The worst job interview you have ever attended? Were there any lessons learned?

ugly

LE
Moderator
I live in the south east but often have travelled and lodged for work. I was once interviewed by a Sheffield based company for a post over near Gloucester but they wanted to do the interview up at a project office near Hull.
No salary advertised which isn't unusual as I was conversant with the industry standard and the only online info I could find out about the firm was a stupidly long ego driven court case where they spent best part of £250 000 over quality of work done by a sole trader subby.
It doesn't look great but I set off the day before and stopped at a mates place overnight near Derby.
Usual kerfuffle getting signed in and lo and behold the chap who is supposed to be interviewing me isn't there, he's been called back to their head office in Sheffield, only half way back to my mates place. The option was interview by two blokes who would have been working under me followed up by a phone interview the next day, no apology.
So they didn't know about the job but apparently it would be run from that office near Hull and I would be expected to spend time helping out on their projects too.
Oh and the next morning he simply asked how much I was looking for. I told him what I had earned previously for an identical post and he almost choked. 2 weeks to get the rejection and only by chasing them up. Useless and a waste of time. I sent one final email explaining that unless they put a salary on the advert they would struggle to get an applicant willing to work for the still mysterious unquoted figure.
Worst because they were crap, failed to attend and plainly lied to get me up there.
They are advertising like mad and I ignore all of their jobs like the plague.
 

Blogg

LE
Ooh that's easy.

Pained "interview" with an HR type because of exactly the same reason: the person concerned suddenly had something better to do that week and nobody else could or would do it.

They had bought my ticket and provided a hotel as well. In New York because Mr Important didn't have time to spend in UK

After being dicked around for a week or so more (during which he did find time to call me for 10 minutes) binned it.

I know the guy who eventually took the job.

He walked after 3 months.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Ive had brilliant ones where lack of current knowledge was glossed over and the chap interviewing me was jumping ship and I was to have his job. The tacos were brilliant, a pity the company was full of crooks.
 

Pob02

LE
Book Reviewer
At an Energy Trading Company.
Basically the job was a control function. They had lost a large amount of cash the previous financial year ( both in fines, and also due to defaults on them).

This info was readily available, and of course, anybody going for this role should have been aware of it.

Their Risk Dept. restructure was blatantly linked to these incidents.

1) The HR person in the interview did not have a clue about the role.
2) The Manager in the interview lied to my face about the restructure having nothing at all to do with the fines, or the defaults.
3) It was obvious they were just trying to put sticking-plaster over the issue and not addressing the real issue ( they needed a culture change from top-down).
4) The renumeration was (although in the bracket), at the bottom end.

I know who ended up with the job. She hates it there, and has been looking around to leave after about 1 month in post.

They asked me back fo a second interview. I declined.
 
Last edited:

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
Not sure about worst, but I went for an internal job once, they had basically designed the role for me. Interview was with the person who wanted me for the job and an HR rep. Others could go for it as well, including relatives of staff.
The brother of the HR rep got it....
 
I was going for a job with a multi stage interview process.

I checked out the company on such things as glassdoor and linkedin. I did my usual and ignored the rant filled reviews on glassdoor however of the remaining ones there was a theme complaining about the management being aggressive and rude.

Interview three was utterly awful. I don't know if the man running it was trying to be clever and see how people react under pressure, or if he was just an utter cockwomble. I suspect the latter. He was unprofessional, dismissive, arogant, and spent half the interview checking his phone.
I ended the interview, asked them not to contact me and got a better job elsewhere.

I noticed that they have advertised the job several times over the past couple of years.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
I was going for a job with a multi stage interview process.

I checked out the company on such things as glassdoor and linkedin. I did my usual and ignored the rant filled reviews on glassdoor however of the remaining ones there was a theme complaining about the management being aggressive and rude.

Interview three was utterly awful. I don't know if the man running it was trying to be clever and see how people react under pressure, or if he was just an utter cockwomble. I suspect the latter. He was unprofessional, dismissive, arogant, and spent half the interview checking his phone.
I ended the interview, asked them not to contact me and got a better job elsewhere.

I noticed that they have advertised the job several times over the past couple of years.
I enjoyed a similar interview once. I was posted into a role by the client who wanted me to work inside a company for them. The bloke was an arse of the highest order and arrogant. I thought fuc k him and after a week of getting nowhere at their head office (escorted to toilet etc) I went to their despatch office and quarantined all of their production for us. They sat up and listened after that!
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
And not to call someone a nob
Ive been told I can do that with a look, nice to know that its a skill I have refined. Some get it, others wonder why I say nothing and let them hang themselves.
 

