When my grandpa was interviewing for his first job, he had just graduated from high school. He aced the interview, went to work for a big company, and worked for that company until the day he retired. Nowadays, we switch jobs or even careers every few years. Sure, I like the excitement and the diversity as much as the next chronic job-seeker, but one thing I could do without is the recurring stress of an embarrassing job interview. Here, in chronological order, are my top five most embarrassing job interviews:
Dress to Impress
My first ever job was at McDonalds, during my senior year of high school. My mom drilled it into me that I was supposed to dress professionally for interviews, so I wore a black suit, a pressed white shirt high heels. It turned out to be a group interview, and everyone else was dressed casually in jeans and t-shirts. I felt like a real schmuck, and since every single person who applied was hired, my nickname from the first day was Eager Beaver.
Be on Time
Two years later, I showed up to an interview for an office assistant position feeling confident that I was dressed correctly this time. I made sure to be ten minutes early, as my college career counselor had advised me. Unfortunately, I was ten minutes early one week too late. Needless to say, the position had already been filled. The new office assistant felt so sorry for me that she offered me a glass of coke, so at least I got a free drink out of it.
Make an Entrance
Fast-forward three years. I’ve graduated from college, and I’m striding into a chemistry lab to interview for a researcher position. Scratch that…I’m striding into a glass door, which shatters. Not only did I have to be rushed to the hospital, but the lab sent me a bill for the door. However, this one has a happy ending: the employer rescheduled the interview and I got a job offer, which more than covered the cost of the door.
Do Your Research
By some miracle of efficiency on the part of my recruiter, I was asked to interview with three companies on the same day. Fearing that I would confuse the companies with each other, I jotted down relevant details on index cards, which I took with me. At the last interview, I apparently left my index cards in the waiting room. The HR manager called me later to explain that since I thought their company was “stuffy and conservative,” they would not be extending an offer.
My toddler’s ear infection had kept me up all night. The next morning, the group interview with an educational travel agency started off with a slide-show. The last I remembered was the lights dimming: then, I jerked awake as I heard an acerbic, “Not boring you, are we?” The slide show was long over, everyone was looking at me, and the string of saliva hanging from my lip made my utter humiliation complete. At that moment, I resolved to find a way to work from home.
My grandpa may have had some tedious days at work, but at least he didn’t have to suffer the mortification of a job interview gone wrong. Frequent career moves provide abundant opportunities for embarrassment…and since there are so many different things that can go wrong, each interview is a new disaster in the making.