Usually the scariest part of a job interview is the anticipation of it. But for some people, the real nightmare didn’t begin until one dark and stormy afternoon when they walked into an ordinary office building and opened a creaky HR office door…
The time I passed out
I contracted the flu right before my interview for an information technology position. I’d applied for the job about a year before the actual interview. In the meantime I had to take a test and wait until the HR board decided to actually fill the position. Since it took so long to get the live interview I didn’t want to postpone. It was a great opportunity, and I couldn’t miss out.
I was sick, dehydrated and of course a little nervous going into the meeting–and I wound up passing out during the interview. I had tunnel vision and I faintly heard the interviewer say that he was calling for an ambulance.
The director called me the next day to check up on me and reschedule the interview, which we did about a month later. The second interview went well, but I didn’t get the job. —Anonymous
The time I drew a complete blank
During my interview for an assistant editor position, I met with a panel of about five employees from the company. One of them asked me about my duties at my previous job, and my mind went blank. I was completely silent for about 10-15 seconds and just stared out the window at a tree while I tried to think of something to say. I was eventually able to collect my thoughts and answer the question, but the damage had been done. After the interview I felt that I wouldn’t hear anything more from them regarding the position. I was right. —Mike Rivers
The time I failed at doors
I opened a broom closet instead of the front door when I was trying to make my exit from the interview. —Laura H.
The time I couldn’t keep it together
It was just an interview for a clerical job, but I was young and super nervous. My voice was trembling, and the interviewer could see that I was a wreck. He tried to get me to relax, but once I realized that he could see that I was nervous—it just made me more nervous! A few minutes later he tried again to get me to calm down, and then things really got bad. Toward the end of the interview I started apologizing to him…a lot! He seemed very annoyed, and I never heard from the company again. —Scott Rowden
The time I was seriously grossed out
I met with one of the partners at the firm who spent the entire interview coughing and spitting…into a Styrofoam cup. —Anonymous
The time I got stung
I was interviewing to be a production assistant in New York. I was so into giving my pitch that I didn’t notice that a bee had landed on my hand. Then it stung me! I ran my hand under some cold water in the sink and then got back to the interview. But in the end I got the gig and my first broadcast credit! —Nancy Matson
The time the director fell asleep
Sure, I was available at 9 pm to come to his home/office for an interview! The job was for a screenwriter position and the writer/director was there along with an assistant and another job candidate. Eventually, the other candidate and the assistant left, so then it was just me and the writer/director. He kept asking me if I would be willing to do secretarial work in addition to script work.
By now it’s about 11 pm and he’s still asking me interview questions. Then he starts to kind of… fall asleep in the chair in front of me. At which point I’m like, “Okay, so, yeah! Let’s continue this later!” And I got out of there. —Laura Bahr
The time I nearly suffocated
I interviewed with a tobacco company fresh out of college. The people interviewing me smoked the ENTIRE time. As I sat there struggling to breath and feeling a sore throat coming on, they asked me if I was a smoker. I said no. I was pretty sure that at that point I didn’t get the job. I was right. —Marcia Perry-Jones
The time I didn’t know what I was getting myself into
The job advertisement was seeking a copywriter for an “industry trade magazine.” It turns out that the industry was porn. I would have been writing for a sex toy magazine to be exact. The interviewer warned me that taking the job might negatively impact my ability to work elsewhere, and then he sent me home with several copies of the publication and told me to call him if I was still interested. I never called him back. —Anonymous