My name’s Adam Whittaker and I’ve worked in recruitment for over 5 years now. The world of recruitment exposes you to a broad cross section of people, probably more so than any other industry, which often makes for some interesting tales!
The often baffling moments thrown up by some people are generally a result of different coping mechanisms when faced with difficult or stressful situations – the one that I’m sure everybody can identify with is the dreaded interview!
I’ve never understood why but interviews have a way of making some people behave in a bizarre way. I have arranged and briefed hundreds of interviews over the years and it’s not great when a candidate doesn’t perform well but there are some absolute howlers I’ve heard about over the years so thought I’d share 3 of them:
Bare faced cheek.
This one is my personal favourite as I became good friends with the person in question – in fact I worked with him for over 12 months and remain in contact today. Whilst working for a previous business my Director at the time was interviewing for a Trainee Recruitment Consultant. He interviewed a candidate who made it to second stage. The Director explained to the candidate that the second stage would consist of some testing, then an hour break so he could collate the data, followed by a final formal interview. After a successful testing session this person was confident of an offer. During his 1 hour break he decides to go and size up a new bike to aid his commute to what he imagined would be his new employer.
Whilst in the bike shop, in his suit, he decides to sit on the bike of his fancy. Swinging his leg across, he heard a tear and quickly realised that he’d split his trousers straight up the seam at the back. It would be bad even if you had your best boxer shorts on, but when you have no boxer shorts on it becomes a major issue – especially with a final stage interview to follow!
A lesser man (me for instance) would have made their excuses and hoped to arrange it for a different day, but not this man. So with slightly red cheeks (both sets) and the wind between his ___________ he went back into that interview, got the job and now recruits very successfully overseas. Hats of to him.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
OK, this one as it requires a certain amount of back story. A previous colleague of mine was once discussing a candidate’s job history prior to putting him forward for a role. This candidate was a Production Line Operator within the Food & Drink sector.
Running through his job history, the candidate explained that he was dismissed from a previous job when he was caught eating the biscuits off the production line he was supposed to be monitoring! It’s not the most heinous crime so it was simply put down as a ‘lapse of judgement’.
Following this dismissal he found another role working for a different food company, again as a Production Line Operator. Whilst working his shift one day he left a busy production line for a toilet break. Given the nature of his role, he was told that leaving his station was wholly unacceptable and if he did so again he would face dire consequences.
A few days later, what I can only imagine was after a curry and 6 pints, this guy was struggling – stomach cramps had begun and he needed to go to the little boy’s room. The problem was, he couldn’t leave the production line so he waited and waited until he couldn’t wait any longer. This horrible situation had only one outcome and I’m sure you’ve already guessed what it was…
Following dismissal from now 2 jobs in a few months, the candidate spent some time sat at home not working, applying for jobs but watching TV and eating biscuits in between.
Finally, the phone rings with an interview which was great. He wakes up the following morning, dusts off his best suit but it’s only then, 1 hour before his meeting, that it dawns on him that the days spent in the house eating biscuits and doing nothing had resulted in him gaining so much weight that his suit trousers no longer fastened.
Rather than cancelling, the guy turned up to his interview in a shirt, suit jacket, tie and newly polished shoes, but in place of his trousers, the only clean ‘trousers’ he had were Adidas Popper tracksuit bottoms, which he decided were a fitting substitute.
Feedback from the manager was that it was one of the weirdest interviews he’d ever conducted but he was politely declining his application…
The Run Away
45 minutes into a good interview the Engineering Manager of a tech company I work with decided that it would be worthwhile introducing a candidate to his Chief Design Engineer. The Engineering Manager left the room to grab him and quickly run through the notes from the conversation.
Standing in the office he looked through the glass door of the interview room to see the candidate quickly grabbing his personal items, look furtively about to make sure the coast was clear and then bolt through the exit door, leg it down the corridor, straight out through reception and out across the car park never to be seen again.
To this day, we’ve never had an explanation as to why!
So the moral of the story is this; don’t soil yourself or eat too many biscuits. Don’t run away as fast as lighting when your interview is going well and don’t buy a new bike during your interview process, whilst wearing a suit – especially with nothing on underneath to protect your dignity!