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The Top Ten Things You Shouldn't Say in a Job Interview

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 2 2

Tape on Mouth(48006)
Credit: © Gemenacom | Dreamstime.com

I've been a small business owner for many years, and even though I employed a relatively small number of people, I've interviewed a large number of job candidates to fill those positions with the very best people available.  Unfortunately, just as a princess may have to kiss a lot of frogs before finding her prince, employers must often wade through a morass of woefully unqualified applicants to find that special someone who can make a real difference in the workplace.  What follows is a list of the Top Ten most incredibly moronic things that anyone's ever said to me in a job interview (and my reactions).  Enjoy!

#10:  When asked the standard question, "Why should I hire you for this position?" one applicant replied, "Well... I really, really need the money.  My car was repossessed last week, I am about to be evicted from my apartment, and my roommate's buddy stole our entire stash of pot.  Hey, do you think I could borrow $50?" (Umm, no.)

#9:  In response to a question about his computer skills, one applicant bragged, "I've been a hacker all my life.  Heck, I break into my ex-boss's secure network all the time."   I asked, "Isn't that kind of  illegal?"  He grinned and replied, "Yeah, but he's a complete jerk, so it's okay."  (What if I'm a total jerk, too?)

#8:  When one prospective employee showed up for his interview reeking of alcohol and visibly staggering, I asked, "Are you drunk?"  He thought about it for a moment, then replied, "Maybe.  Is that a problem?"  (I'm guessing yes, it's a problem.)

#7:  Near the end of what seemed like a pretty good interview so far, I wrapped things up by asking the applicant, "Well, do have any questions for me?"   He mulled it over for a moment, then asked, "If I bring my own sleeping bag, would it be okay if I just slept on the floor of the office every night?  It's okay if there are no showers here, I can shower every couple days over at the YMCA."  (It depends, do you snore? I sleep in the next cubical over.) 

#6:  While applying for a customer service position, one young man asked, "You aren't going to make me talk to people, are you?  I really hate dealing with people.  Could you just put me in a back room somewhere, where they can't tick me off?"  (Yes, but then you'd be ticking me off.)

#5:  An applicant for an I.T. position told me in his interview that he had over fifty web sites!  As a former web site designer myself, I was a little sceptical, so I asked for the names of some of the sites.  He hesitated for a moment, then said, "I don't remember, but I can show you!"  I  agreed and let him sidle up to my computer, where he clicked on the browser's menu bar, and then exclaimed in shock, "Hey!  My web sites aren't there!"  It turns out, when he said he had fifty web sites, he meant he had them bookmarked... at home.  (Are you going to need any help working that doorknob on your way out?)

#4:  An attractive young lady arrived for her interview wearing a rather revealing outfit that was better suited for the beach than for a job interview.  When I mentioned to her that it's generally a good idea to "dress for success" when interviewing for a job, she leaned in conspiratorially and whispered, " Would it help if I told you that Im not wearing any underwear?"  (It helps me a little...  You, not so much.)

#3.  When I asked one candidate about when he would be able to start, he replied, "Start?  Oh, geez... I don't actually want the job.  I just needed an interview, so I can continue getting my unemployment checks."  (Right.  And I just need to call your caseworker...)

#2.  One applicant, when asked why he had left his previous employment confided to me, "I got tired of constantly being accused of stealing money from the cash register."  (Nods.  Yeah, I hate it when that happens.  Next!)

#1.  The  most moronic thing anyone's ever said to me in a job interview was something I've heard more than a few times from job applicants who are, apparently, unfamiliar with the concept of doing their homework before arriving for an interview:  "Cool place!  What is it y'all do here, anyway?"  (Mostly, we just sit around and make fun of applicants like yourself.)

So there you have them - the Top Ten most moronic things anyone's ever said in a job interview.  Feel free to print this list and keep it with you, for those times when you feel like you could have done better in your job interview... as an effective reminder that you could also have done much, much worse!



May 17, 2011 12:28am
You sound as if you've had your share of winners (er, wieners)over the years. My favorties are the ones who have asked if they'll be required to take a drug test ("well,since you ASKED ... ")and the ones whose first question out of their piehole is "How much do ya'll pay?" ("You'll never know -- next!") Good article.
May 17, 2011 11:08am
Actually, my all-time favorite was one I can't write about, at least in a family magazine. It involved seven women from the Oahu State Prison Work-Release Program all showing up for a job interview at the same time. Hmmm... is Penthouse Forum still taking submissions...? LOL
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