Interview Stories, Tips, Tricks and Pitfalls

Real world interview experience is invaluable. Learn from these tales.
machinist By tired of jerks at work

ok if the shop foreman who interviews you and make reference to. i am easy to work for take it with a grain of salt. i been dooped by this and it hurt my family when i got take into the office and was told they no longer needed my services..due to me not liking the foreman which had alot of say so and power..i complained to the vp of the company about hia arrogance which after that it came down on me and i lost my job.. i honestly gave alot of effort at this job and being not so experienced on the machine they put me on i was learning it myself. when i asked the foreman about a code that was in the program his answer just put it in i dont 4 months of working there made me feel what a miserable place it was to be there for 9 hours a day. it had revolving door and such that the writing was on the wall for anyone. sure i can tell you when the foreman on the interview says if you dont work out you can have experience on these machines at least.. when you get interviewed you are also interviewing them also.. i was desperate to leave my other job and i did not think it thru only that the interview process can be a very serious thing some companies are desperate for workers for the skill shortage of machinist but i dont feel sorry.. with temp agencies and such i feel this creates a further easier way to throw people around in and out the door. or even have a person like me make a dumb decision to leave a job out of hoping its gets better at the new place..i wish everyone a well experience on the job the get. but always be on the look out for those interviews from hell that stand out when they open their mouths and give you insight into oh boy this guy sucks big time..

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Silent Interviewer Cringe By Photo Tech Defect

So I thought I did really well on my interview. I made the interviewers laugh and I asked a lot of questions. I even had some experience. Well turns out just 20 minutes after I left they posted the same job on the same website I was looking on. My phone refreshed the page and bam there it is. A big ole smack in the face.

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Use the car mirror to avoid this gaffe By rtfm

I was tripped up by this before I got used to doing it before going somewhere.

This took place in the 1980's when I was out of work one time. Home computers were still on the horizon, so I went to the main library to do research on a firm I had an interview with. It was a cool morning with a breeze that made my nose run slightly for a minute. I forgot about it as I entered the building.

Later that day I was interviewed by a woman. It seemed to go off without a hitch. I went home and at some point noted in the mirror that there was a bit of dried mucous near the tip of my nose. So it was no surprise when they hired someone else.

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Is that you for real!?! I was expecting someone else! By frogleghorn

I live in a city that is pretty much segregated. It kind of reminds me of one of them 17th century villages where the rich live in the center of town and the pheasants live on the outside except in modern times everything is in reverse. The poor now live in the inner city, the wealthy now on the outskirts. In my neck of the woods, the majority of blacks live on the east side, Asians got their little spot off the lake, the Hispanics congregate on the west side, and the whites predominantly occupy the surrounding suburbs. We all have a clique mentality where we live. If you got caught outside your zone, its not uncommon to get the what the hell are you doing on the wrong side of town look sometimes. With the recession and people losing their homes, its less common that people are getting the looks, but any who here's my interview stories that I've experience. I'm trying to tell the story without making it sound like I'm demonizing anyone, but I just want to share it.
I am of mixed origin and I have the unlucky name that someone associates with white people. Now, usually most people know that you can associate a name with a person's nationality. For example, if your name is Mohammed, a lot of people assume they are Arab, if your name is Jose, they might think you are Hispanic, etc. I'm extremely well spoken and I have a (what the interviewer might consider) a "white" name. Often some people also associate well spoken-ness to them also. I would get called for an interview and I would show up. They give me this look like what the hell are you doing here. Then they would go "Err, can I help you?". I would tell them that this is __________, I'm here for the 2pm interview. They would jump half way out their seats when they find out that I'm not white and they would have to do a double take like they got the wrong person and they are looking for someone else not my race but with the same name to show up. They nervously usher me into the interview room and when I walk in there the interviewer looks at me like he's acting like he's on Candid Camera ready to be pranked. This mainly occurred when I would apply in the suburbs. Has anyone had similar experiences?

