The Worst Thing I Ever Heard In a Job Interview

man and woman at job interview in a restaurant

Man and woman in a restaurant | Source: iStock

“The waiter returned with the credit card slip,” Maher told The Cheat Sheet. “I signed it and as I usually do, left the tip in cash, and the woman and I got up to leave.”

“After a few steps, she said, ‘Oh, just a minute,’ and went back to the table. Her back was to me so I couldn’t see what she was doing. But when she moved back toward me I have to say, I examined the table pretty closely. I really thought she might have picked up the tip. She hadn’t but, unbelievably, both the salt and pepper shakers were gone.” Maher decided not to offer her the job.

Stealing the condiments is an extreme example of bad job interview behavior, but there are plenty of other ways to sink your chances of landing the job. We had some career experts share their stories of the worst things they’d ever heard a candidate say in a job interview, so you can learn from other people’s mistakes.

“When do I start?”

“The worst thing I ever heard in a job interview was ‘OK, so when do I start?’” Pierre Tremblay, the director of human resources at Dupray, a company that sells steam cleaners and steam irons, told The Cheat Sheet. The candidate lobbed the presumptive question at Tremblay just five minutes into an hour-long interview for a product manager position in the company’s e-commerce department.

“You should never presume you will automatically get the job,” Tremblay said. “We probably have four to five other candidates lined up. A candidate’s cockiness detracts from their overall appeal.”

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