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Interview Nightmares


Interview Nightmares
By Kristine Milbrandt, Creative Marketing Specialist



Stranger than fiction? We asked our followers on social media to submit their interview horror stories. Here are a few that made us cringe. Take note and don’t make the same mistakes!

The Tell-Tale Time Zone

“Time Zones should not be a struggle for me. Living between Pacific Standard Time, and as the locals call it “Boise Time” or Mountain Standard Time for most of my life should have made me a pro at determining time zones. Communication led me to believe that I had scheduled an early afternoon interview. To be exact, I “penciled” 1 p.m. into my phone…1 p.m. Central Standard Time. That really meant 11 a.m. Pacific, with an 11:30 a.m. start time for this interview. When my phone reminder tone went off I thought it was a mistake, there was no way. I made a call to an understanding HR director who laughed at me, and told me to be in Pendleton by 1:30 p.m., PST. My mom drove me a little over an hour to my destination. We had plenty of time to spare, but I was sweating like I had run the past 65 miles. Lesson learned: make sure you check the time zone setting in your phone. Always. And I got the job!”




Take notes during all of your communications with an employer, even if it is at a networking event or career fair. You don’t want to be the one walking away, wondering “what was my interview time?!”

Go prepared to the interview with questions and a paper and pen for notetaking. Jot down key points from the employer during the interview to show you are engaged. Use your notes to craft the perfect follow-up thank you note. Be careful when developing multiple emails; cut and paste is a great tool, but lack of attention to details can make a student look foolish.

We get it– life happens! The key is to communicate. Be upfront with the employer if something happens that you can’t make an interview, you don’t want to continue employment discussions, or are accepting another offer.

Bill Smith – Helena Chemical Company

Stuck in the Mud

“I had planned the perfect outfit for my interview: black slacks, black boots, a tweed black and white blazer with a white shirt and pearls, simple but professional. It had misted enough that morning for my rickety front steps to be slick. I usually take my extreme incoordination as a comic relief, but that day I did not have time to laugh: I hit the first step and crashed into the following two steps. My black slacks had gained a tinge of mud, so I cleaned myself up and made it to the interview. But afterward, I got lunch with my boyfriend who pointed out that my back pant legs were still covered in mud.”

Haven’t We Met Before?

“In the middle of a job interview during lunch with one of the owners of the company and the HR manager, the owner realizes he had met me before through my ex-boyfriend. In the middle of lunch he calls my ex and says that I had put him down as a reference for a job with the company and what did he have to say about me. Luckily, the ex said positive things but I was mortified and was happy when I was told I wasn’t what they were looking for weeks later.”

Keeping it Clean

“I went to an interview for a Food Safety position at a produce farm. I arrived in a nice top, cream pants, and my riding boots. After the interview the hiring manager asked if I wanted to tour their facilities. I said I would love to, which she looks me up and down and asks was I aware that I might get my white pants dirty. I told her I was wearing my boots and would be fine, and she made comments the entire time about me being careful about getting dirty. It was really uncomfortable and I think she thought I had no idea what dirt was.”

Commitment Issues

“I once interviewed someone who was trying to make a big impression to get the job. I asked if he was sure he wanted the job, as the work was very strenuous. He said, ‘Look, I want this job and I am willing to give you 150%.’ Then he paused and said ‘No wait, let me change that, 110%!’ You can’t really commit more than 100% to any job, but it’s never a good idea to reduce your commitment in an interview.”