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Please read below,..I made a list in order of how to apply for ONE JOB Online, it!!

CREATE LOGIN/ PASSWORD (hope that Cookies on yr browser allow the site to accept what you choose)



SELECT AREA OF EXPERTISE (all areas inclduing Toilet Cleaning, Paper Mache, Calculator etc.







READ AND SIGN OFF ON CREDIT CHECK (even though it sux & yr applying for a $20k Yr Job)

TAKE 150 QUESTION TIMED SKILLS ASESSMENT (I.E. 2 trains traveling 143.10112 Kilometers per hr)









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By Sphincter Detector:

That was hilarious!

By FollowJoshRhyne:

Haha, that's funny. On my site, I have a page where you can "Apply to Quit Your Job!"...

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a real attitude towards potential applicants By cushion

I was happily working at my job at the hospital, since I moved towards the West side, I thought I'd go look for something closer to home. Thru a friend the information got to me stating that this care home is looking for new applicants.

So, I got my things together and went to the HR office. I got re-directed to this "guys" door. I politely knocked and I guess I caught him off guard. We conducted this 30 second conversation in the door way of his office.

I asked "Does this facility have any job opportunities?"
This A*s of a man he is tells me:" Why are you applying when there is no job openings?". "Okay," I said, Thank You for your time,and I left the office. I called my friend told him what happened...he couldn't believe what happened. But my friend said "sorry". I told him, "nah, it's okay, it wasn't meant to be".

Now I have a family member as a resident in that facility.
my family members asked "how come I didn't apply here".
I told them the story...they couldn't believe what happened and how business was conducted. I shouldve contacted the Better Business Bureau right away. But, I didn't even get the guys name, he had no name on his desk or door, or any type of certificates? I should've asked what was his full name....

well, that was one of the worst things that happened to me.

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By chubby girl:

Go back to the place find the guy and ask his name. You have nothing to lose.

By Company doormat:

Something similar to that happened to me about a decade ago. I went in to ask for an application, this b of a lady confronts me before I even reach the office. Gives me the toes to head look, then say there are no openings.

By anonymous:

you may have been had, possibly by an other job seeker waiting for an interview.
there is a fair chance that the person was not who he pretended to be. (no name tag, no i.d.?)
i've seen at least one useless parttimer scare away applicants because she wanted a fulltime job for herself and a friend.

By anonymous:
  • yes! go back and check! -

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How ambitious should I act during a job interveiw? By Diana

This is actually a question. How ambitious should I come across during a job interview? It's been damned if you do, damned if you don't. If I say I'm looking to get my foot in the door and move up, they don't like that, they think I'll be looking to get out of the current position soon. If I say I'd be content as the Administrative Assistant for years to come, they don't like that either, it sounds like I have no goals. So I don't know which to do! How do you balance that out?

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By HaveADamnNiceDay:

Just say you're looking for a way to use your talents to benefit the company. If it means moving up, you're all over it. If it doesn't, that's ok, because you know you're not wasting your talent (provided the company is a worthwhile candidate to begin with).
Most importantly, though, be yourself. You shouldn't have to lie to get a job you'll end up hating anyways. The right one will come along.

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Bad Interviewers By TJ

I live in AZ & have to interview snafoos to tell.

Both are Tech Companies in Chandler, AZ.

Avnet and Pearson Education.

At Avnet,..I was interviewing for a Sales/Tech Assistant Position. I was first interviewed by a very professional and kind Sr Manager. I was then passed over to another person a girl who immeidately told me I was unqualified for the job but, proceeded to talk about her life as a Bartender and how cool she was.

Pearson,..I had a 2nd Interview for a Software Sales Position.

The first interview went really well,..very comfortable. The 2nd was conducted by two women. They went over my Resume and started asking me about Employment dates and would look at each other like,.."No Way", turned into an Interogation.
The associate of the Mangager interviewing me was hot but,...she was also wearing a top that totally showed her boobs and the white lace see thru bra she was wearing as her shirt had the top 3 buttons unbuttoned.

