Interview stories



you also have to hope that you’ll never bump into them again (difficult if you’re looking for jobs in the same industry I guess)


not too likely, they’re absolutely miles away but then who knows, what with the internet and all these days


I had an interview with Mumsnet of all places, for an internship doing press things. I thought it was going OK, they asked if I was happy to work in a predominantly female workplace, I said ‘well, I’ve got three sisters, I’m used to it’, which I thought was fairly charming.

Anyway, last question, one of them asked ‘If I had a magic wand, what would job could I magic you into in 10 years?’. I was 21 at the time, just graduated, was applying for any job which sounded vaguely interesting. I paused for a bit, said ‘oh that’s a good question’, paused a bit longer, and then when i realised that the thinking silence had gone on too long, said ‘probably a professional swimmer’. To this day, I have no idea where that answer came from.

Didn’t get the position.


years ago i had an interview for a shit admin job at a local authority

the interview was scheduled for last thing on a friday afternoon which already set off alarm bells for how interested they were in speaking to me and how much the interview panel probably wanted to end their own life by that point on a friday

after they asked the first question i noticed that they weren’t even bothering to look at me as i was giving my answers, clearly not giving a shit what i was saying

after 15minutes or so of this excruciating back and forth they asked if i had any questions, i reached for a glass of water to buy a bit of time to think of literally anything to ask and proceeded to knock both the glass and the remaining jug of water all over the desk, their papers and into both their laps

i profusely apologised but they just kinda looked at me with silent simmering rage

they then tried to clean up the mess with those awful paper towels you used to get in primary schools that don’t actually absorb water but just kinda move it around. after 5 or so minutes of them trying to mop up in stoney-faced silence i just saw myself out

didn’t get the job obviously…


Well there was this place: Have you ever had an interview and thought to yourself, I really can't be bothered with this at all?

But the third (!) interview for the job I had accepted was a weird one because there was a baby in it. The person interviewing me was on maternity leave but came in for the interview. So she’s bouncing a three week old baby on her knee while asking questions like “what would you do if the support staff were repeatedly incompetent?” (turns out this wasn’t a hypothetical question, but more of a warning).

I was convinced I wasn’t going to get my current job after the second interview, because they told me to schedule two and a half hours and I was out in thirty five minutes. I stress/misery ate a whole big bag of Tangfastics on the train home then got offered the job the next morning.


anytime i’m asked to work for free or to do a ‘test’ or whatever i just politely tell them no thank u


I like this approach. The last job I got told that I gave answers that they’d never thought of and were pretty left field (how do you prioritise day to day against project work/what would you do if a member of the teams work was passed to you, and they were allowed to go early every day with no explanation) - they just want to feel out how you approach things. That intranet one theres no “right” answer, just a “right” answer based on the culture and environment of the job. Where I am now have masses of training guides but where I was before I was given a project plan, told google exists and told to get on with it. I think its a good thing different approaches in work exist and its nothing personal if you don’t fit in, right?


Been for 3 interviews recently and a semi kind of one.

1 - Asked about technical skills and what I had worked on. Gave me some hypothetical techincal scenarios and asked what I would do. Got an offer.

2 - Asked about skills. Just by the conversation they knew I wasn’t exactly what they wanted (skills wise). No offer.

3 - Before the interview I had to complete an online test. Write a piece of code in 1 hour. Did it but took too long, and then I realised afterwards that I didn’t do quite what the brief said. Didn’t even hear a ‘no’ from them.

4 - Two weeks ago. Interview for 1 hour, then given 90 minutes to write some code. Was presented with a brief and had to solve it with a program and talk people through what it was I was doing. Got offered the job.

I don’t mind the technical stuff to be honest. Recruitment is time consuming a little hit and miss, so I think people want to do everything to see what the person can do, not in answering questions that you can practise, but just real life.

With the technical stuff, you need to remember it is not about actually solving the problem or producing a working program some time. It’s how you go about it. Structure the code, good habits. And then about how you talk the people through it as well.


I once got called at work (on the work landline) buy a competitor of the company I was working at asking if I wanted a job. I said “Er, yeah. OK”. They wanted to meet for a beer and said we could go anywhere that suited me. I suggested a pub near my work, they said “Err, actually the west end is better”. So I traipsed over to meet them and they discussed the job. Sounded OK. They then set me a project to do - redesign 3-4 pages of a website of some made up company. I was slightly affronted as they rang ME, but I did it anyway. Got offered the job a couple of days later and they asked me what I was earning currently. I answered honestly, and they said “OK. We’re happy to match that”.

I said I’d call them back, then just ignored their emails and calls until they stopped trying to contact me.


Rookie mistake. Always add at least 30%.


seriously lmao, you had nothing to lose!!!


Yeah, I know, I know. I was pretty young though.

But even if I had increased what I was on, and they were only going to match it… Still pretty crap of them. Especially as THEY called ME at work!


honesty never pays


Having been involved in interviewing for technical roles a bit over the last few years, getting someone to knock out some basic code (or just visually debug something) in the room is a very useful exercise.

Had a guy on a telephone/video interview last year who sent us some code he’d apparently written but was too stupid to take out the comments which included the name and website of the real author.


Yep. I can imagine. When it first happened I thought WTF. But in retrospect I know why it might be needed. I know I am good, and can code. But the people on the other side of the table have no idea who you are.

That person who sent the code probably shouldn’t be allowed to use a knife unsupervised.


you could have countered their offer though?


It just gave me a bad vibe. Call me at work, make me schlep down to the west end, set me a project, and then make a crap offer? Nah mate.


Probably thought you had added the 30% on, so they thought they were giving you a 30% pay rise.


One of the best interviews I’ve had was with an employment training company. I had been running courses similar to the one they wanted for a couple of years and knew the student group and qualifications inside out.

They took about six weeks to respond to my application and I ended up badgering the admin lady because I was so sure there could not be a better candidate.

Eventually had a lovely chat with the MD one Thursday afternoon about all of my relevant experience and thought I’d made a real impression as I talked about my loyalty to my students and my professional attitude to work and the fact I was really interested in the job because it was a permanent contract. Obviously I was dead clear that I’d need to work my notice.

She emailed at 10.30 on Friday morning saying that she could offer me a trial period starting on Monday which would be paid at about two thirds of my current daily rate and they would review my status at the end of the fortnight.

There must have been a better candidate willing to work for less money because they did not ask me back.


one of my ATD’s is a solicitor and has ‘trained in the west-end of London’ on his linkedin profile, which just makes me think that he had a long stint as a member of Cats or something.