We talk about the job search a lot here at The Muse, and we thought we had heard some wild interview stories in our day.
Well, you absolutely proved us wrong.
We asked you a few weeks ago to share your tales of crazy interviews, and today we’re sharing the best of the bunch. From tales of drunk interviewers (yes, really) to mind-blowing medical emergencies, these real-life stories will make you laugh, cry, and definitely be glad they happened to someone else.
1. Must Love Dogs?
I recently had an interview at a digital creative agency that has a large, open office space in DUMBO. As I am hoping to make a switch from corporate America to a startup, I am naturally drawn to the perks that many of these firms have. The agency boasts that, in addition to its diverse staff, numerous drinking-related outings, and a ping pong table, it employs a few office dogs. As a New Yorker who is barely able to care for himself, I figured this would be as close to having as a puppy as possible and even mentioned my love of canines in my cover letter.
The interview went fine—nothing out of the ordinary, just the run of the mill questions. After our conversation ended, the interviewer started to walk me out of the conference room, past his Pilates ball-sitting colleagues toward the exit, when one of the part-time pooches decided to greet me. And by greet me, I mean, bite my leg.
As an avid follower of The Muse, I was dumbstruck on the best way to react to being chomped at the tail end of an interview. This scenario was nowhere to be found in my interview preparation check list, which is now revised to look like this:
- Mention how much your leg stings when asked if you are okay.
- Casually confirm that you are not bleeding.
- Ask if there is an email template readily available to ask for reimbursement of a ripped interview-caliber suit.
- Smile and say you are probably vaccinated.
- Thank the interviewer for his time, shake his hand, and leave.
Fortunately, no damage was done to me or my suit, though Fido’s feedback was taken into consideration, so I did not receive an offer.
2. Damn You, Auto-Correct
I had just finished interviewing with a company for a nonprofit job that I really wanted. I decided to be super-proactive and email the executive director a few hours after my interview. I was out and about, so I emailed her from my iPhone.
While I thought I wrote “I can hardly contain my excitement about the possibility of working with your organization,” auto-correct changed “excitement” to “excrement.” It was far and away the worst auto-correct disaster I have ever had. I immediately called the executive director back to apologize profusely. She was laughing so hard on the other end that I knew my auto-correct nightmare wouldn’t hijack all of my chances for getting the job.
While I didn’t end up getting the job there, I did remain connected with the executive director. She said she would “never forget me.” There’s no way I’ll ever forget it either!
3. Driving Lessons
One place almost killed me.
It was a full-day interview, and I thought it had gone pretty well. I wasn’t sure it was the place for me just due to the vibe, but I didn’t feel like I’d failed or anything.
It went crazy on the ride home.
The person who was driving me to the airport had picked up a Zipcar-like thing from Enterprise. She immediately apologized because “The emergency brake is on, but I can’t figure out how to release it.” I looked and said that it was one of the pedal ones, and she needed to push down on it with her foot to release it. So she did, and off we went.
As we drove, I noticed that she was driving a little erratically. We kept hitting the ridges on the right and then she would correct. Since the driver was correcting, I tried to remain calm because I knew the airport wasn’t far. Also, it was still a job interview, and I didn’t want to be critical.
Then she didn’t correct. We hit the ridges, and I hoped she’d correct, but she didn’t. I said, “Um... [Name],” but it was too late, and we slammed into the guard rails (we were on a bridge). That woke her up! She apologized, and we made it to the airport a few minutes later. My door was smashed so badly, I had to crawl out the driver’s side door.
I wasn’t hurt, luckily. As it turned out, the rubber had come off the emergency brake pedal. When it released, it cut her foot, and she was driving erratically because she was lightheaded and trying not to pass out. She did not drive home after dropping me off.
I didn’t get the job. I apparently came in second. Which was OK—I don’t know if I would have fit in well there. Funny thing though: A friend of mine got an interview with the same place later. He told me that they were having a driver pick him up instead of a member of the search committee, and he thought that was weird.
I knew why!
4. Remember Me?
I got a call back for a job I had applied for at a restaurant. The manager asked me to swing by the next morning, and so I did.
When I got there, he wasn’t in. The lady at the front desk called him on his cell and handed the phone to me and walked away. He was a little confused as to why I was calling him. I explained that he had called me and we were supposed to have an interview that morning. He apologized because he did not remember but asked me to join him out at the golf course where he was playing.
I thought it was odd but decided to go. When I got to the golf course I couldn’t find him anywhere, so I got the golf pro to drive me around the course. We eventually found the guy on the ninth hole. I got out of the cart and walked the rest of the course (in my heels) while he played and asked me random interview-ish questions. At the very end he said he would get back to me.
When I got home, there was a message waiting for me from his boss saying that I was not to accept any offers until he could speak to me in person. Now, I was totally baffled! A few days went by, and the big boss called again and wanted to speak with me. Turns out, the manager was a drunk, and they fired him. They then offered me his job. I did take the job and worked for them for a couple of years.
Related: 5 Red Flags in a Job Interview
5. No Pain, No Gain
When I started in the financial services industry and had my first interview at Smith Barney, I felt totally prepared. Super fabulous resume? Check. Snazzy suit for my interview? Check. Prep-work done? Check. I was thrilled to be living in New York at the time and excited to get moving on my career.
What I wasn’t prepared for was my foot falling asleep midway through the interview.
You wouldn’t think this was such a big deal, but as I had just been sitting for 45 minutes in the same position, I had completely cut off the blood supply to my right foot. Thankfully my interviewer had already offered me the job, but as I stood to shake her hand, I put some weight onto my foot and spectacularly toppled over and crashed into the chair next to me, consequently spraining my ankle. I have never seen anyone look as shocked or at loss for words as my interviewer in that moment as I righted myself and started apologizing profusely.
I limped away with as much dignity as I could muster, saying I would be in touch with my answer. As I hobbled out all I could do was laugh at myself and the absurdity of the situation. Talk about first impressions!
6. Interview With a Side of Sexual Harassment
I once had a job interview for an ad sales position. I sat down with my potential future boss and, before either of us said anything, he looked me up and down and said, “Well, you certainly have the [looks directly into my chest] assets to entice our car dealership clients.”
I was completely covered up and wearing a Brooks Brothers suit. I’m pretty sure I did a slow head tilt in disbelief.
7. Let’s Slip Into Something a Little More—Interview-Appropriate?
During my freshmen year of high school, I interviewed for a summer job. I was in a bit of a hurry before the interview. I threw on a pair of slacks and put on my slippers so I could run out to the car to grab my dress shirt.
After I finished getting dressed, I raced to the interview. It wasn’t until I got out of the car that I realized I forgot to switch from my navy blue slippers to loafers.
More than likely the interviewer (and my future boss) didn’t notice, because I landed the job. I haven’t been confident enough to try this again, but it was undoubtedly the most comfy interview I have had!