Your interview nightmares revealed

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Everyone has their own interview bugbears…

But aside from just turning up late or an obvious lack of preparation, what are the worst things a candidate can do to guarantee rejection?

We asked more than 200 of you to share your all-time top interview faux-pas to find out:


No shirt, no shoes…

As the old saying goes, you are how you look. Unfortunately however, some candidates underestimate the importance of appearance, and end up looking exactly what they are – unprofessional.

Some of your favourite interview fashion faux-pas included:

 The male candidate arriving to an interview wearing jeans and no top

 The female candidate offering to change shoes half-way through questioning (and then proceeding to take out the entire contents of her bag to show the extra shoes she had brought)

 A skype interview conducted entirely in pyjamas

 A one-eyebrowed applicant

 The candidate who incorporated ‘protection’ into their outfit (saucepan lids stitched into the lining of their overcoat). Yes, we’re confused too.


Our favourite? The gentleman who arrived at the interview wearing a fishing hat full of bait (N.B. he was not applying for a position at a tackle shop).


The nervous eaters…

Unfortunately, some people get a little peckish when they’re panicking. The most sensible applicants opt for a well-balanced breakfast before the big day to avoid the mid-interview rumbles. Then there are the less sensible options…

For some of you these options included:

 Someone pulling out a cereal bar from their bag when things got a little too much

 The liquid lunch interview (‘Am I allowed to order a beer?’)

 An impromptu interview picnic

 The interviewee who managed to take in a takeaway before turning up


Bringing the bestie…

To combat interview anxiety, some candidates turn to loved ones for some much needed moral support. Unfortunately, sometimes this is taken a little further than a pre-interview phone call or text message, and applicants actually bring their sources of encouragement with them.

Moral support for certain interviewees included:

 A candidate’s best friend

 Extended members of the family (including, but not limited to, aunts and uncles)

 Spouses (In one case, a man even took his wife into the interview with him. Unfortunately, she proceeded to answer most of the questions for him).


Our favourite? The applicant that brought their mum to the interview and left her in the lobby.


You have nothing to fear but fear itself… and ducks

Many interviewees would admit to feeling scared before an interview. In fact, it’s a perfectly natural reaction. What isn’t as natural is running out of an interview screaming half-way through.

Our favourite unusual interview phobia was the poor young lady who applied for a job in a lake-side office but who had make a sharp exit on account of her overwhelming fear of ducks.

Our advice? To avoid awkward situations, always check the area you conduct your interviews in (and hope an applicant’s Anatidaephobia* doesn’t get the better of them).


I’ve started, so I’ll…

Finally, some your most popular gripes included:

 People asking for a cigarette break during proceedings

 Applicants arriving with no idea what job they’re being interviewed for

 People asking their interviewers out on dates


Our favourite? One keen interviewee in the East Midlands, who completed over half of the interview before rushing out without explanation. It turns out their parking ticket had expired.

At least they managed to avoid a fine.


Honourable mentions:

People with personal space issues (including almost sitting on an interviewer’s lap by mistake)
The candidate who left their headphones in
The candidate who only spoke in rhymes
The candidate who asked to borrow money
The candidate who arrived in a dustbin lorry (no, really)
Although in fairness to the latter, they were only hitchhiking


*The fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you.



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