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Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview

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Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2008, 09:24
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OK, it doesnt have to be Stupid, just something you said that was REALLY bad, or even NOT THAT BAD that just didn't go over well.
It can be for a school or for a job..

I'll start with one from me, one from interviewer. This was in the same interview - an i-bank in Tokyo. He showed up 15 minutes late to a 30-minute interview slot and I had another interview immediately following.

#1
Interviewer:"I see there are lots of fires in california. What do you think?"
Me: "Uh... Yes, there are?"
I: "And they have earthquakes as well - where do you stand?" (I think he is asking how I *feel* about this, not the safest place to stand in an earthquake)
Me:"well, it is a real shame" (fighting urge to take question literally and answer "in the doorway")

A few minutes pass.....
#2
I:"Give me a breakdown of how much time you spend daily on various tasks at work"
Me:"Well, I spend 10% blah, 15% blah blah .... and 10% blah" (I realize percents only add up to 95%)
I: "Uh-huh" (taking notes. He realizes it is only 95% as well)
Me:"So, uh, I suppose the other 5% is spent just relaxing, chatting with my coworkers <BIG SMILE>".
I:"<grunt>" (Glares disapprovingly at me, scribbles furiously, as I realize he didn't think it was very clever)

I didn't get called back for round 2.
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2013, 06:58
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My first Interview for a Job straight out of college.

Interviewer - "How many cabs are there in NYC?"
Me - "I have no idea"
Interviewer - "How would you figure that out?"
Me - "Google"

I didn't get that job... I didn't know that type of question existed at the time...
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2008, 15:14
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Interviewer: What do you find as the strength of Anderson?
Me: Stan....derson's entrepreneurship program is very strong and supportive... :P

Somehow I still got in....
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2013, 08:05
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I like this thread. A couple of weeks ago I was interviewing with the largest retail company in the world for a strategy and finance internship. The interview format was 2 30-minute back to back interviews, one for strategy and the other for finance. Let's open this scene in the middle of the finance interview.

Interviewer: So our company's Mexico division is a joint partnership with us having a 75% stake. A couple of months ago around Christmas the CFO of the Mexico division wants to know if we should do a stock repurchase. He calls my boss, who calls me and tells me to figure out a plan for whether or not to do it. If you were me how would you handle it?

Me: I'd hide under my desk.

For some reason I did not make it to final round interviews.
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2013, 09:59
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I was in the last 10 minutes of an internship interview for the summer after my sophomore year of college.

Interviewer: "I hear (Bigcountry's school) has a large fraternity population, and fraternities are a great way to establish a solid professional network, but you're not part of a fraternity. Why did you decide not to join a fraternity?"
Bigcountry: "Well, I am a part of (professional organization) where I can establish a professional network.
Interviewer: "How is that different from a fraternity?"
Bigcountry: "Unlike a fraternity, (professional organization)'s focus is on professional development, not women and beer. I didn't feel I needed a fraternity to get those things."
Interviewer: "I am a pround member of (distinguished fraternity). I met my wife at a fraternity mixer and meet with fraternity brothers for fishing every year."
Bigcountry: "I guess I will be going now."

Last edited by bigcountry on 14 Feb 2013, 07:36, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 15 Feb 2013, 01:45
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Interviewing for an internship after my junior year of college in Evanston, IL. I was aware of top MBA programs at the time, but apparently also nervous for the interview.

Interviewer: (giving me his background) ...after undergrad, I spent of couple of years in corporate finance, then two years at Kellogg.
Me: Oh, the cereal company?
Interviewer: No, the MBA program.

No call back.
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2013, 07:47
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India, 2008 - Interview for a Major Automobile Company -

Interviewer: Do you have any idea about different POLLUTION control measures across the world and particularly in India ?

Me: I know only China has one child policy. India though encourages limit of 2 child per couple, it is not enforced, as the particular Chinese plan will lead to ageing working class problem in few decades. And Japan is already facing ageing problem. I do not think, any other country in the world has any such policy.

Interviewer: That was informative. But we do not deal with POPULATION control. I was asking about POLLUTION control.