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By BonusOnus:

At the 2nd job, it sounds like you weren't gonna get the job. You should have made lemonade out of lemons and asked out the hot assistant for dinner.

By dontask 0 :):

...As long as you still have health insurance since after the "dinner" a checkup would be in order.

Seriously though I have lived here for quite some time and most job interviews are far from professional. Some of the "hot dress" is due to the lack of air conditioning and high temperatures. It's 112F today, and at least 115F+ at parking lots.

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The Running Man By Baset Case

I have had my second interview for a job. After a week, I've been contacted and told that I'm IN THE RUNNING. They still have a few more interviews.

What does all this mean? I either have the job or not? I'm not familiar with the interviewing process.

What the heck does "IN THE RUNNING" mean if you are still seeking other applicants for interview? Why won't they take me? Can someone explain this process? Have you ever heard of this? Is there a chance that I have the job?

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By BonusOnus:

Dude, in this environment (more job seekers than job positions), a company has a wider choice of perspective employees.

They are interviewing others to see which of you is the best fit. Unless you had 100% of all the things they wanted in a candidate, they are going to look at others.

Just be glad that you're in the running. If they didn't say that you're in the running, then that would be problematic.

Be patient. But also keep looking, because you aren't assured of getting this position.

By KC:

u didn't get it. if u got it, they would pick u within 1-2 days

By SouthernProgrammer:

In the 80's I was told I was "in the running" fo d kept getting the same story so I took another job. On a lark, I called four months later and was again told I was in the running. 11 months later I got a letter in the mail telling me I had not been selected. I laughed at how slow this company was...

By twiz:

Be patient. It is a good thing that they are keeping you in the loop. It means they want you to know the job is still a possibility...

By Baset Case:

I GOT THE JOB!!!!!!!

By HaveADamnNiceDay:

Hey Congratulations! Now take yourself out to dinner!!!! ^o^

By SouthernProgrammer:

Wow, almost four weeks since you interviewed!

Was this a Government (Fed or Local) job of some sort?

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What would YOU think? By HaveADamnNiceDay

Ok Scenario time. So I have an interview tomorrow and I'm trying to prepare for it, and I don't want a potential employer to think I'm unprofessional. The burning question for me today is:
If/When the potential employer asks me when I would be available to start.
You see, all, I don't plan on giving notice to my boss. I'm just gonna scram and leave her a voicemail telling her I quit. How do I put a positive twist on this? >_<

I was thinking of saying something like, "I can start Monday" or "Whenever you want me to start", but I can't help but feel like there's a bad undercurrent if I say that I can start immediately. I mean, they're GONNA KNOW I hate my job and I'm desperately trying to leave. Aren't they?
I don't want to look desperate, I want to come off polished and professional. This bag that I work with is anything but, and I'm trying to get away from her! I don't want to badmouth my previous employer, because that is also unprofessional. I just want to look like someone who is looking for a better opportunity, and a niche in which to use my talents to their fullest, and this job that I have just isn't it.
How do I project that without looking like an animal on the run?

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By SouthernProgrammer:

Tell them you must give two weeks notice and then goof off for two weeks around the house......

By HaveADamnNiceDay:

I'd love to, but my tuition money would disappear!
Although, that WOULD be nice...

By CK:

Simple! It is normal to give two weeks notice. You can explain that you'd like to give your employer enough notice, finish projects, give a clean tranfer, etc. (all to give a good impression).

This will give the employer the impression that you are a very consciences and concerned person not to give your soon to be former employer in a bind.

Here is the key ... the employer would think if YOU would do this for your ex then you would give the same curtisy to him/her. This paints you in a good light to the employer! See?

Then you can do what you want with regards to your soon to be ex.

By sri:

in india there's no 2 weeks notice; you come to india w/ me and I explain you.

By HaveADamnNiceDay:

Ok, that's great, guys, however, I have a NEW problem. My evil boss just fired me over email. How's THAT going to look?

