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We’ve all heard them. The urban legends, the horror stories of what people have done in interviews that seem to defy common sense, logic and even belief.

So we thought that we’d compile a list of some of the best of them that we’ve experienced as recruiters or have heard from a friend of a friend…



My favourite story from our team has to be the following…


“I had a candidate going in to interview for a relatively senior position – not a really senior role, but somewhere in the middle. Sufficed to say he didn’t make a good impression.

The receptionist showed him in to the interview room and the first strike was when he told her to go grab him a coffee from a nearby café (instead of accepting the kitchen made coffee she offered).

He might have still made it but the second (and final) strike was that when the Director and Hiring Manager walked in to the room to start the interview, the candidate had his feet up on the table and without a hint of a joke, his first words to them when they walked in were “yep, this is how good I am…”

He didn’t get the job.”



Other examples from our office include:


  • The guy that got annoyed because he couldn’t take his kid into the interview with him. Then turned up late and only asked “what’s the pay and benefits?”
  • The person who when interviewing for a very location specific role whose first question was “so what are your secondment opportunities?”
  • The IT candidate who walked out mid-interview because he was “too good to have to take their company technical test”.
  • The candidate who asked a private sector company “where can I apply for the ‘cushy’ government roles?”
  • The candidate whose phone rang and then asked the interviewer to leave the interview room because it was a “private conversation”.


Another favourite was a story from one of our clients, telling us about an interview they did with a VERY senior and well known guy within his industry.


“The interview was going really well, he seemed like a great technical fit, an outgoing and connected kind of guy who could potentially bring across a lot of clients.

It was all good until we got to salary arrangements. It wasn’t that he was asking for too much money – we expect to have to pay Directors bringing across business big $$, what we didn’t expect was him leaning across the table, lowering his voice and making his completely serious request of what % of his pay we could pay him “off the books”.

We were so shocked! Coming from such a well known Senior guy! We divested him of any dishonest intentions very quickly, I can tell you that!



Then there are the urban legends…


  • Like the candidates who told their potential employer “I can get whatever you need done, even if it’s not 100% above board”.
  • The guy who walked into an interview and walked straight back out because the hiring manager was a woman he had a one night stand with very recently.
  • The overly affectionate types who instead of shaking the hirers hand, go in for the hug (never seen this one myself, but I know a few people who would do it).
  • The candidates who call in “sick” to their current boss whilst inside the interview with their potential boss.
  • The candidate who must have been desperate as he could be heard flushing the toilet during a phone interview.


These are some of our personal favourites, but we would love to hear yours! What are some of the worst interviewing mistakes you’ve heard of?