they’ve never had to jobhunt in their life.

Because anyone who’s ever had to go through the indignation of unemployment and a fruitless job search, would never treat a jobseeker like trash.

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