Have you ever been in a job interview and wished the ground would swallow you up? You’re not alone.
A job interview is always an incredibly nerve-racking experience. Even for the calmest souls among us, job interviews can leave us feeling flustered and occasionally a little incompetent.
My anecdotal experience of them, both from a personal point of view and from friends, is that you never truly know how they went. Some of the best interviews you’ve done can lead to no offer, while those you feel you completely messed up could be the winner.
Whether you’re successful or not, many of us have stories from job interviews in which we were red-faced, awkward or even clumsy.
So, I decided to ask the world in Twitter form for some of their stories about the worst things they did in a job interview. Looking for a laugh to make you feel better about your own experience?
Clumsiness can often be the simplest form of embarrassment. Tripping, stumbling over a chair or any other such form of physical clumsiness can make us all go red in the face but, luckily, it’s completely human and forgivable.
While you might feel mortified at the time, it’s not something that should mess up your actual interview. That doesn’t always make you feel any better in the moment, though. As someone who has walked into a glass door in public, I can relate to Claire Mason’s tweet below.
I fell just before one in London. Then it turned out the person who picked me up and helped me was the lady interviewing.
— Claire Mason (@CMwritesalot) October 16, 2018
You don’t have to trip and fall for clumsiness to cause problems in a job interview. Sometimes other things fail you too, like plasters.
I had a week old plaster on my finger that fell off as I was to shake the interviewers hand – I picked it back up, put it on and she just pointed to the door.
— Alex Iszatt (@AlexonTV) October 16, 2018
Watching what you say
While we can’t help tripping, we can watch what we say when we’re in a job interview. After all, the point is to put your best foot forward and answer all questions to the best of your abilities. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t be guilty of putting our foot in our mouth from time to time.
Have you ever decided to say something clever in response to a generic interview question in the hopes of standing out, only to realise how bad it can come across?
“No I don’t have any faults, I like to think of myself like Mary Poppins. Practically perfect in every way…” still got the job!
— Helen Wilde (@ovobloom) December 10, 2018
This was presumably in response to the commonly asked question, ‘What are your weaknesses?’ While many recruiters consider this an outdated question, it can still come up and we have some tips on how to answer it.
Sometimes it’s not one specific thing that you’ve said so much as just forgetting that you’re in a job interview and getting quite “animated” when telling stories, as Megan McIntyre put it.
Those who have a penchant for swearing in their day-to-day lives will be able to relate particularly well.
Swore (quite a lot – bad habit when I get quite animated!) telling a story about the best trip I’d ever been on. Then repeatedly pointed out the interviewer had marks on his shirt (was baby vomit). Got the job though 🙂 #winningtips
— Megan McIntyre (@koala1603) December 10, 2018
After the interview
As I said, job interviews can be nerve-racking. We can all say stupid things from time to time, and none of us are immune to the clumsiness of being human.
Once you make it through the interview, it’s essentially out of your hands and there’s not much else you can do by way of improving your chances or messing it up – but there are exceptions.
There are a couple of things you can do that can go down very well, such as sending a follow-up email thanking the employer for their time. Then, of course, there are one or two things you can do to scupper your chances.
I was assisting my manager on an assessment day. I had to call the candidate on the phone and insist on speaking to the manager.
One candidate asked me to hold and then came back on using a fake voice pretending to be the manager.
She didn’t get the job.
— Alan (@OMGitsagirl2015) December 10, 2018
Interviewers are humans too
If you’re cringing about something you’ve done in a job interview, hopefully you can take solace from these stories, knowing that you’re not alone and it’s not the end of the world.
But, if you’re still feeling bad about your own blunder, try to remember that interviewers are humans too, and that means they’re also prone to mistakes.
I interviewed someone for a job. I talked about the importance of social media in campaigns + said:”It’s important to generate a lot of twat on Chitter”. I got my words muddled (I meant “Chat on Twitter” obv). I keeled over laughing at my mistake. They didn’t even crack a smile.
— Andrea San Pedro (@AndreaSanPedro) December 14, 2018