You’re Kidding Me! – Interviewing Faux Pas

While some of these examples of what “not to do” in an interview may be funny, these interview horror stories will help you avoid both common and comical interview mistakes known to trip up job seekers.  

Being heavily involved in the employment scene, restaurant executive recruiters have heard every story in the book on interview no-no‘s. This is only a partial compilation of interview mishap stories told by recruiters and hiring managers. Many of the stories are not suitable for print. Avoid these when interviewing for your next restaurant management position!

  • When asked what the candidate saw himself doing in 2-3 years, he said, “running my own restaurant.” Not a great answer for employers hunting for stable help.
  • Said he was so well-qualified that if he didn’t get the job, it would prove that the company’s management was incompetent.
  • Her shirt was all wrinkled.
  • His shoes weren’t polished.
  • Candidate kept giggling nervously through a serious interview.
  • Said if he were hired, he would demonstrate his loyalty by having the company logo tattooed on his forearm. (Classy!)
  • Asked to see interviewer’s resume to see if the hiring manager was qualified to judge the candidate.
  • She was wearing sneakers.
  • Brought her large dog to the interview. (Really, is there an appropriate size “interview” dog?
  • He wasn’t sitting straight up. (Don’t slouch!)
  • He had an attitude from the moment he walked in.
  • He refused to fill out an application.
  • He wasn’t articulate.
  • He said he was going to retire in 5 years.
  • When asked about his skills, he stood up and started tap dancing around the dining room.
    She said, “If I never see another kitchen checklist again, that would be fine with me.” Fine, except she was applying for an Executive Chef position!
  • He said negative things about his former boss and employer.
  • He said he had left a previous job for more money.
  • Balding candidate abruptly excused himself and returned to the interview a few minutes later, wearing a hairpiece. Finish this sentence, “Waiter, there’s a hair in my….”
  • He frowned when I talked about the typical work week.
  • He looked away when giving me his answers. I thought he might be lying.
  • He had experience on his resume that he couldn’t back up.
  • When I asked questions about a particular work experience, he couldn’t answer. I wondered what other information on his resume wasn’t true.
  • Candidate wouldn’t get out of the chair until I would hire him. I had to call the police.
  • He was more interested in what he wanted to do, than in what I needed done.
  • He went from “A+” after looking at his resume to “B+” after the interview, due to his low energy levels and lack of enthusiasm.
  • The applicant challenged the interviewer to arm wrestle.
  • He kept saying he ONLY did this and ONLY did that, which sounds negative. I HAVE done this and HAVE done that sounds positive.
  • He was 10 minutes late for the interview.
  • Candidate chewed bubble gum and constantly blew bubbles.
  • He rambled and didn’t answer the questions. (Answer questions in 30 seconds or less, or at least stay focused on your interviewer’s topic).
  • Without saying a word, the candidate stood up and walked out during the middle of the interview. (So, see you on Monday then?)
  • Candidate stretched out on the floor to fill out the job application. (There’s being relaxed and then there’s “relaxed” for an interview.)
  • She said she was available because a headhunter called her. (Don’t be a doormat. Know why you want to explore other opportunities.)
  • She brought up salary and benefits. (Don’t be the first to mention money!)
  • He asked for $2,000 more than I could pay. (Let your recruiter walk you through the salary negotiation process.)
  • She announced she hadn’t had lunch and proceeded to eat a hamburger and french fries in the interview.
  • He won’t fit in; he was too quiet and this is a team environment.
  • She seemed depressed.
  • He wasn’t upbeat.
  • Candidate interrupted to phone his therapist for advice on answering specific interview questions. (Hello, Doc, what is my greatest strength? My ability to make my own decisions? Thanks.)
  • She smoked during the interview.
  • He wore a jogging suit to interview for a general manager position.
  • Candidate wore a T-shirt to interview; when asked about it he said it was a dress-up T-shirt because it had a pocket in it.
  • Called university to verify degree and was informed that seemingly fantastic candidate had 15 credits. “You mean toward his Master‘s?”, I asked. The answer was no – a total of 15 credits.
  • She wore an I-Pod and said she could listen to me and the music at the same time.
  • The candidate arrived for an evening interview wearing his “night club” clothes. His buddy waited for him in the bar of the interviewing restaurant, getting his “drink on“.
  • Reference informed me that the candidate was management material and extremely talented. Two years later, by accident, I discovered the company owner was the candidate’s father-in-law.

These anecdotes are straight from the hiring managers’ mouths, as funny as some may seem. In all seriousness, work with your management recruiter to polish your interviewing skills well ahead of time, so no slip up – no matter how big or small – will stand in the way of landing your dream job.

Brian Bruce, an author of multiple articles published online and in several industry trade publications, has been cited in multiple news stories as an authority in Executive Restaurant Recruiting. He’s an Executive Restaurant Recruiter with HHB Restaurant Recruiting and recruits nationally. He can be reached at 405-361-7582 and by email at

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