Pob02

LE
Book Reviewer
Not sure about worst, but I went for an internal job once, they had basically designed the role for me. Interview was with the person who wanted me for the job and an HR rep. Others could go for it as well, including relatives of staff.
The brother of the HR rep got it....
Reminds me a bit of when I was leaving UK.

My company closed our London Office, but created an expanded role, with me in mind, however the role was in Geneva.

I had to explain to the person "interviewing" me ( a second interview!) that actually this was more more deciding if I liked thier terms, conditions etc as :
a) I was going to get 13 months salary in redundancy if I did not take it.
b) I had 2 solid offers of work remaining in London, both with decent salaries/ packages-of course without the hassle of moving.
c) I have alreadyy been offered (before he filled it locally) the position above that which he was trying to fill by Head Office who where rather put out with him as it was, and that if he didn't land me he had the CRO after his head. (Really is nice to be wanted).

He then tried to sell me about how much better Geneva is than London when his initial offer was (to use a technical term) crap. I had to point out I did not live in a grey smoke-infested inner city apartment in London, but in a very nice, thankyou, detached house in richmond. 5 mins walk to the park, 5 mins walk to the River and a very easy commute in and out of one of the most vibrant cities in the World.

In the end the twat ate humble pie, offer was amended, they almost had to beg me to take the role.
 
Last edited:
Hmmm. The theme here is that HR are quarterwitted spuzzgurglers.

I had one late December. Took a day off, thus losing, with diesel and hotel, a slice of cash.


Got half way through the interview and it was going very well.

Then they started asking me about my experience of managing environmental functions.

Easy answer: zero.


It seems they had decided to amalgamate two roles, and not thought it through very well.....
 
Aye, don't go for a job interview at GCHQ and the night before, get invited to the local town (Taunton) by complete strangers in the place they put you up in. Then get royally hammered.
 

Dread

LE
My worst experience was for a Director role at PWC in London. It involved being interviewed by 5 Partners, the UK Managing Partner (**** know why), two assessments with HR type people (maths, English tests, etc.) and finally one interview with an HR manager.

Thanks to the Partners being spread all over the place on various projects and my own work commitments it took more than 9 months for me to meet them all (they didn't want to do a video conf. call). Each meeting involved me flying in from Budapest and staying a night in London (all paid for by PWC). The assessments took ages, even though I sat them in the local Budapest office of PWC, namely because the HR mongs sent the wrong tests the first time. Having passed all these I was then flown in again to meet a junior HR bod in London who didn't have a clue about the role I had been approached to fill and wasn't happy that I didn't fit their standard graduate trainee profile (I was 41 at the time).

Then they sacked/retired the UK Managing Partner and a new guy came in (from Deloitte IIRC) who promptly put in a recruitment freeze across the whole UK. I was approached 8 months later asking if I could re-start the process and were somewhat surprised to be told to poke it and that offering me a posting to the UAE wasn't of interest because my wife is on a brilliant salary in Hungary and would be unable to get anything close to that in the M.E.

Second worst experience was with one of GE's financial companies: flown into London for a series of well-run and very focussed meetings with the CEO and operations teams. All went well. Then their HR got hold of my CV and this wizened oldd crone spent the entire (telephone) interview repeating the question "how does shouting at soldiers help GE?" in various formats and was unable/unwilling to believe or understand that the only time I had ever shouted at soldiers was to be heard above other noise (e.g. artillery) or communicate over distance. In a follow-up call following a letter of rejection, the operations guy I would have been working to (COO of EMEA) apologised but that HR had killed my application because I sounded "too white and too rugby club"

Since then I've met lot of HR people at various conferences and at clients (though I don't like it, I advise them on insurance products for employee benefits as it pays the bills), and have come to the conclusion that nearly all HR people are utter scum with the same level of professionalism and real-world ability as Dianne Abbot with a calculator. Funnily enough I've worked for my own company for a few years now.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
I did get a call to go back for a second interview when I had already refused the offer! TfL as a pm. I asked pertinent simple questions in the interview, contract award, enabling works start date, program, none of which could be answered. I told the agency no thanks. Somehow they created a new role as delivery manager above the pm. I took the job!
It was good fun and challenging although TfL were a bit thick!
 
Not the worst interview I've ever had but perhaps the worst, (or best depending on how you look at it), I never had.

Many moons ago I was working for a local authority as a senior technician. There were two other lads in other sections at the same level in my division. Out of the blue three principal technician posts were advertised. So we got hold of the job descriptions and they seemed tailored for the three of us, one in each section. We all applied. Then heard nothing. After a month or so I went to see the division head to ask what was happening.

