Hiring Managers Admit Why They Turned Down A Candidate

Though there are a plethora of tips and tricks out there to make getting hired easier, sometimes interviews go terribly wrong. While most of the reasons are those you’d expect, the stories themselves are outlandish. From disrespecting the employees to claiming to be telekinetic, some of the tales are hard to believe. Whether you’re looking for interview tips or just want a good laugh, read on to discover what candidates said or did that cost them the job in the eyes of hiring managers.

Not Wanting To Put In Hard Work

Taylor Hill/WireImage/Getty Images
Taylor Hill/WireImage/Getty Images

Reddit user Deingel relayed an interview story that plunged a candidate after they had already been offered a position. Due to the interviewee’s credentials, Deingel offered him a position as an assistant, to which the candidate looked “disgusted” and asked to be General Production Manager instead.

Upon asking him why he felt this way, he replied, “Seems like one of those jobs where I can sit in the office and play games on my phone all day without having to actually do anything.” Needless to say, the lazy worker did not get hired.

Googling Interview Questions During Phone Interviews

Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Reddit user BritishDuffer posted about one particular annoyance they’ve encountered while conducting phone or Skype interviews: the interviewee looking up each question they ask on Google before giving their response. The user writes, “It’s a dead giveaway when after every question there’s 10 seconds of umming, and then a textbook answer.”

Garfield-1-23-23 echoed this frustration saying that you can hear the interviewee’s keyboard after each question. Like they told us in high school, cheating doesn’t help you. Interviews are all about discovering if you’d be a good fit, so being yourself is the best way to go.

Not Paying Attention To The Person Asking The Questions

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival

One Reddit user wrote about a candidate they interviewed alongside the hiring manager. The open position was on the same level as the Reddit user, so the manager wanted to be sure the candidate would make a good partner.

After every question posed by the Reddit user, the candidate would respond to the manager. While the candidate thought that the manager would be determining their fate, it was actually left in the hands of the Reddit user. They gave a “hard no” on account of the candidate’s lack of respect for their peers.

Claiming To Have Telekinetic Powers

man-holding-his-head-while-he-concentrates
BILL GREENBLATT/AFP via Getty Images
BILL GREENBLATT/AFP via Getty Images

Reddit user DustPuppySnr wrote about one of the oddest interview encounters we’ve discovered yet. It all started when DustPuppySnr offered the interviewee some coffee. Rather than merely declining, the candidate decided to explain why they were avoiding the beverage.

Apparently, they were on a “broccoli and chocolate” diet they believed would improve their telekinesis. While this story may seem outlandish, it’s important to note that you should keep your controversial beliefs out of the interview. If it isn’t relevant to the job, there’s no need to mention it, especially if it may get some raised eyebrows.

Not Answering The Phone Appropriately

Icons8 Team/Unsplash
Icons8 Team/Unsplash

Reddit user 83goat82 recalled a time that they called a candidate to set up an interview. The man answered the phone and immediately said, “Who is this? [What] you want?” The hiring manager replied that they had been calling for an interview, but nevermind.

The candidate proceeded to call them a liar due to the area code, which was for the neighboring city. Reddit user SufficientlyAwkward had a similar story about a candidate who answered with a blunt “hey,” followed by “well that’s me, what do you want?” Don’t talk to your interviewer like they are a telemarketing scammer.

Arriving Late Without An Apology

Noel Vasquez/Getty Images
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

It’s no secret that arriving late gets you and the interviewer off to a poor start, but not apologizing makes it even worse. Reddit users shaka_sulu, xxjessicakesxx, and Unsound_M all agree that being late isn’t a deal-breaker, but not calling ahead, not apologizing, or not showing remorse evokes a lack of respect for their time.

Reddit user try004 shared an experience where they had an interview in a new city and their phone was dead. Upon arrival, they apologized to the manager and explained the scenario. The two laughed it off and they got the job.

Arriving Too Early

Shamin Nakhaei/Unsplash
Shamin Nakhaei/Unsplash

While many are well aware of the repercussions of being late, some don’t consider that being too early can also have negative results. Reddit user oni_nasu wrote about a scenario wherein a candidate arrived 45 minutes early to an interview, and eventually stormed out of the office because he was tired of having to wait.

Another Reddit user had a similar experience with an interviewee, which put unnecessary pressure on the company as they had limited meeting rooms and no waiting area. If you find yourself significantly early, take a walk or grab a coffee and show up five minutes before the interview time instead.

Dressing Casually For Lower Level Positions

gotpap/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty Images
gotpap/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty Images

One Reddit user stressed the importance of dressing up for the interview, even if it’s for an entry-level position. They wrote that a major nuisance is when young people arrive for an interview dressed in casual clothes.

A commenter mentioned that they had been under the impression that dressing formally for a lower-level job would come off as trying too hard. Some would say that you can never go wrong wearing a suit, but if that seems wildly over-the-top, business casual is the bare minimum attire to show that you take the job seriously at any level.

Using Improper Grammar And Punctuation

Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash
Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash

Similar to dressing sloppy, being careless with how you write emails can sink your chances of landing a job. Reddit user SunsetDreams1111 relayed a story about a woman he had interviewed who was very qualified aside from one thing: she sent horribly written correspondences.

Ultimately, they had to turn her down solely because her text message-style writing would reflect negatively on the company when she wrote to clients. Whether the job entails writing or not, having little regard for grammar and punctuation implies that you don’t take the job seriously.