Me: Increased population means, increased pollution. I was getting to the point.

I never got a call from Human Resources for appointment letter.
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2008, 10:27
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Interviewer - so how did you pick your undergraduate institution?

Me - My Dad picked it (too late words were out of my mouth, it was the truth tho I wanted to go somewhere else but he would not pay for it)


LOL! This was during Kellogg interview
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2013, 00:24
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This one happened during my interview as a part of my Post Grad app.

I: Tell me about something you are really bad at?
Me: I just cannot sing and dance.
I: Sing a song.
Me: I sang the national anthem.

I got selected in a very reputed institute in India with a scholarship (probably to take some singing classes)
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2013, 07:51
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This place has kept me sane for quite some time, so I figured I’d share a story.

I had an interview at McCombs two years ago. I don’t recall anything special about the interview other than the pace was really slow as the student stopped to painstakingly write down each of my responses.

After the interview I get out and walk to my car and start driving north to go back to Dallas. I stop along the way and get lunch. Before I leave I go to the bathroom. I go to unzip my zipper, it’s already down.

Yikes.

The zipper was actually broken and could not be closed. So at least I could chalk it up to a wardrobe malfunction and not a mental error.
Interviewed for grad school with fly down? Check.
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 15 Feb 2013, 23:18
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McCombs Interview:

Interviewer: If you were given 2 round trip tickets to anywhere in the world, where would you go and whom would you take with you?
I: umm....i'd go to Antarctica (not sure why i said this) and would take my kid with me (in my head: think of a reason why not wife..think..you moron think...) I wouldn't take my wife because she doesn't like cold!

** I got admitted though :D

Job Interview:
Interviewer: Do you know what segment of the adult population don't think communication as their priority?
I: No.
Interviewer: it's 37%
I: Ok. But I DO know that 43% of statistics are made on the spot. Including my one.

I wonder why I didn't get the job.
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2013, 00:04
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Big 4 accounting internship interview

Interviewer: So I see on your resume you're taking an accounting course this year. How do you like it?
Me: A lot actually. I find it more interesting than what I expected at first. It's a great tool to understand complex business issues. Plus there seems to be some room for creativity sometimes.

#oops #arthurandersonresurection
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2013, 03:50
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super weird HR interview:

I: what qualities do you see in a beggar?
Me: Determination. Persuasion.
I: what else? give me some more.
Me (in my head) -wtf does he want?
Me: If he had more he wouldn't have been one.

*awkward silence*

I didn't like the job anyway!
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2013, 10:15
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This thread is hilarious!
At my first ever interview out of college, I was required to clear three levels: technical, management and HR. At the management interview, I was grilled about my lowish GPA.

Interviewer: So everything looks good, but your GPA is an issue
Me: Yes, I'm aware of that...(offer up some polished response)
Interviewer cuts me off: Well what I'm saying is that your GPA is like a house with many rooms.
Me: Okayyy?
Interviewer: Now, in this house some rooms are good and others are bad
Me: Hmm
Interviewer: Now in your good rooms, you don't have to do anything
Me: **Crickets**
Interviewer: But you need to renovate your bad rooms.
Me: Okay, that's great advice but I'd love to tell you how I've grown from this..
Interviewer: Now don't be offended, by bad rooms I simply mean something minor like a leaky ceiling
Me: **Crickets***

Time stands still

Incredibly, he cleared me for the HR interview where I had to talk about Himesh Reshammiya's influence on Indian music.
I left with a job offer and a first class migraine.
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 15 Feb 2013, 00:32
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Internship interview at a law firm during my college years:

Interviewer: I see you took an elective about public notary. Why didn't you pursue a position at a public notary's office?
Me: Well, as far as I'm concerned the problem with the public notary's profession in (my country) is that it is very difficult to get a full time position at a local office as the number of positions available regionally are preset by law and people usually work well beyond retirement age. It's very rare that someone retires from a position at retirement age, the only exception that comes to my mind is that public notary in (nearby city) who was basically forced to retire by the association because she is an alcoholic.
Interviewer: Yes, she is my mother.