By labtech:

She's punishing you for looking for another job. I bet the job you're interviewing for called her for information, and this is her revenge. It's happened to me. God only knows what she said about you to this new company, but I can lay some bets on it not being complimentary. You'll have to drop this job off your resume, for certain. You're better off away from the whackjob, anyway.

By bookwoman:

Wow. I'm so sorry to hear your boss upped the nasties.

If you're not using this boss for a reference, and won't be providing contact info from her, then I would just say that your position wasn't needed after tax season. If you got on well with the other ladies in the office, then use one of them for a reference. I haven't always used previous bosses for references, I've used previous co-workers. Best of all, if you DID get on decently with a previous co-worker, then ask one of them for a written reference. I always get a written reference of some sort when leaving a job for a couple different reasons. One big one being that it might not be possible for a prospective employer to actually reach a prior job reference, the previous co-worker (or boss) might not still be there. Another reason is then you are able to provide a reference from a place you don't necessarily want a prospective employer to call. Then the contact info you DO provide to a prospective employer is limited to only that prior employment that is certain to provide positive feedback to reference checking.

Hang in there. This evil boss is now in the past. Regardless of how badly SHE has handled everything, you are now rid of her. Kick the dust from your heels and move on. You are DONE with her. Now you can move onto more a more positive environment.

By SouthernProgrammer:

Fired you over email?

Well that was real professional!

Well that will teach you not to invite her out for Chinese food won't it!?

Do you think the place you interviewed with contacted her?

By HaveADamnNiceDay:

I don't think they've contacted her, at least not yet. They asked why I left, and I told them truthfully it was a hostile environment and I'd rather take my chances than be in an office with a lady who keeps a gun in her desk. I tried to keep it as brief and concise as possible.

By SouthernProgrammer:

"Gun in the desk" That was a good answer! I don't think anyone could fault you for being nervous over that!

By HaveADamnNiceDay:

I have my MIL (mom-in-law) to thank for that one! I've told my family about the Derringer in the Desk.
The gentleman that interviewed me today was actually a very nice fellow (weak handshake, though). When I told him about the gun, his eyebrows nearly touched his hairline.
I agree, SP! I don't think anyone could blame me!

By thelma:

Sorry you got fired. It's her loss, not yours. Good luck with your job search.

Fired via email is tres tacky. I wouldn't put this job on my resume. Say you were in school or something.

By BonusOnus:

HADND, I think you should be glad you are out of that place with your evil boss. Seriously, she was a nutcase. I hope someone above her notices the high turnover of your former position.

Sri, in India, there's more than a 2 week notice. In India, there's a culture of corruption with regard to references. People can and do make up phony employment histories and then list a friend's number as a company phone number. Hiring companies can easily get fooled.

When I was over there, people told me that if you claim that you worked for a company like Xerox, you must have a letter from Xerox, on Xerox's letterhead, stating that you worked at Xerox. This way, hiring companies have proof that you worked at the companies you claimed you worked at.

Companies over there lord this letter over you so if you quit, you need to give them as much notice as they desire, or you won't get a letter from them.

That's how bad it is in India folks.

By HaveADamnNiceDay:

