Job interview funnies

In class yesterday, I was telling some funny stories about job interviews (various class members were in suits, having rushed back from interviews).

First, there’s the stupid questions you sometimes get: What kind of fruit are you? (The answer is supposed to be grapes, because they can work individually or in a team. Meh!)

When someone actually asked me this in an interview, I was totally flummoxed. I wish I had come up with something clever. My class and I amused ourselves for 10 minutes thinking up weird and clever answers:
I’m a cumquat (small and sour)
I’m a durian (spiky, smell bad, but very tasty)
I’m a dragonfruit (colourful and exotic)
I’m a holly berry (small and poisonous, but also bright and festive at certain times of the year)

I do hope that this question has bitten the dust after there was a bit of a furore about it in the Law Institute Journal a few years back…

Or that question: Tell us about the last time you worked in a team… Teams? Ugh. Teams are normally against my religion, unless I trust my team members implicitly. It’s taken me a long time to be comfortable with this aspect of myself, but there you have it.

Then there’s funny incidents in job interviews. Nerves make people act strangely. Including yours truly. Once I spilled a cup of coffee on the interviewer. I didn’t get the job, but a year later when they needed someone…they remembered me! Still, I wouldn’t recommend this as a general rule.

Once, in the general chit chat section of an interview, I was talking about my parents’ Jack Russell dog.

Interviewer: “Oh, I don’t like them, they have a tendency to bite people’s hands.”
LE: “Not this Jack Russell!”
Interviewer: “How did you get him to stop biting people’s hands?”
LE: “Er…um…well, I got really cross with him one day for biting my hand, so I bit his paw (gently) and he never did it again.”
Interviewer: “Oh.”
LE: “I brushed my teeth afterwards!”
Interviewer: “Oh.”

Believe it or not, I also got that job. Anyone else got any funny job interview stories? (You’re welcome to comment anonymously).


I just thought of a story (which may be apocryphal, but I can’t find it on Snopes, so maybe it’s true…) A major law firm in Melbourne received a package. They opened it up, and inside was a single shoe, accompanied by a letter saying, “Now I’ve got my shoe in the door, perhaps you’ll interview me?” I never heard whether this poor one-shoed person got an interview?



Filed under crazy stuff, job interviews, jobs

11 responses to “Job interview funnies

  1. peter

    Q: “What kind of fruit are you?”
    A: “I’m human, but since we are on the topic, how did you come to join the plant species?”

    or even nastier

    A: “I sued the last person who tried to psycho-analyse me. Can we move on to the next question?”

    Nicest interview moment: Being headhunted by an employer personally. Has to be the easiest interview in the world when the only question is what salary package do I want.

    Ugliest interview moment: Commenting on the employers’ bruises as a result of a martial arts practice fight and not getting his joke: “you should see the other guy”. A serious “duh!” moment.

    Sadest moment:
    Interviewee (not me, I was the interviewer) was very nervous and sweated badly. We later learned he had only recently overcome an alcohol problem related to stress.

    My friend who is an employer recently advertised for a lawyer and received a letter written on scrap paper from a person from Byron Bay threatening him with a lawsuit for not employing him – and this was in the application letter!

    That letter was not recycled.

  2. Anonymous

    From a friend…

    Interviewer: Very impressive resume. So…what nationality are you again?

    Friend: Australian.

    Interviewer: Oh. I mean ethnical, ethnicness?

    Friend: You mean my ethnicity?

    Interviewer: Thats the word.

    Friend: Lebanese Arab.

    Interviewer: Ahh. Ok. Well, we’ll let you know if you’ve got the job.

  3. Legal Eagle

    Peter, I like your responses to the fruit question – I wish I had the presence of mind to respond accordingly – but I was a lot younger then, and didn’t expect to have to field stupid questions like that…

    These days, I’d probably roar with laughter and say, “Are you serious?”

    Anonymous, your friend could bring a discrimination claim in respect of that conduct. Disappointing to know that kind of stuff still goes on…

  4. Jennifer

    I once interviewed someone who had to stop half way through to go and throw up. He didn’t look that nervous, but he didn’t seem to be sick, either. It was a graduate program – I think he ended up in the second round anyway.

    But a much sadder story was someone whose interview was interrupted half way through by a fire alarm. Everyone had to evacuate, so when they got to the street they told him he may as well go, he wasn’t going to get the job. Probably the right call, but hard on the interviewee.

    I’ve done a lot of interviewing over the years (I used to be the first interviewer for our graduate program) and I’m always embarrassed by how well the interviewees remember the interview compared with me. When we’re working together six months later, they’ll quote the whole thing back to me and I’ll have no idea what they’re talking about.

    I’ve never asked anyone what kind of fruit they are, though. I thought that kind of thing was only for management consultants.

  5. -k.

    A friend of mine used to manage a mens’clothing store back in our uni days. He was interviewing a girl for a casual position.

    Q: What sort of people do you think would shop here?
    A: Men.
    Q; What sort of men?
    A: Men and boys.

    Needless to say, she didn’t get the job.

  6. Anonymous

    I got asked ” Can you tell me 10 things you can do with a Brick..”

  7. Anonymous

    I’ve never heard the fruit question, but I have been asked these gems: ‘How do you communicate?’ and ‘Tell me about a time when you communicated clearly.’ Advice on answering those would be much appreciated!

  8. Legal Eagle

    Anonymous at 2:43 – unfortunately, I suspect the first things that would have come into my mind if I had been asked the brick questions would be highly inappropriate in a job interview situation…

    Anonymous at 3:24 – Again, terrible answers come into my head.

    Q: How do you communicate?
    A: Unlike you, I communicate via my mouth…

    Q: Tell me about a time when you communicated clearly.
    A: Here’s an example: If you’re going to ask stupid questions like that, take your job and shove it up your jumper.

  9. Martin

    From the application letter of a bright applicant who had English as a second language:

    “I’m a straight person and seek straight relationships.”

  10. Ash

    Back when I was applying for articles, my last interview – after a gruelling couple of weeks of enthusiastically telling interviewers what fruit I’d be – was at Blakes.

    The HR manager asked me a question I’d been asked probably close to a dozen times already:

    “So, Ashley, tell us what you’re looking for in a law firm.”

    Something in my brain snapped and, momentarily, I abandoned my interview face and actually because my real self.

    “It’s got to be this side of the City Loop,” I said, grinning.

    Both interviewers looked up from their evaluation forms, horrified.

    I didn’t get the job.

    Worse, though: they didn’t get the joke.

  11. Legal Eagle


    Oh dear, the nuances of a second language are always the most difficult things to learn. I seem to recall someone at my high school saying “Ich bin kalde” (or some such sentiment – I never learned German) – they meant “I am cold” but said “I am frigid (ie, sexually repressed)”. The teacher couldn’t restrain his hysteria.


    I love the comment. Oh dear, oh dear, interviewers with no sense of humour. Most likely that it wouldn’t have been any fun there anyway!

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