17 Job Interview Horror Stories That'll Give You Major Secondhand Embarrassment
"When it was my turn to introduce myself, I stupidly stated that I wished to work for their rival company."
1. "I arrived 30 minutes early for the interview, so I grabbed something to eat from a nearby Burger King. I was so nervous while eating that I began to choke. I ended up vomiting all over myself and my steering wheel. With only 15 minutes before the interview, I ran into the bathroom and attempted to clean myself up as best as I could, but it was bad."
2. "I was interviewing for a practicum placement in university. I majored in education, so my interview was at an elementary school. It went super well at first, and I was actually sitting down to sign the paperwork when it all went sideways. I opened my wallet to grab my driver's license, and as I pulled it out, I also grabbed the edge of the condom I kept in my wallet. The license stayed in my hand, but the condom went flying across the table and into the interviewer's lap. She calmly handed it back to me and said, 'At least you're being safe.'"
3. "I was interviewing for a job with Yahoo Maps. Before the interview, the HR woman asked me if I needed directions to the Yahoo campus and I said, 'Oh, I’ll just google it,' and her response was, 'You mean you’ll Yahoo Maps it?' Needless to say, I didn’t get the job."
4. "This happened to my cousin. At the beginning of the interview, the interviewer complained that they had an upset stomach. The interview was going well, according to my cousin, until there was an odd smell in the air. Turns out, the interviewer had shit their pants during the interview, and it left an awful mess! My cousin took pity on them, told them not to worry, and even helped clean it up.
5. "I interviewed for a job decorating cakes at a grocery store. They told me I would be expected to show my basic icing skills. Well, they put me in a relatively busy bakery and gave me a blank cake to decorate however I wanted. I was very ill prepared for this and had a total mental block. So after about 30 minutes of trying to figure something out, I wrote 'I’m sorry' on the cake and got out of there as fast as I could."
6. "I arrived for the interview an hour early to make a good impression. I'd skipped breakfast, and my stomach was churning. I bought a soy milk from the vending machine and chugged it. Big mistake. I ended up spending half an hour in the bathroom exorcising my insides of the soy milk, which made me late to the actual interview. I cried to the receptionist, and she told me it was a panel interview and I could still join in. This made my nerves even worse! When it was my turn to introduce myself, I stupidly stated that I wished to work for their rival company."
7. "I was hiring for a food service job. The interviewee was late, nervous, and unprepared, so I was expecting it to go poorly. What I wasn’t expecting was for the interviewee to pick her nose, dig out a big, green chunk of snot, glance down to assess it, then eat it, all while answering a question. She did not get the job."
8. "A friend of mine was interviewing for a job, and the interviewer greeted her in the lobby before walking her to another room. They got into the other room, and the interviewer reached her arm out to close the door behind them. My friend thought she was going in for a hug, so she leaned in and hugged the interviewer! The lady asked, 'What are you doing?' She didn’t get that job."
9. "I made it to the final round of interviews, so I thought I actually had a chance of getting the job. When the interview was over, I stood up to shake the interviewer's hand. To my horror, I realized that the tie on my top had come undone and my pink bra and half of my naked torso were on display. I was so embarrassed, and I didn't say anything about it. I just covered myself with the wrap part of the top and held it in place with my hand. I calmly left the office like nothing weird had happened.
10. "I had a phone interview a couple of weeks ago where my interviewer called late, spoke for about 90% of the time, refused to answer any of my questions, and ended the interview early by telling me he had to take a dump. I was really disappointed not to get a callback because I wanted to be the one to reject the offer."
11. "I was interviewing for a cannabis accessory company. It was my second interview, and since we covered all the basics in the first interview, there wasn't much left to discuss. The interviewer and I decided to smoke a joint together because, why not? Well, we got way too high and very quickly had nothing else to discuss regarding the position or my qualifications, so we started sharing random facts about ourselves because we were too high to leave or drive home."
12. "A company flew me from New York City to their corporate headquarters in Los Angeles for a final interview. I sat down with the director of human resources, and less than five minutes later, I fainted. I woke up sweaty and slumped over in my chair with the director standing over me in a panic. I was mortified!"
13. "I recently interviewed for an HR role at a newer software company. I had to do 10 hours' worth of interviews over the course of a week. On the last day, I had an interview with a male director who started the call by refusing to turn on his camera because of a 'bad haircut.' He then called me demeaning names and insinuated that I was dumb. After realizing that I wasn’t taking his shit, he decided that I was his favorite person ever. He asked me tons of questions about my hobbies and interests. He kept repeating questions, stuttering, and slurring words. I finally realized that he was drunk".
14. "I interviewed for a company that ran haunted houses. I was not prepared for questions like, 'What's your favorite swear word and why?' and 'Who in this room would you kill and why?' I got the job! Looking back, I can say that it was funny, but at the same time, it was pretty jarring."
15. "When I was walking through the front door of the building, my heel got caught in the floor grate. The grate came with me and got jammed in the doorway, and I fell into the atrium, landing on my face with a loud, metallic clatter. I did get the job, though!"
16. "The company director was very casual and laid-back. He asked if I smoked, which I did at the time, so we went outside for a cigarette and a chat. He handed me his Zippo lighter, which was something I'd never used before. When I went to spark up, I ended up setting my hair on fire! I tried to be cool about it, but he told me to go to the restroom to sort myself out. I left the building instead."
17. And this: "I have Tourette’s. I was interviewing for a managerial position after being in a supervisory one, and it was my first time meeting the regional manager. Midway through the interview, I shouted 'Whoop!' then threw the contents of my mug over my shoulder and smashed my cup on my knee. The two interviewers just froze and then pretended nothing had happened because they’d been told not to laugh if I had a tic!"
Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.