The UK's worst job interview disasters

'Do you always drink before interviews?'

bad job interview   concept

We've all had at least one job interview go badly wrong, leaving us lying awake in the small hours consumed with shame. We've said the wrong thing - or dried up completely - been late, or ill-prepared.

But a new report from job site CV-Library reveals that interview mistakes can get a lot worse than this, and that we're by no means the only ones to make them.

More than four in 10 workers say they've made a huge mistake in an interview, with 8% stating that things got so bad that they actually had to walk out.

"It's clear from our research that interview shockers are commonplace across the UK so don't beat yourself up about it," says Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library.

"Remember, you wouldn't have been asked in for an interview if the company wasn't interested in you and your CV, so believe in yourself and try not to let your nerves get the better of you."

The commonest mistake is to arrive unprepared - and around a third of us have done it. One in six say they've over-shared information, and 8% have arrived late.

Other common errors include confusing job roles and employers, talking badly about a previous employer, calling the interviewer the wrong name, lying about experience and swearing.

"Interview nerves can get the best of anyone, no matter how prepared you are! This often results in silly mistakes being made that wouldn't ordinarily happen in another situation," says Biggins.

"Putting plenty of practice in before with friends and family is crucial and remember to breathe, keep a calm head and rationalise your fears."

So what can you do to recover some ground if your interview hasn't gone well?

First, think about exactly where you went wrong, and how you can avoid making the same mistake next time.

Some recruiters advise sending a follow-up letter - and it can't do any harm.

"This is your chance to set the record straight and take back the initiative. Put together a concise, hard-hitting letter, using verifiable facts to back up your case wherever you can," says Erin Kennedy of TargetJobs.

"When your prospective employer receives the letter, they will know, even if you didn't show it in the interview, that you very much want the job and further, that you're uniquely qualified for it."

Finally, give yourself a break. You may be focusing on the one thing you got wrong, but it's perfectly possible that the interview as a whole went well.

And you can't assume that all the other candidates performed perfectly - maybe one of them committed one of the interview crimes below...

CV-Library's top interview shockers:

1. "I arrived for what I thought was a DRIVING job, but it was actually for a DIVING job - which I wasn't even qualified for." (Dan from Guildford)

2. "I called the interviewer by the wrong name and also did not properly research the company before meeting with them. I was so embarrassed I couldn't make eye contact when I left." (Maria from Cardiff)

3. "I declined the offered glass of water, then proceeded to have a coughing fit that made me retch all over the table. Should have taken the damn water!" (Jane from Derby)

4. "I once couldn't stop farting in an interview because I was so nervous." (Harry from Newcastle)

5. "I was so nervous that I ended up giving too much detail about my employer to an interviewer who was also a major competitor to my current workplace. I then had to send a grovelling email asking them not to repeat what I had said!" (Sam from Leeds)

6. "I actually felt so relaxed that I sat back too far on my seat and fell off the chair. I didn't get the job." (Lizzie from Southampton)

7. "My hair once turned green before an interview and I didn't have time to sort it out: cue going into the interview looking like an idiot! I then proceeded to waffle on to the interviewers all about what had happened, totally forgetting where I was and who I was talking to!" (Chantelle from London)

8. "It was January, in the North of Scotland and my car had broken down, meaning I had to travel about 50 miles by motorbike, in a suit. When I arrived for the interview I was soaking wet, freezing and unable to talk for a good thirty minutes! All I wanted to do was hug the radiator..." (Andrew from Inverness)

9. "I once attended an interview where halfway through the manager sacked a member of staff over the phone, instructing her associates to march the sacked staff out of the shop. Then she turned to me and asked "And what makes you so special for this job?" Guess who didn't get that job?!" (Chris from Brighton)

10. "I swore at a bloke who opened his car door onto my car. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the interview and he was sat there. He never had a sense of humour about it either." (Liam from Tunbridge Wells)

11. "The interviewer greeted me with "who the f**k are you?" when I arrived and asked for him. Needless to say, what followed was not good." (Shona from Cambridge)

12. "I arrived early to an interview which was a long drive away, so decided to grab a bit to eat at a pub next door, as well as a shandy to calm my nerves. What I didn't realise was my interviewer was having lunch there too (with a soft drink). His first question was 'Do you always drink before interviews?'" (Joe from Bridgend)

13. "Many years ago I was in an interview and asked to describe myself in three words.. bizarrely I chose 'crazy' as one of them. I have no idea why I felt that that was a positive attribute but I was only 21 and probably a little nervous." (Lisa from Bournemouth)

14. "My biggest interview nightmare was when I applied for two jobs on complete different ends of the spectrum and turned up to one job interview thinking it was for the other job! I completely embarrassed myself, however the interviewer was impressed with my enthusiasm despite making a complete fool of myself!" (Laura from Newport)

15. "My pants falling down." (Rachel from Sheffield)

16. "I arrived at an interview and was told my interviewer was running a little late. After nearly an hour and a half, she finally came out and we began chatting. Out of nowhere she begins to cry and quickly becomes so hysterical that her nose bleeds! I was so shocked and tried to console her but she was howling. Eventually she got up and left – I was baffled." (Naomi from Glasgow)

17. "I was once interviewed by a woman whose blouse popped open – it was very awkward but she quickly did it back up and continued with the interview." (Luke from Winchester)

18. "I tripped and fell over as I entered the interview." (Jack from Chester)

19. "When asked why I wanted the job my mind went blank and I just giggled. I couldn't stop and before I knew it I was crying with laughter. I had to be offered a glass of water to calm down." (Natasha from Doncaster)

20. "I turned up really hungover to an interview and had to excuse myself to go and be sick. It was a low point in my life." (Toby from Wolverhampton)


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