A man in a business suit sitting on a bench outside with his head in his hands. He just had a bad job interview.
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What’s the worst thing you’ve done in a job interview?

20 Dec 2018

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?

Feeling clumsy

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.

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.

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?

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 While many recruiters consider this an outdated question, it can still come up and we have some tips on how to answer it.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.

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.

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.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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