Alas and alack, my boss owned the company. There were no higher-ups. Trust me, if ther were, her boss would have heard from me the very first time this BS started up.
One of the odd things she told me was that she had a few jobs before starting her own business, and everywhere she went, she got demoted and picked on and even fired because she made everyone else look bad, because she did such an excellent job (read sarcasm here).
It's my suspicion that she was such a pain in the @$$, and she was so impossible to get along with, people just couldn't stand her and probably got rid of her. I'm guessing she got fired a few times for gross misconduct.
"T" gave me a call and said that the Harpy yelled and cussed all day the day she fired me (I had to call out sick, and that's actually why she fired me), and actually cursed out a client for stopping by to see if his taxes were ready. She used the F-word prolifically and told him he was interrupting her work. From what I understand, she had a visitor in her office for THREE HOURS, and to boot the last couple days I was at work I noticed she was watching way too much TV to be getting anything done (yes, there's a TV on her desk). She has complained more times than I can count that she doesn't have enough clients now and that she has whined that she didn't have enough appointments. Things, according to her, were supposed to be rockin' all tax season. It was soooo dead! You'd think that since there wasn't much to do, everything would have been DONE. Don't you think that makes sense?
Yet, she was scrambling on the last day. I can't tell you guys how much free time I had sometimes. All I did was answer the phone that hardly rang, filed minimally, maintained the calendar (and I did make a mistake every now and then, but for the most part, I did it well), assembled folders for appointments, and watied on her immobile, obese @$$.
I won't get into all the crap she accused me of (lying, being depressed, etc), because I have to get up and get going, but most of the stuff she listed was outright lies. The only thing she can really accuse me of was making mistakes, and resisting her attempts to control me and my life. I never got a job description, I never got any of the office policies in writing, and I had to track down my OWN W-4 and I-9 forms so they could do what they needed to do with my paychecks. They didn't even ASK for them. I had to seek them out. She even forgot to pay me on time TWICE. I never complained.
But anyhow, I definitely have more stories that I HAVEN'T told! This lady is the definition of the boss from hell. Look it up in the dictionary, and you'll see her bloated face next to it.
I just wonder what's gonna happen with unemployment....

By the cynic:

Wow, well at least you're out of there. Aren't you going to tell us what she said in the email??

By HaveADamnNiceDay:

In the email, she said i was being fired for cause:
falsifying my time sheet (untrue)
coming to work dramatically depressed (someone is projecting, here)
ecluding "Y" from my communications (also false)
carelessness with office property which caused the need for my phone to be repaired twice (my phone was so poorly put together at the wire anyone could have disconnected it by accident--and that's what happened because I was wiping off my desk, and I moved my phone, and it came APART)
She said I had a lack of maturity that had a negative effect on the office (if, you mean immature by allowing myself to be screamed and cussed at and not giving it back, then yes, I'm an immature little jerk).
she also accused me of coming to work late and sigining in that I came in on time, also untrue, since I often came to work EARLY.
When I talked to "T", she told me that if I needed a witness on my behalf to have my back if the boss appealed unemployment, she would volunteer herself. I don't know if unemployment offices ask for that stuff, but it's nice to know I'm not crazy.
This lady is a total psycho. The more I communicated with people, the more she acted like I wasn't talking to anyone. The less I responded to her provokations, the more she accused me of being immature and depressed. I stopped reacting to her, and it made her mad! I'm not perfect, I make mistakes here and there, but if I make one, I view it not as a failure, but as a lesson to be learned. People who don't learn from their mistakes are condemned to repeat them. The biggest mistake I made this time around was staying with this lady when I could have quit and pretended like I had never worked there within 30 days. Oh well....

By BonusOnus:


Your boss is firing you (termination with cause) because she doesn't want you to get unemployment (UI).

You've said earlier that there is a lot of turnover at your position. Well, if she just let people go, then these people would naturally file a UI claim. If a company keeps laying off people too often, their UI insurance rates go up.

She probably experienced this so she's filing you as "with cause", in which case, you have no right to UI and she doesn't have to worry about higher UI rates.

File a UI claim *and* get ready to be challenged by it by your boss. Trust me, this is what she's doing.

By labtech:

Write down what happened, what day, what transpired, all the lunatic stuff; you may need it in the fight to get unemployment assistance. Journal format is fine. She sounds like a serial firer, and you were just the latest in a long list. So she'll have experience fighting it and saying 'the right things' to get her way.

By SouthernProgrammer:

> She sounds like a serial firer, and you were just the latest in a long list.

I agree with this comment and thus think HAD would stand a good chance of winning. All she needs to do is get her friend "T" to testify that HAD was just one in a long list. So then the point becomes "Why were ALL of these people fired? Were ALL of them unacceptable or is the problem with the employers ridiculous expectations?"

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