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5 Ways to Embarrass Yourself at a Job Interview

Updated on July 8, 2010

Most of us have had to have a few job interviews in our day, and you can't hit all of them out of the park. All you can really hope for is a line drive single, or at least an error by the first basemen. Sometimes, though, you swing and let the bat fly into the pitcher's mound. My sports metaphor is running dry, so let's just say we're gonna talk about ways to ensure your job interview requires at least a few months of therapy to recover.

This guy is still better dressed than you are.
This guy is still better dressed than you are.

#5- Dress For Clown College

Way to go, sausage fingers. You can't even tie your necktie correctly? Imagine this: you schmoozing with the interviewer, trying to charm yourself into a job. Halfway through, you realize you're sporting what could only be described as 3/8 Windsor. Get ready for a shame spiral.

Or maybe you thought that a hot dog with all the fixin's would help take the edge off before your one pm interview. Now you're sitting there looking like something Picasso painted while the man you're supposed to be impressing is snickering. Good work.

When you go in for a job interview, your first impression should NOT be John Belushi from Animal House.

#4- Forget Who Is Interviewing You

So, you managed to not show up looking like a slob. GOOD JOB, do you want a gold star for brushing your teeth too? You waltz into the office, stride over to the receptionist and confidently announce "I'm John Everyman, I'm here for a 10:00 am interview."

"Excellent, sir. Who are you meeting with?"

Well, crap.

If you manage to make the entire office run around because you're too dense to remember who you were supposed to meet with, you can skip the flop sweat portion and just walk back to the elevator. But, it's okay: they won't remember you either.

Sir Walter Scott said something about webs and deception or something.
Sir Walter Scott said something about webs and deception or something.

#3 - Get Caught In A Lie

You know how they ask for permission to call previous employers? Well, they weren't just testing you. Don't try and say you were fired for just being too awesome at your job, when it turns out you slept with the boss's wife AND secretary (really, though, what was he so upset about? Sleeping with both of them was the one thing you had in common). When your interviewer calls you on the discrepancies, you really only have two options: play it off or lie some more.

Of the two, I think it would be best to stick with continuing the web of lies. You couldn't really laugh off "Haha, yeah, I straight up lied to you before I even met you." And if you can, you're already a member of congress and you don't need my advice.

So go whole hog. Accuse your former employers of being rapist-murderers, and maybe closet racists to boot. It doesn't matter if you're a minority or not, racists are bad whether they were holding you down or someone else.

Either way, get ready to run the risk of looking like a damned fool.


#2- You're A Dunce

Have you ever tried to smile your way through a stern teachers questions you don't understand? Blankly stared at a date while they talk about their (stupid) hobby? Are you Sarah Palin?

Than chances are you know how it feels when you show up to a job interview and you cannot answer the questions asked of you.

Tell me about your favorite project. favorite project? Runway?

How would you use the SSR Software to implement openbook tech into Human Resources?

Here, a chorus of crickets loudly chirps.

This is even worse than the last one, because not even lying can save you here. The interviewers wants a specific answer and you're just not able to provide it. You can stammer something that sounds like an answer to try and save face, but you both know that you just made that up. If you're lucky, you can make up some ground on the next question. If you're not? Back to the breadlines with you.

What you can't see, is that the boss is going to put that woman's resume into a paper shredder.
What you can't see, is that the boss is going to put that woman's resume into a paper shredder.

#1- You Don't Even Belong Here

Now, this one is not entirely your fault. Clearly, there has been a misstep somewhere between the top, HR, and when you got asked to come in for a visit. That doesn't make it any less embarrassing when you show up to a job interview and you know almost immediately you are NOT the person who is right for this job.

Fresh out of college and ready to go, you get a hit form a recruiter. Putting on your best suit and tie (previously dad's), you head into the office and are peppered with questions about your management experience and your previous leadership skills at other corporations. Try as you might, you can't convince them that organizing an intramural lacrosse team is the equivalent of leading a ten person marketing think tank.

Later, you'll be able to write this one off as a funny mistake that has no bearing on you at all. However, during the interview all you'll be wishing is for the devil himself to open up the ground beneath you and deliver you to the sweet release of Hades below. This type of interview is a quick way to learn just how inexperienced you are and how little you're actually qualified to do.

Don't get too down though. There's always people out there even MORE incompetent than you are, so eventually someone will have to settle.


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