A good 30 sec silence followed when I first blushed and then spent the rest of the time struggling to withold my urge to burst out in laughter at myself.
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2013, 19:41
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This reminds me one of my stupidest interviews.

It was way back in 1997, I was fresh out of school and internet was the "Magic" word then. I had seen computer only in our labs and had absolutely no idea what is internet and how does it work.

I was interviewed by one of the big internet company ... who had all those wonderful idea of switching on your heater, light before you reach home kind of stuffs!!

All the discussions went extremely well in a very open atmosphere. Then came the deadly question, what is internet?

I gave a big theory like TV, you got an antenna connected to your computer, you send microwave signal to a satellite and satellite relay that request to some BIG computer in NASA, which has all the information!!

The interviewer was amused but he was dead serious, nodding his head in agreement ... so I was encouraged more to elaborate my satellite theory.

I took a paper and draw the diagram, showing two way traffic!!

Interviewer was wonderful, he asked me to calculate the response time.

So I assumed half of the speed of light and came up with some time ... from my home in SEA to NASA and back!!

The interviewer was probably amazed too much and ask the next question ... these antenna and satellite has some latency, so you need to factor in all those delays ... so after discounting those delays what is the response time?

I honestly thought that my theory was bang-on!! So I paused few seconds and gave some thoughts and came up with my discounts with a reasonable time to open yahoo website!!

Now after playing with internet, I know how silly was my theory! and I respect my interviewer, he probably was enjoying my new invention!
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2013, 08:20
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Applying for a technical sales job my senior year of college:

Interviewer: "What if I told you this job required you to work 60 hours a week?"
Me: (Without hesitation) "I'd proabaly shy away from it."
Interviewer: (Chuckles loudly) "Well, I appreciate your honesty..."

Needless to say, it went south from there.
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2013, 22:56
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I was interviewing on campus for a summer investment banking internship at Bank of America. This was before they merged with Merrill Lynch, so BofA's i-bank wasn't very prestigious at the time.

Anyways, I was in the first interview slot of the day and the two interviewers were late by ~20 minutes. Unfortunately, I had scheduled an interview with Lazard immediately after the BofA interview, so I was in a hurry. We exchange pleasantries and then they start asking standard i-bank interview questions. I nailed the questions and was sailing along. Then the interview then took an interesting turn:

BofA ibanker #1: "why do you want to work for BofA instead of another investment bank?"

Me: "well, umm (hadn't been asked this question before)...BofA is a smaller, less prestigious investment bank and therefore"

BofA ibankers: :x :x :x :x

Me: "...I'll be able to work on a tighter knit team and learn more and ramble ramble" :shifty: :think:

BofA ibanker #2: :x "BofA is just as good as Goldman or Morgan Stanley"

Me: let out an audible laugh before catching myself.

We then sat there and stared at each other for about 10-15 seconds. Time was running out anyways, so I told them "I have to leave for my Lazard interview now." They didn't even stand up to shake my hand or give me a business card at this point, and I just walked out.
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2013, 08:19
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In October, I interviewed at Tuck and then Duke in one week. For my Duke interview, travel had been a nightmare and I got very little sleep, so I was definitely feeling off my game. So, about halfway through the interview, I got asked "Why Duke?" and I pulled a kryzak: "Blah blah blah.. and that's why I want to go to Tu... Fuqua."

I was pretty embarrassed in the moment, but I think my interviewer either didn't notice my flub or appreciated how quickly I recovered because somehow I still got in. :)
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2008, 10:23
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Head hunter: So you are looking for a position in inventory banking?
-------
Me: I do a lot of financial modelling with debt securities and modelled out the tranches....
interviewer (who was very nice to me and works in Structured Finance): what is modelling?
---------
not really a dumb statement, but a dreaded one
interviewer: (knowing that i was not a good job fit because i will probably work one year and leave for a more value added position) "i think you're gonna be bored with the position"

the same interviewer who works in Private Bank: whats the difference between investment management and asset management?
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Re: Stupidest thing you/interviewer have said in an interview   [#permalink] 28 Mar 2008, 10:23
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