Job interviews can can be awkward and nerve wracking, but there's
usually at least a minimum standard of professional behavior that you
can expect. Unfortunately, things sometimes take a turn toward the
A recent Quora thread
asked people to describe the most bizarre job interview experiences
they've been through or know about. We've pulled out a few of the best
stories. These are personal anecdotes, and a few are anonymous, so take
them with a grain of salt.
A Silicon Valley CEO set an alarm to let a candidate know they were missing their flight.
One Quora user,
after passing all of his early stage interviews, was set for a final
talk with the CEO of an (unnamed) Silicon Valley tech company.
The interview was scheduled for mid afternoon, but the candidate
wasn't called in until 8:00 in the evening, despite being scheduled for a
red-eye return flight to Boston that night. Many CEOs like to keep you
waiting for a bit to make it clear who's in charge, but this particular
boss went way beyond that.
"We are having the interview when an appointment alert goes off: he
stops it and explains 'that means you have missed your flight.'
"Which I had realized and expected...
"But it was obviously important enough that the CEO of a major company
set an alert specifically to tell him that he had waited long enough to
make me miss my plane..."
What's particularly crazy is that the company had paid for the
flight in the first place. The candidate ended up getting the job,
which came with a great salary and pre-IPO stock options. But he ended
up turning it down.
That provoked an impassioned email from the CEO:
"The classic line was: 'I HAVE A LIST OF THE TEN STUPIDEST PEOPLE IN AMERICA. YOU ARE NOW ON THAT LIST. YOU IDIOT.'"
"Financially, it might have been the worst decision I'll ever make," the Quora user writes. But he doesn't regret it for a second.
This story comes from a friend of a Quora user.
The friend, a CEO and founder, was interviewing a series of candidates.
When the next one came in, a golden retriever wandered in alongside
them. They started the interview anyway, as the dog laid down under the
table, not bothering anybody.
"Eventually [he] had to say something...My friend can't take it any
more. He likes the candidate and the interview was otherwise normal so
now he bursts out, not angrily but very curiously, with, 'Why did you
think it was normal to bring your dog to an interview?'
"The candidate's reply was, 'My dog? I thought it was your dog! I wanted to ask you the same question!'
"Turns out the dog had just been out for a loiter and decided on a whim to traipse in an opening door."
The interview kept going even as an earthquake forced everyone else out of the building.
One Quora user
had a somewhat more serious interruption. He was in the last of a
series of interviews with the ex-military, Israeli CEO of a Silicon
Valley company when this happened:
"An earthquake started, and kept going, fairly seriously, and from my
chair I could see people running down the corridor toward the exit. The
CEO reacted to this not at all. I kept the conversation going. The
quake got more intense, stuff falling off of bookshelves, etc., and more
and more people fleeing the building. I decided that if the CEO could
take it, so could I. We kept right on talking until we were the only two
people left in the building.
"A half-hour later, people were
straggling back into the building, and we were still talking.
Eventually, everyone had returned to work, and we finished our
conversation. He shook hands with me, thanked me, said they would 'be in
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