25 Hilarious (and Terrifying) Real-Life Job Interview Red Flags

by Evil HR Lady on August 26, 2019

You can Google lists of red flags for job hunters, but nothing beats actual stories. Some hiring managers really need a good dose of training before they are allowed anywhere near job candidates. Of course, we should be grateful some of them are so unintentionally honest about how awful they are to work for.

A data scientist tweeted this:

Data Bear, PhD @dataandpolitics

What was the biggest red flag you’ve ever gotten during a job interview?5335:36 AM – Aug 20, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy809 people are talking about this

And boy, did people respond! I’ve chosen 25 of my favorite responses, but if you have time, go read the whole thread. It’s hilarious, frightening, and worth your time.

  1. Captain Awkward: Potential boss’s office was a mess – overflowing with clutter. He offered to take my nice expensive wool professional-lady coat from me, looked around, realized he had no place to hang it, so he balled it up and put it under his chair. And then sat down and started asking ?.

To keep reading, click here: 25 Hilarious (and Terrifying) Real-Life Job Interview Red Flags

Leave your stories in the comments or send them to EvilHRLady@gmail.com or join me on Facebook to discuss them. 

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn King August 26, 2019 at 1:51 pm

My husband was interviewed one time and told the company has “a very generous two weeks vacation but we ask you not to use it.”

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Mr Vacant during Vacation September 5, 2019 at 12:35 am

Sounds like “unlimited” vacation policy– contingent on manager prior approval (a year in advance), and your flexibility to cover issues that arise during vacation.

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MaryK August 26, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Upon arriving at an interview several years ago, I was handed the company’s sales catalog & told I could look thru it while waiting. While I had nothing against their product, it wasn’t something I was interested in owning. It also made me wonder if it was part of the interview. It wasn’t, but I was asked how smart I was during the interview. Um, compared to what?

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old_engineer August 26, 2019 at 3:13 pm

At one job interview, the older manager asked me to read a flow chart of a type I had never seen before with industry custom acronyms. I told him at least three times I could not immediately read his diagram. The bigger red flag was the “new employee” in the open plan office, who heard every word. When I said I had created a new documentation suite weeks after starting another job, the boss said, “See that new employee? After a year and a half he is just starting to be productive.” I regret not walking out immediately.

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(Mr.) Cajun2core August 26, 2019 at 3:30 pm

#25 is not that outrageous. Some people might. Maybe she previously had a problem with someone who had a problem with her being a woman and she was just trying to avoid a repeat issue. I have been asked if I had any problems working for someone younger than me. I don’t.

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Observer August 27, 2019 at 1:09 am

I was thinking that as well. LOTS of people actually DO have a problem working for a woman. In that case, it would have been reasonable to find out why she asked that.

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Mr. Cajun2core August 27, 2019 at 3:12 pm

Yes. It would have been.

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Kathy August 26, 2019 at 4:56 pm

“Why did you leave your last job?” “I took voluntary early retirement to avoid the coming major layoff.” “So why aren’t you retired?” It seemed like an odd question for a panel of seven men to ask a woman who looks her age at about 50.

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Looking Again August 26, 2019 at 5:04 pm

I wish these included a corresponding year.

My friend was interviewed at the same time as another candidate (both in the same room). The interviewer asked her which of the 2 should be hired. She did not immediately walk out. (Circa 2015)

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Lora August 26, 2019 at 8:36 pm

Was asked to never ask for a promotion and id never get paid more than 9 per hour .was forced to sign a document to agree to the terms . It was my first job so I agreed. Was out of there as soon as I found a better opportunity .

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Jb August 27, 2019 at 4:06 am

Enjoyed the amusing read, but should we be concerned that 40% of these were racial/sexual discrimination related? Is it really still that bad?

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LanceySue August 27, 2019 at 4:30 pm

Oh yes! I interviewed at a major technology company where I was in front of a panel of women and one man. After a grueling quizzing of experience and technological questions from the women, we were about done when the male panelist asked me (female), “If you were a pancake in a stack, would you prefer to be on the top or the bottom.”
There is a 1% chance that the panelist had some lame psychological reason to ask that, but I’m 99% sure that his tone wanted me to answer the innuendo. I said that was a strange questions and I didn’t know how to answer it. I didn’t get the job, not that I would have taken it.

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AnonymousConstructionGirl September 11, 2019 at 1:39 pm

Sometimes its not even overtly sexual, but sexist. And it is irritating.

My first day, the building security officer attempted to escort me to the financial company upstairs, and was befuddled when I said that no, I was a recent hire by the construction firm on the main level.

Same morning, one of the project managers I’d not met yet joked about “why is the receptionist sitting in the back?”. Um, because I’m not the receptionist, I’m not in payroll, I’m not in AR/AP…but I am in your department?

Thankfully, they’re one-of incidents and all has been well since.

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jdgalt August 27, 2019 at 5:14 am

In most of these cases I hope the interviewer is the one whom the company is looking to replace.

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Anon August 29, 2019 at 2:54 am

A few years ago I went on an interview after dropping my wedding rings off to be cleaned. Male interviewer asked me how old I was. When I answered “33”, he said “oh you poor thing…you never got married?” Dude couldn’t have been older than 45 or so and yet clearly it was 1956 in his mind. Bizarre.

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Eric Levine August 29, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Podcast “Tip not included”

“As I greeted the Senior Manager set to interview me , he said before we get started would you mind getting me some coffee? he asks me to get coffee, mind you this was was a Senior Manager position opening ….”

You should all listen to the podcast “Tip Not Included”

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Mr Hundred-Horsepower September 5, 2019 at 1:01 am

I had one like #6. As soon as the boss stepped out of the conference/interview room to take an urgent customer call, I asked my two prospective peers: “is there anything I should know?’

They said “Run!! There are no other jobs in this one-horse town; as soon as you buy a house, the boss knows he owns you, and the work will just increase…”

I took their advice.

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