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You Can at Least Learn from These Real-Life Job Interview Horror Stories

These applicants made a lasting impression, for all the wrong reasons.
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When you go to a job interview, your goal is to make a good first impression and show that you’re the best person for the job. Some applicants, however, manage to do the exact opposite. Consider these horror stories from human resource directors and company executives as cautionary tales.

The Story:
Mac Vengco Bergantin, director for human resources at a start-up, has some very cringeworthy tales to tell. “For those who qualify for final interview with me, we schedule them and assign a particular time slot,” she says. “The applicants were seated in the waiting area and I immediately noticed one young lady who could not seem to stay still and looked irate. She then approached my associate and insisted that she be interviewed first. It was explained to her that there are other applicants waiting and that she needs to wait for her turn. Apparently, she was late and missed her slot. Annoyed, she insisted. I approached her and explained that she needs to wait for a few minutes more. She sat down, stomped her feet, and rolled her eyes!”

The Takeaway:
Being late for an interview is bad enough, and you should count yourself lucky if they still entertain you in spite of your missing your slot. The last thing you want to do is act like a bratty three year-old.

The Story:
“I was in a hurry and was running for the elevator door which was still wide open,” Bergantin recalls. “I smiled at the guy in the elevator and said, 'kindly hold.' To my disbelief, he pressed the close button and looked at me. Annoyed, I used the stairs and proceeded directly to the interview room to put my coffee and voila, there he was. He was scheduled for an interview—with me!”

The Takeaway:
Be a Hodor and HOLD THE DAMN DOOR.

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The Story:
“I was interviewing fresh graduates for the trainee position. I immediately noticed one application form, because, in the space provided for the expected salary, he wrote ‘to be discussed with HR Manager.’ And, discuss we did,” Bergantin says. “He told me that his expected salary was P32,000! No work experience, no nothing. I was intrigued and asked him to explain to me why he deserves that high a salary. He then proceeded to explain and compute how much his parents spent for his college education and how he intends to earn that in XX number of months. Wow!”

The Takeaway:
This is why people think millennials are entitled. Before deciding on your asking salary, know what you’re worth based on your experience, accomplishments, and the average pay for the position you’re applying for.

The Story:
“I definitely appreciate a firm handshake especially from applicants. In my experience, others, fresh graduates mostly, skip this part or give a very flimsy shake,” Bergantin observes. “One handshake took me by surprise. 'Good morning, Ma’am,' he said and he shook my hand, like fraternity brothers would do. Complete with pulling and tagging and tapping on the back. Haha! I had to step out of the interview room as I couldn’t hold back my laughter.”

The Takeaway:
While it’s important to be yourself instead of becoming a stiff, nervous robot who keeps rattling off canned answers, you should also maintain some degree of formality. After all, your boss isn’t your frat brother.

The Story:

“When I was working in the fashion magazine industry, I would ask them, ‘What is your favourite magazine and tell me why,’” says Tara Santos, marketing director at The Moment Group. “One answered 'Reader’s Digest'! Another question I would ask was who is your favourite designer and why? One answered Liz Uy.”

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The Takeaway:
Doing your research on the company you’re applying for is one of the most basic parts of preparing for an interview. If you skip this step, you risk embarrassing yourself like the applicants mentioned above.

The Story:
Michelle Singson*, an executive at a PR company, sends writing tests to her applicants. “I sent the test on Tuesday, due Thursday. On Wednesday, I contacted her to remind her to also submit her résumé along with her test,” Singson recalls. “She replied, ‘Oh btw I can’t submit your test, I’m leaving on Friday for New York.’ I said, ‘So submit it on Thursday.’ She replied, ‘How about Monday when I’m in NY already so I’ll be more relaxed?’”

Another applicant told Michelle’s colleague, “I don’t have time for your writing test because I’m busy at work so just click on this link to see how I write. P.S. How much is the salary and what are the hours, anyway?”

The Takeaway:
When you’re applying for a job where you’ll be dealing with deadlines on a regular basis, it’s pretty important to take the application deadlines seriously. The last thing you should do is flat-out refuse to take a test and then ask about the salary before you’ve even been given a job offer. Nobody wants to hire an applicant who’s difficult to deal with from the very beginning.

*Name changed upon interviewee’s request

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About The Author
Angelica Gutierrez
Angelica is currently Editorial Assistant for Esquiremag.ph.
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