two jack-o-lanterns

Going in for a job interview is scary enough even when everything goes right! In the spirit of Halloween, we’d like to share some interview nightmares that you or someone you know might have experienced and some ways to gracefully come out unscathed (and still have a chance at the job).

Your Car Breaks Down On the Way

Did you end up stuck on the side of the road when your interview is in 20 minutes? Although this can be stressful, it’s good to have alternate transportation options. Keep these alternatives in mind to get to your interview on time:

  • Phone a friend or a family member
  • Call a taxi, Uber, or Lyft
  • Are you close to a bus/subway?
  • Hitchhike (JK…do not do this, it’s dangerous!)

When your car breaks down, call the company you are interviewing with and let them know the situation you are in. Be honest with them and tell them you are working your best to get there. Unfortunately, this is one of those “the dog ate my homework” type excuses that makes employers skeptical, so let them know the specific steps you are taking to try to get there.

To further avoid being stuck in this nightmare, consider getting an AAA card. For a relatively reasonable price, they can send out gas, a tow truck, or do what it takes to help you get back out on the road again.

You Spill Coffee on Your White Shirt

To avoid this nightmare altogether, don’t drink coffee before you put on your interview clothes; stick with water! However, if you have to have coffee en route and are the type of person that can’t avoid spilling food and/or drink on you, then it may be best to wear dark colors that don’t show stains.

Consider carrying a Tide To Go pen with you and bring a blazer or jacket to help cover it up. If you’re in a position where you can’t cover up the stain, and someone brings it to your attention, laugh it off and mention what a klutz you are (it shows humility).

Your Phone Goes Off During the Interview

This is a simple one to avoid because just like any other meeting you go to, you always want to put your phone on silent before you enter the room or the interview starts. Better yet, don’t even take your phone with you. If for some reason your phone rings and you have to take the call, then you can probably kiss that job goodbye.

You’re an Hour Late

To keep this nightmare from happening in the first place, confirm your interview time with the company and set double (or triple) reminders on your phone or calendar. Check to make sure that there hasn’t been a time change due to traveling in a different time zone or on the day when Daylight Savings Time kicks in.

If you can’t blame your tardiness on a time change, then communicate with the company the circumstances which caused you to be late. Don’t make up any excuses or untrue stories- employers can see through that.

You Show Up on the Wrong Day

Just like showing up at the wrong time, you want to avoid this scenario entirely by setting several reminders on your calendar and/or phone.

Job Interview Fails on Both Sides

Although we cover some tips on avoiding job interview fails, the biggest nightmare that is pretty much unavoidable is dealing with the interviewer itself. Companies have some crazy managers out there, like the guy who asked the job seeker what the cubed root of 1000 was and gave the interviewee five seconds to answer.

But job seekers can be just as bad, and you should make sure that you are not one of them that is wasting the manager’s time or being a nightmare for the interviewer, don’t chew gum in your interview, mention that your greatest weakness is getting up on time to go to work, or bring your mom.

Job interview nightmares happen, particularly when you’re on a rigorous job hunt with a lot of interviews lined up. But being prepared and having the ability to laugh it off when something does go wrong will hopefully turn your nightmare into just a bad dream…especially when you land the position.

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