10 tech interview and hiring horror stories

Starting a new job can be a nerve-wracking experience, but these stories take it to the next level.

Video: The 5 best questions to ask during a technical job interview Conducting a technical job interview can be a challenge even for skilled IT pros. TechRepublic's Alison DeNisco explains the essential questions everyone should ask when interviewing tech talent.

In-person interviews are a crucial part of the hiring process, especially during a time when the national unemployment rate is at a low. With a low unemployment rate, there may be less competition, but there also may be fewer opportunities available.

Hiring managers are looking for a slew of different qualities in a tech candidate, including enthusiasm, inquisitiveness, determination, and more. Soft skills are also vital for candidates looking for tech positions: Almost all (98%) HR leaders said soft skills are important for candidates entering the tech field, according to a recent Udemy report.

SEE: Recruiting and hiring top talent: A guide for business leaders (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The bottom line is that employers are looking for more than just tech skills in candidates. Most people can learn technical skills, but emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills are tougher to teach, which is why they are proven to be so lucrative in candidates.

In-person interviews are where candidates can show off these skills, go beyond the resume, and ultimately, get hired. However, in-person interviews and interactions are also the downfall for many candidates.

To highlight these downfalls, JazzHR surveyed their network of hiring managers to learn about some of the biggest mistakes new hires and candidates have made. Here are the 10 of the most outlandish experiences, from hiring managers who remain anonymous.

1. The "quick call"

"I was in the middle of an interview and the candidate said he had to make a quick phone call. They didn't come back for an hour and still wanted to proceed with the interview!"

2. Too many applications

"I have had several past candidates start to look extremely confused mid-interview. When I would ask them what the problem was, they would ask me to tell me who I was and what the company was they were at. Apparently they had applied to multiple jobs and could not keep them straight - they had no idea what company they were interviewing with!"

3. Day drinking

"Mid-interview I thought I had the perfect candidate for the position. As I was about to extend the job offer, he began to sweat profusely. I offered water, turned the air conditioner to a lower temperature as he began to mumble. He excused himself to go to the restroom but didn't return after 15 minutes. I asked a male staff member to enter the men's restroom to check on him. The door was somehow locked and barricaded. The applicant wouldn't answer our calls to open the door but began rambling aloud. I called the fire department and after another 20 minutes the applicant emerged totally intoxicated (empty bottle in hand). The next day his wife called me requesting to know when his start date would be."

4. Excuses, excuses

"I made a job offer to a candidate, then he ghosted for 4 days. Then he reappeared and said he'd been camping and accepted the offer to start in 2 weeks. Then 10 days later he contacted me to say he had a doctor appointment on his first scheduled day of work, and also would it be okay for him to leave early every Tuesday and Thursday for the next few months? Needless to say, he did not end up working here."

5. Late arrival

"Shortly after I hired what I thought was a top-rated candidate, they began arriving for work later and later each day; up to 4:30 p.m. Their work suffered, as well."

SEE: Telephone interview cheat sheet: Software developer (Tech Pro Research)

6. Nap time

"I had obtained a temporary Administrative Assistant with the intent to eventually hire her. I was in my office, and I knew she was in the leasing office. I needed something in the filing cabinet in the leasing office. When I entered the office lights were off, it was before lunch, so I thought it was rather odd that she was nowhere around and the light was off, since I didn't see her leave. I proceeded to turn the light on and walked towards the filing cabinet, when all of a sudden the desk chair moved. The temp proceeded to climb from under the desk. I when I asked her why she was under there, she proceeded to inform me in a very calm voice that she was taking a nap."

7. Adults only

"We had a new hire who was provided a company direct billed credit card to pay for food and lodging when attending new hire training in another office location. When the bill arrived, there were a number of charges on the card from an adult novelty store located close to the hotel in which the employee was staying. When asked why there were charges unrelated to the food and lodging expenses, the employee stated he did not want his wife to find out about the items he purchased because they were for her birthday."

8. Out of the country

"We hired an employee who seemed like he would be a great fit. Two days before his agreed on start date, he called and asked if his start date could be moved back a week. We agreed. His new start date arrived, but the employee did not. We called, left messages and sent e-mails with no response. We moved on, interviewed again, hired someone else. Two months later, the no-show candidate called and asked if he could start now, he had to leave the country for an emergency, and wanted to start."

9. Going climbing

"A recently hired team member insisted they move the desk in their cubicle. Of course, there is only one way for the desk to fit comfortably in the space. So, he blocked the entrance and had to climb under his desk anytime he needed to leave his cube."

10. Bubble Boy

"Recently hired team member decided they were allergic to carpets, air system, and their desk. They asked multiple times for everything to be replaced."

Check out this TechRepublic article for more habits to avoid during your interview.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/AndreyPopov

By Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.