Next time you feel like kicking yourself for tanking a job interview, hold off a second. Employees get asked embarrassing questions all the time. So, until you’ve actually sung your responses to interview questions or confessed that you’re only in it for the medical benefits, know that there are still many people who’ve had worse days than you. Want proof? Robert Half drummed up a list of the weirdest things candidates have said during interviews, and trust us, your accidental stutter hardly makes the top-10 list.
It’s bizarre what people consider small talk these days. Here are some of the craziest and most bold interview statements ever made.
10. Talkin’ trash
- “My previous manager was an idiot.”
It’s never a good idea to badmouth previous employers during an interview — no matter how incompetent they may have been. If you must explain why you parted ways in a bad way, Glassdoor suggests you avoid giving unnecessary information and turn the negative into a positive. It seems this particular interview candidate missed the message, though. His or her response earns itself a prime spot on our list of wackiest job interview statements ever made.
Next: Fun facts that aren’t actually fun.
9. Too much information
- “My tooth fell out right before I got here.”
Oversharing is a common interview mistake made by nervous applicants. But if you must rant, rant about your main responsibilities in your last role. Unfortunately, some people take oversharing to a new level, mentioning personal things that are best kept secret, such as your dental history.
Another interview candidates went way off track, too, accidentally blabbing, “I watered artificial plants once because I didn’t know they were fake.”
Next: Telling the truth is not always best.
8. Honesty is not the best policy
- “I don’t like working with people.”
When prompted to say something interesting about yourself, it’s easy to freeze and blurt out the first honest thought that comes to mind. But we can say with certainty that confirming your dislike of the public — when interviewing for a team-based role — is definitely the wrong way to go.
As is replying that “I don’t want to work for this company, but I really need a job” when answering why you want this job. Yes, it may be true, but keep it to yourself. Detailing why you’re the perfect person for the role in question is one of the few times it’s actually OK to lie in an interview.
Next: Sometimes, there are no words…
- “Can I bring my snake to the office?”
Ask any recruiter to recall the craziest things they’ve ever witnessed during an interview, and they’ll do so without much effort. But sometimes there really are no words for things candidates ask. The Robert Half survey notes countless statements that would make any employer scratch their heads and say, “Huh?” Snake inquiries take the top prize, but “Can I keep a fish at my desk?” comes in a close second.
And of course, the ultimate head-scratcher, “Your office is smaller than I expected.”
Um, thank you?
Next: These candidates aren’t quite sure.
6. Self-doubt and disbelief
- “I don’t think I’m going to get hired.”
Portraying confidence in your abilities to be successful at your job during an interview is key. Self-doubt is not. The trick is to fall somewhere in between, in the area Career Attraction dubs as “likeably confident.” You can start heading in this direction by avoiding phrases that indicate uncertainty and disbelief, like someone who once confessed, “I can’t believe I got an interview.”
Next: Going too far in the other direction
5. Overwhelming confidence
- “There’s no reason to interview anyone else because I’m the best candidate.”
Just like you need to avoid self-doubt, you’ll also want to give arrogance a wide berth as well. The overly cocky interviewee above, as well as the candidate who shockingly revealed, “I only need this job until I find something better” provides a good example of what not to say during a job interview. Statements such as this come across too strong and leave the wrong impression — so wrong that they ended up on Robert Half’s weirdest things to ever say list.
Next: These candidates needed another day or two to prepare
4. Ill-prepared and unprofessional
- “What does this company do?”
Career experts will go blue in the face warning job applicants to do their homework on a company beforehand. Those who show up to an interview with little idea about the job posting, the company, or its recent successes are committing one of the biggest rookie interview mistakes ever. Stupid questions like the one above prove how ill-prepared you are for the interview and will probably get your resume tossed in the trash.
And if you’re asking questions such as, “Can I take four breaks during work, each an hour long?”, maybe you’re not ready to join the workforce at all.
Next: Where are your manners?
3. Rude behavior
- “Can you hurry with this interview?
There’s much to be said — and read — about how to keep your cool with an overly mean interviewer. But maybe hearing a few less-than-polite statements that are commonly directed their way will help you remain dignified during your next tough meeting. One person actually asked, “Can we reschedule this? There’s another interview I really want to attend.”
Similar statements were also recorded like, “Excuse me while I take this other call on my cell phone,” both of which do nothing to prove you ever learned your manners in grade school.
Next: Ulterior motives revealed
2. Money-hungry questions
- “How long before I double my salary?”
Managing editor at CNBC, Jenna Goodreau, says that failing to have follow-up questions prepared when asked “signals you don’t care, aren’t curious, or haven’t done your homework” on the company. Appropriate fallback questions, should you draw a blank, could revolve around company culture or daily expectations.
Unfortunately for some Robert Half participants, they went with something a little less fitting and chose to show their greedy side instead. Salary questions like the one above or, “How can I become the boss here?” will likely ruin any shot you had at making it to the next round of interviews.
Next: Someone thinks highly of themselves
1. Indecent proposals
- “If the interview doesn’t go well, maybe we can go on a date instead.”
Inappropriate statements such as these will almost always cost you the job. Sexual harassment at work is very serious nowadays and tolerance for these types of statements is very low. Still, some candidates can’t help themselves when it comes to pushing the envelope. Believe it or not, one candidate had enough guts to tell an employer, out loud, that “You should hire me because I’m attractive.”
Follow Lauren on Twitter @la_hamer.
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