"Oh, yes, we looked at all your applications and decided none of your were experienced enough, sorry, bye."

Now given that we all had been doing every item on the job description for at least 4 years each, this came as something of a surprise, especially given that the posts didn't exactly require rocket scientists. By coincidence there was a private firm in the same building who I knew were recruiting bods like me, so off I toddles for an interview with them and was offered a job within less than a week. Notice rapidly handed in to the local authority.

A week or so later the division head calls me into his office. "I see you've handed your notice in. Would you like one of those principal technician posts to stay with us?" He was quite taken aback when I oh so politely but oh so pointedly declined his kind offer. Best thing I ever did workwise.
 
My worst experience was for a Director role at PWC in London. It involved being interviewed by 5 Partners, the UK Managing Partner (**** know why), two assessments with HR type people (maths, English tests, etc.) and finally one interview with an HR manager.

Thanks to the Partners being spread all over the place on various projects and my own work commitments it took more than 9 months for me to meet them all (they didn't want to do a video conf. call). Each meeting involved me flying in from Budapest and staying a night in London (all paid for by PWC). The assessments took ages, even though I sat them in the local Budapest office of PWC, namely because the HR mongs sent the wrong tests the first time. Having passed all these I was then flown in again to meet a junior HR bod in London who didn't have a clue about the role I had been approached to fill and wasn't happy that I didn't fit their standard graduate trainee profile (I was 41 at the time).

Then they sacked/retired the UK Managing Partner and a new guy came in (from Deloitte IIRC) who promptly put in a recruitment freeze across the whole UK. I was approached 8 months later asking if I could re-start the process and were somewhat surprised to be told to poke it and that offering me a posting to the UAE wasn't of interest because my wife is on a brilliant salary in Hungary and would be unable to get anything close to that in the M.E.

Second worst experience was with one of GE's financial companies: flown into London for a series of well-run and very focussed meetings with the CEO and operations teams. All went well. Then their HR got hold of my CV and this wizened oldd crone spent the entire (telephone) interview repeating the question "how does shouting at soldiers help GE?" in various formats and was unable/unwilling to believe or understand that the only time I had ever shouted at soldiers was to be heard above other noise (e.g. artillery) or communicate over distance. In a follow-up call following a letter of rejection, the operations guy I would have been working to (COO of EMEA) apologised but that HR had killed my application because I sounded "too white and too rugby club"

Since then I've met lot of HR people at various conferences and at clients (though I don't like it, I advise them on insurance products for employee benefits as it pays the bills), and have come to the conclusion that nearly all HR people are utter scum with the same level of professionalism and real-world ability as Dianne Abbot with a calculator. Funnily enough I've worked for my own company for a few years now.
HR are a waste of space; I have never seen them achieve anything other than make a bad situation worse. As an aside, I honestly thought that you dealt in AK-47s as opposed to insurance.
 

Dread

LE
HR are a waste of space; I have never seen them achieve anything other than make a bad situation worse. As an aside, I honestly thought that you dealt in AK-47s as opposed to insurance.
A couple of old colleagues work for BAE in the gun smuggling and ammo-flogging department and are quite active (surprisingly) in my part of the world. I suspect that most of my former KLA/KPC friends in Kosovo are very busy in the AK-47 department...

I insure the cargo of a couple of the weapons makers in the region as well as one army's rotary wing capability (all their non-attack helicopters). Current main effort is a nuclear power station and a new one that's about to built next to it.
 
Applied for an internal company job, Only to be told I didnt have the skill set if managing onsite work that required even though I'd been doing it for 6yrs+ but elsewhere people in my role who applied for got it. yet the two who got it were the son of one of the guys doing it who came from a desk job and another who'd worked under the team previously and went on to create a £70K bill on one job

When asked for the feed back to explain why they stated I didnt have the skillset even though I'd done the role successfully for years the hiring manager bluffed it stating he didnt know as he never filtered the applications as he was on holiday then just ignored it.

He got potted for figure fiddling which dragged an external auditor in which made our life fcuking shite for the best part of a year.

Even in a company like mine it's more who you know than getting a job based on merit
 
Many moons ago, before I had even attended a single day at college to learn my trade, I applied for a job as an electrician for a hotel.
First question from interviewer: What is a three phase circuit?
Me: Er... er... three electrical circuits?
Obviously, I didn't get the job.
Their loss!
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
pc supa The NAAFI Bar 223
9 The NAAFI Bar 85
weekend_worrier The NAAFI Bar 14

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top