This Has Got To Be One Of The WORST Interviews Possible (You Decide)

I cannot claim the following as the “worst ever” because there are too many examples of poorly prepared interviewers and bad questions. But the following true story certainly deserves a nomination for the list of possibilities. Related: 5 Ways To Recover From A Bad Job Interview It happened on a Saturday morning – and perhaps more unfortunate, it happened to a 16-17-year-old teen. Not a good way to start off this young man’s experience with being interviewed. It was a local “quick oil change” shop. I was there to have my car serviced when this young man walked in, neatly dressed, and asked for the manager. The attendant excused himself and walked into the service area. About 10-15 minutes later, the manager walked in, greeted the young man and said: “Sorry for the delay, I had something important to take care of.” Oops! – glad he just told the young man that he wasn’t important – and likely sent a clear message about how important his employees are (or will be). I point out that at this point my service was completed, and I paid my bill – but I didn’t leave. I knew I had to sit down, pretend to read a magazine and see where this interview was going. The manager continued the interview with: “So, tell me about yourself.” The classic, most frequently asked first question – in some ways the worst question but the truth is that it’s a bad question because the overwhelming majority of candidates are not prepared to answer it effectively. But a 16-17-year-old? The young man clearly stumbled. I could see the thinking going on in his head: “I’m 16, I go to school….” And that’s basically how he answered the question. I was sitting less than five feet from this “interview, ” and it was easy to read the non-verbals from this young man. He’s thinking “how am I supposed to answer this?” The next question was “What do you know about this company?” It’s common practice to expect candidates to know something about the company but a 16-year-old? I think the interviewer was expecting the young man to know the company’s ranking in the Fortune 500 or their current stock price. The teen replied with the painfully obvious: “You change the oil in cars.” I think the young man nailed it! It gets better – or worse depending on your point of view. The next question was: “What can you do for me?” Honestly, I was torn between jumping into the interview because of the empathy I was feeling for this young man or falling out of my chair laughing. I couldn’t have scripted a poor interview any better. Again the young man, very uncomfortably, said: “Well, I guess I can change the oil.” Good answer – pretty directly appears to respond to the number one expectation for the job. It’s not going to get any better – the next question was “What are your strengths?” Now I am a firm believer in people understanding their strengths. But the bottom line is that most high school students have not been exposed to this – and often don’t see themselves as having any real strengths. This was again verified by the young man’s clear and growing discomfort. He basically struggled to answer that he wasn’t sure, that he’d been getting good grades in school, gets along with his parents… Most interviewers probably know the final question – “What about your weaknesses?” It was again painful to watch as the young man, attempting to maintain his composure, clearly didn’t know what to say, hesitating before responding, that “I think my parents feel I’m messy at times.” I know that this young man applied for this job – perhaps because he wanted to work with cars, perhaps because he needed to get a job to earn money for gas, for school, for dates… But I really wanted to step in and tell this young man that the last thing he wanted to do was to accept a job working for a manager who just demonstrated such incompetence. And I was pretty certain, that if he did accept a position for this company, he’d likely not stay very long – adding another example to the problems of youth and part-time jobs. There are two major conclusions here. The first is clear – for job seekers. You’ll be asked bad questions – learn how to give good answers even to the worst of questions included here. The second is the charge to managers. Hiring is one of the most important things that you do – getting the right people is clearly tied to your organization’s productivity and quality service. This is clearly a script for the absolute wrong way to conduct an interview – don’t follow it! (Note: this story is 100% accurate. I’ve actually got a picture of the business where it occurred.)


Related Posts

3 Steps To Genuine Productivity At Work Want To Be More Productive? 6 Things To Consider 5 Yoga Practices That Make You More Productive Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a Work It Daily-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Bigstock

In our new YouTube series, "Well This Happened" it's your turn to be the career coach! What would you do if you asked a coworker when the baby was due and she responded with, "I'm not pregnant." Watch the video and cast your vote b posting a comment on Youtube. We'll select one person from the correct answers at random to win free membership to the Work It Daily program. Good luck!

SHOW MORE Show less

If you've ever wondered what a Work It Daily (WID) membership could do for you, a letter we got this week provides a powerful example...

SHOW MORE Show less

There are 3 things hiring managers are trying to initially assess about you in the job interview. This video walks you through what they are looking for and offers insights into the right information to give them. Be sure to check out our free resources mentioned in the video too. They are:

SHOW MORE Show less

Last week during my Office Hours on Youtube, a client asked about how to deal with a workplace bully. After spending many years in corporate HR, I flipped to the other side and became a career therapist. So, I've seen both sides of this situation in the workplace. In this video, I discuss why people struggle to deal with bullies and what you can do to change the situation instantly.

This week, I did something that truly scared me. I sent an email to over 120,000 Work It Daily newsletter subscribers and asked them to answer the question, "What do we do?"

SHOW MORE Show less

A market correction is going to happen. When it does, layoffs will follow. I've been in the HR and recruiting industry for over two decades and have seen three recessions of varying sizes. In the video above, I explain how to tell when a recession is coming and what that means to you and your career. While many people will skip watching this. Or, will watch it and do nothing. I hope YOU are the smart, savvy professional who sees how important it is to prepare for unexpected, unwelcomed career circumstances.

SHOW MORE Show less

In this video, you'll learn how to tell if your career is plateauing due to the Executive Blues. You'll also learn what you can do to fix the problem and get your "executive energy" back so you can keep your career on track and set goals to reach new heights of success!

Want to watch the full video tutorial by J.T.?

CLICK HERE to get access!