Have you ever been in an interview and had to stand for a second and simply think, “WTF?!!”? Well. You are not alone.

Let’s face it: Things could go wrong – monumentally wrong! Everyone is capable of doing jaw-droppingly bizarre, maddeningly frustrating things.

But take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.

Here are some of the awesomely awkward, funny, and bizarre recruiting stories we’ve found in the net, told by hiring managers and the interviewees themselves.

Not the hair. Pretty please.

Bruce Hurwitz, an executive recruiter, and career counselor, found an applicant who seemed perfect for one of his clients. This candidate was a bald guy. But of course, that wasn’t an issue. Bruce, however, was surprised when showed up for the interview having used “hair-in-a-can” to paint his head black. Bruce recalls:

“It was a warm day. As the interview progressed, he started to perspire. The paint started to run down his forehead — not a lot, maybe a quarter of an inch. I did not laugh even though I thought I was going to do myself a personal injury by keeping it in!”

At interview’s end, Hurwitz told the man he wanted to submit him to the client but couldn’t because of his “hair.”

The man smiled and said, “You mean my toupee?”

Hurwitz mustered, “Yes. Promise me you won’t wear it, and I’ll submit you.”

All ended well.


I know what you did last summer.

Ed Hunter of Hunted.com asked his followers on LinkedIn to email in their funniest recruitment stories, and this one really stood out.

“Hi Ed,

I used to share a house with two guys, we all liked a party.

We are all out One night, and one of our housemates, we will call bob, got lucky, with a rather drunken, but equally good looking gentleman, who for this we will call Dave.

Bob and Dave left a little early to head home for “cocoa”. Half an hour later Bob is ringing both myself and my other housemate frantically, we head home to find ‘Dave’ had passed out naked in our bathroom, covered in his own vomit and had wet himself!!!

Three days later I have a meeting with a new client, I arrive at said meeting with a colleague, (the whole office knew the story BTW). The new client was Dave who instantly recognized me, the meeting was a tad awkward.”

Well, that was not awkward. Ah-huh. Not at all. Or, was it?


Not an interview but a……

Kara Shorthouse, a hiring manager, shared one of her unforgettable job interview encounters. Kara wrote on Firefish Software:

“Candidate turned up for the interview with her 3 kids.”


She’s got a point.

So, the job opening was for an admin assistant who could help with typing proposals. The recruiting manager decided to hire a woman who said she could type 75 words per minute. The hiring manager did not bother to give her a test and hired her on a probationary basis.

Rushing past her desk to an important meeting, the manager happened to notice that new hire’s computer screen was completely filled with spelling errors and mistakes.

And so he wondered and asked. “What are you doing? You seem to be ignoring the spell check warnings.”

Very calmly, she replied, “Oh, I do that at the end. How else could I type 75 words per minute if I stopped every time I made a mistake?”

And he didn’t see that one coming.


When the sky falls.

“One of my first jobs as a supervisor was to interview candidates for an administrative assistant. We scheduled a full day of screenings. Following a very wet and rainy night, some areas of our office roof were leaking and maintenance had a couple of buckets in the hallway. Not a great first impression, but hey, it was a quaint old office building. Each applicant had to complete a battery of written tests.

As one candidate dutifully sat at a desk outside my office, I heard a “crack,” a “swoosh” and then a huge splash. The ceiling tile just above the candidate had collapsed under the weight of the rainwater and drenched her. Wet but unharmed, the experience clearly dampened her spirits and her prized interview suit. She immediately informed me that she was no longer interested in the job.” – Legh S. via Careerbuilder.co.uk

Would she quit had she looked like this? I wonder.


Not everyone recovers from a virus.

“I sent a digital resume and cover letter via email to apply for a position as a technical writer. Within a few hours, a message from the director in charge of hiring came via email. Full of anticipation, I opened the email to find a terse message: ‘your resume is infected with a virus and has been quarantined.’ A person cannot recover from an infected resume. I did not pursue the position further.” – via ResumeEdge.com 


When in doubt? Well-endowed.

“Ten years ago, I was interviewing a potential employee. His CV was perfect, education spot-on. Where he failed was attaching a full-frontal naked picture on the CV. I still hired him, but it took all my willpower to only ever look him straight in the face.” – via Social Talent

If you were the hiring manager, would you hire him? Hmmm.


Guess HR needs help?

“Interviewer: SQL
Me: Structured Query Language? SQL Server? Something else?
Interviewer: No idea. Ethernet!
Me: I know what it is. Anything specific?
Interviewer: Are you certified?
Me: To do what?
Interviewer: I have no idea. HR puts all this crap on my sheet and I am not an engineer. Can you do network stuff?
Me: Sure! Love it!
Interviewer: Great. Start Monday. God, I hate HR.”


This is a perfect example when your hiring manager doesn’t have an inkling about the job opening they’re trying to fill in the first place. This is understandable for highly specialized jobs like information technology and engineering. In cases like this, it is better to seek the help of specialized staffing firms. Yes, I am pitching. So, give us a call when you need help. Ciao!