Ranking My Worst Interview Moments

Ranking My Worst Interview Moments

Last week, after taking account of my recent finances, I realized I am, as the kids call it nowadays, “broke AF.” The bar I work at has not been as packed as I’d like lately, and in between football season, date nights, and my girlfriend’s upcoming birthday, I decided to pick up a second job to bring in some extra cash. Your boy is now the proud driver of a delivery van, bringing my official job count up to 21 over the course of my life. As you can imagine, this random barrage of employers has lead to some funny, strange, and downright disturbing interview moments, and I’ve decided to rank the most memorable ones.

4. My sign waving audition.

That’s right. For a brief time in 2010, I was a sign waver for a chain fabric store that will go unnamed. Ladies, please form an orderly line, there’s enough of me to go around. While this job only last about three weeks (because I blew off my shift to go party in Santa Barbara for week), I have no regrets because, for the only time in my life, another human being told me to “stop dancing so well.” My interview process consisted of the manager giving me an extremely detailed history lesson about the company and it’s business practices, and then handing me a sign and asking me to dance with it “as if I were out on the corner attracting customers.” I know he said that because that’s literally what my job would entail, but his inflection combined with his mustache really threw me off.

But I was broke, and I needed beer money, so I grabbed that arrow-shaped sign and busted out my moves like I was a backup dancer in Step Up 2: The Streets (it was topical in 2010). After about 15 seconds of me krumping and popping in a silent employee break room, the manager uttered those fateful words that I’d been waiting to hear my whole life. “You’re dancing too well. You really just need to move the sign a little bit so people can still read it.” That’s right. This Jewish kid had moves. I got the job, and immediately called every ex-girlfriend in my life that had told me I couldn’t dance and rubbed it in their face.

3. Showing off my wine-chugging skills.

In the summer following my sophomore year of high school, my mom decided that it was time for me to “stop doing stupid shit with my friends and go get a job.” I had no desire to do either, but in an effort to get her off my back, I applied to all the retail and service positions on the downtown strip. The only call back I got was to a five-star steak restaurant. I had applied to be a busboy and I figured even that was a long shot but went for it anyway.

However, when I walked in for my interview, the GM waved me over and immediately started talking about the waiting position he had available. He said he was impressed with my experience in the industry, and would love to get my opinions on which wine would be best paired with their meals (it was implied it was an unofficial test of sorts). At this point, I realized he thought I was a different applicant because 1.) I was six years shy of the legal drinking age, and 2.) my resume literally had zero experience on it. It was essentially just a piece of paper with my mom’s address. However, I wasn’t one to turn down a challenge (or free alcohol) so I slammed the glasses of wine and immediately declared the second one to be much preferable, with its “oaky finish and rich body.” The manager looked at me, at the empty wine glasses, and back to the resume in his hand and said, “What was your last name again?”

And thus ended my brief career in the fine dining world.

2. Wearing gym shorts to an interview.

In my defense, it was my first interview I had ever had, but in their defense, yeah, I should not have shown up wearing bright green basketball shorts. Like lime green. Hurts-your-eyes-to-look-at-them green. I was wondering why I was getting weird looks throughout the whole process and was completely blindsided when the manager pulled my aside and straight up asked me, “Why did you make the decision to wear basketball shorts to this interview?” My brain froze, but luckily my mouth has never listened to it anyway, and immediately hopped on the bullshit train. I talked about how they were the only pair of shorts I owned from their store, and I loved how they store offered bright clothes to showcase bright personalities, so I wanted to prove my loyalty to the brand. I was hired under the condition that I “go inside and buy some jeans.”

1. Crashing the company golf cart.

During my sophomore semester in college, I was working for the ad sales team on the school newspaper when they asked if I wanted to earn some extra cash. Knowing that cases of Keystone Light had just gone up a dollar at the liquor store, I obviously said yes and was interviewed for the position of “paper distributor,” or “paper bitch,” in layman’s terms. I was told to come in the next morning at 5:30 a.m. (when the route started) and shadow the current paper distributor as a final interview process. In what was a major oversight (for them), they failed to realize that 5:30 a.m. on a Wednesday was a mere two hours after Two Dollar Twosdays ended at the local watering hole. Needless to say, my sobriety was questionable when I rolled into work only to find that the “distribution” part of this job was done via golf cart. I was asked if I could drive the cart, and with both the confidence and spatial coordination only tequila shots can give someone, I responded with a firm “of course!” and immediately backed the cart into a pole. I mumbled something about “the E-brake not being engaged,” and managed to not hit anything until the interview ended. I held that job for the rest of the semester.

My advice? Never turn down an interview, always bullshit confidently, and you might fall ass-backwards into a great job.

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Nick Arcadia

The opposite of a life coach. Email or DM me if you want some bad advice:

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