Refusing To Answer A Job-Relevant Question

man-with-crossed-arms
Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One Reddit user told a story about a man they had interviewed who essentially refused to answer a pertinent question. They asked a question regarding Bidirectional Forwarding Detection, which they sometimes use to assist customers.

The interviewee simply replied, “Why do you think you need to know that?” That response would be perfectly acceptable if the question was personal and irrelevant, but not one pertaining to the job at hand. He was not hired by the company.

Giving “Perfect” Responses

RobinHiggins/Pixabay
RobinHiggins/Pixabay

Along the lines of being authentic, you don’t want to just say whatever you think the interviewer wants to hear. Reddit user Mac4491 recalled a recent interview they conducted wherein the candidate gave a perfect response to every question. Since they were generic questions, the interviewee seemed to lack personality.

Though Mac4491 told the hiring manager that the candidate didn’t seem to mean what she said, she was hired anyway. Sure enough, the woman was a horrid employee. Ultimately, who you are deep down prevails because it shows up in your work.

Embellishing Job Applications

Helloquence/Unsplash
Helloquence/Unsplash

Reddit user ZeroXTML1 told a story about on candidate whose resume was nearly unreadable. It wasn’t that their experience was awful, but rather the way they expressed their experience was the problem.

They explained that the resume included things like, “used whisk, spatula, and other kitchen utensils to circulate sauces and ingredients to bring all food to adequate cooking temperature when being prepared.” As the hiring manager put it, “best he could give me was a fancy way of saying he stirred.”

Mouthing Off Behind The Hiring Manager’s Back

Ben White/Unsplash
Ben White/Unsplash

Along the lines of being negative, it’s important to avoid speaking poorly about the place you plan on working. Reddit user whiddlekitty said that they were in management at a fast-food restaurant when a woman came in for an application.

Thinking that the hiring manager wasn’t around, she proceeded to tell the employees that she planned on “cleaning up [the employees’] act” once she was hired. Her application was ultimately tossed into the trash. You never know who it is you’re talking to and the power they may have over your chances of being hired.

Turning Into A Different Person When The Boss Leaves

the-incredible-hulk
Universal Studios
Universal Studios

It’s natural to be a little extra aware of yourself when the boss is around, but doing a complete 180 is a red flag that will get around to the hiring manager. Reddit user Bonzai_Tree wrote about getting promoted and needing to hire his replacement.

Still new to the role, the regional manager stepped in to lead the interview. Later on, Bonzai_Tree took the candidate on a tour without the regional manager, at which point the interviewee became utterly disrespectful. Not surprisingly, that individual was not hired.

Relying Too Heavily On A Reference

AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images
AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Reddit user The_angry_gray emphasized that upon being referred by an employee, it’s vital to try your hardest. They wrote that not giving your all at an interview is an especially bad sign when you’ve been referred since it shows a lack of consideration for the person who vouched for you.

By the same token, don’t assume that references only matter if the employee is higher up. Another Reddit user stated that they often prioritize those recommended by employees, regardless of the worker’s position. Being a shining star referred to by a lower-level worker may actually help that person get a promotion.

Dancing Around Questions

Rich Polk/Getty Images for Xandr
Rich Polk/Getty Images for Xandr

Reddit users Pays_in_snakes and met3_1 agree that their biggest pet peeve is someone who dances around the subject and uses vague interview language. Doing so leaves the hiring managers still in the dark about who they just interviewed.

Instead, offering thoughtful responses is the best way to show the interviewer who you really are. Being vague shows that you’re afraid to be upfront and honest. At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with taking a moment to gather your thoughts or fumbling a little. Just be sure that you are actually answering the question.

Putting Filler On Their Resume

Alika Jenner/Getty Images
Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Reddit users PaulClifford and still_sick both stressed that anything on your resume is fair game to be asked about. Many will put something on their resume as filler and then be taken aback when the hiring manager asks them about it.

One Reddit user offered an example, stating that someone’s resume read “experience with excel.” The interviewer proceeded to pull up excel to have the candidate perform a few basic activities. Once they saw that the candidate had no idea what they were doing, they knew that this was not the person to hire.

Trying To Take Control Of The Interview

Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Reddit user willywag recalled walking into a conference room to conduct an interview. Upon entering the candidate told them to have a seat and said “let’s talk.” Abrupt language like that would be a little off-putting coming from the manager, but it’s especially inappropriate coming from the interviewee.

A commenter attempted to analyze the tactic being employed by the interviewee. They figured that it was a product of being told to “take control of the meeting.” While it’s important to display confidence during an interview, it’s also vital to know your place.

Talking Down To The Interviewer

mother-scolding-son
H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images
H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images

Reddit user NickyTwoThumbs posted a story wherein they were conducting an interview with a college student who “had no practical experience.” Despite his minimal work history, the candidate had the nerve to spend the interview explaining everything that the company was doing wrong.

Another Reddit user had a similar experience with a candidate criticizing the tools the company used. Both hiring managers agree that trust needs to be built before opinions and ideas get thrown out. Additionally, trying to make yourself seem smarter than the person hiring you is not a good move.

Implying That They’re Going To Break The Rules

Thaddaeus McAdams/Getty Images
Thaddaeus McAdams/Getty Images

One Reddit user relayed a story about an interview they conducted at a previous job. At the end of the interview, they asked if the candidate had any questions. The interviewee asked if they clock in and out for lunch. Though a little suspect, the question seemed fair enough.

The candidate’s follow-up question was the real giveaway: she asked how late you have to be before you get into trouble. Whether the interviewee was trying to be funny or not, it left the impression that this person will test the limits to do the bare minimum.