Job interviews are usually a sacrosanct affair. It’s a matter of getting a job and advancing your career, and people put their best foot forward. However, there are some cases when candidates take a leap of faith and instead of playing it safe and giving well-thought out, stock responses, ended up putting their foots in their mouths. Here are a few shining examples – sourced from Quora – of when people said or did some rather crazy things AND got the job! Whether they got lucky, or their cheek paid off, is a anyone’s guess, but these make for some very interesting and hilarious interview stories.
1. Turned an interview question back on the interviewer and got the job
Interviewer: Why do you want to work for Infosys?
Me: I never had a choice. You are the one who called engineers from all backgrounds. I just attended the written test and I am called in again.
Out of the 4 in the panel I saw one bursting out laughing
Interviewer: OK. Tell me the molecular formula for concrete
Me: (Actually I don’t know). But I answered “blah blah blah”
Interviewer: Are you sure?
Me: I am sure that you don’t know the answer!
(I am not sure why I said that too)
Everybody laughed. May be 2 negatives made a positive
Interviewer: “You should come and work for me
2. He corrected interviewer’s pronunciation and got the job.
Interviewer: I see that you have done your project in ‘D’jango. Tell me more about ‘D’jango “
Me: Sir, its pronounced Django. The ‘D’ is silent. *awkward silence. I got a hunch that I might have successfully screwed this interview up* Me: *Explains more about django and python. The interviewer seems to be impressed* Interviewer then asks a couple of puzzles that I was to able to answer quite easily. Got the job!
PS : For those who don’t get it, Django (web framework) is a web framework built in python. Django is pronounced as “jang-oh” (the D being silent).
– Manoj Memana Jayakumar
3. Hit on his interviewer and got the BPO job
As I entered the office, I was escorted to the floor where the interviewer was busy talking to other applicants. To my dismay, the interviewer was a female and adding to that she was very much attractive. I was already nervous as I was entering into a different field all together for which I never had knowledge and seeing her made me even more anxious.And when she called me inside, she went through my resume and documents and as she was about to ask, I stopped her right there and said, “If I get selected, will I be working in this floor around your cubicle,”She was stunned but replied casually, “Probably, why?”I confessed to her, “Pardon me, but am quite attracted towards you. If I get selected, your presence on the floor would hamper by productivity. You still want to take the risk.”There was a dead silence for a minute and then she burst out laughing. I thought she was mocking me but she asked instead, “Whats your worst weakness?”Without any second thought, I replied, “Right this. Talking to a woman.” She smirked, ‘Looks like you are an introvert. We need people who could converse without any glitch.’I replied back, ‘ I think this interview is for VOICE BPO and I aint phone – phobic. You should definitely try me.’
She chuckled and asked me to join tomorrow. She allotted me in her department on her floor and though I joined shipping after few months, I still share a good rapport with her as friends.
– Rahul Rathi
4. Charmed the pants off his interviewers by admitting his preference for competitor company.
At an interview for Nvidia, I was asked “What is your dream company where you always wanted to work?”. I knew answering “Nvidia” might be taken as buttering up and they wouldn’t buy it. I responded, “Intel”. Brief moment of silence, they exchanged some glances and one of them asked, “Then why should we take you?” In fact, I was wondering the same. Why the hell did I say the name of their direct competitor? Then, it occurred to me. One of the interviewers, before the interviews, had given a brief orientation. And one of his points was Nvidia has a smaller staffing than Intel by XXXX amount but this meant more responsibilities for the fewer engineers. So, I replied saying that I didn’t know the fact you mentioned in your orientation and I definitely want more responsibilities for a greater growth and learning experience. There was that and it also implied that I actually listened to his orientation carefully. It was a campus placement session where they hire multiple candidates but I was the only one selected in the end. Lucky!
– Nikhil Upadhyay
5. Gets a job at Microsoft by proving loyalty to Apple Macbook.
Interviewer: “So you’ve mentioned that you’re familiar with using the Mac OS? Not many people are… While you’ve only mentioned Windows 7, not 8?” Me : (Pausing and praying that sticking to the truth helps) “Yes I am familiar with the Mac OS since I use a macbook pro. I use Bootcamp and dual boot Windows 7 on it too, but since Apple hasn’t made drivers for Windows 8 yet, I have very limited knowledge about it.”Interviewer: “I find it weird that a person who clearly prefers Mac OS wants to join us. What would you be able to provide, given that you have hardly even used our latest OS?”
Me: “Since I’m an outsider to Windows 8, and have a pretty good knowledge about the Mac OS, I can definitely provide inputs like an outsider and help implement them in a way that Apple doesn’t throw any lawsuits in our direction. In other words, I can help lessen the number of times you feel weird in interviews, by luring more Mac loyalists and showing them how we implement better ideas and sometimes even the same ideas in a better way, so that you meet a lesser number of students who are like me!”
– Vivek Tejwani
6. Challenges the USP of a company and gets a custom-made role at it
I somehow had the nerve (or stupidity) to press the founder and CEO of a cosmetics company about her brand’s true value proposition and what actually sets them apart from their competitors, because it wasn’t clear to me at all, despite my best research and understanding of their product. I don’t think I was particularly rude or anything, but I was certainly firm and I didn’t go into this rehearsed. So I really didn’t know how they’d react. She and her team ended up creating a job specifically for me to fit me into her brand’s future!
– Neha Sinha
7. Lashes out at the interviewer, and the processes of the company only to head them
...Then he went on and asked, “We wanted to test if you were capable enough to be an Assistant Manager. But the thing is, we want to expand our business to newer regions. So, if I assign a team of 20 and a state region & give you 3 months time, what would be your strategy?”By the time he ended his question, my head was ready to explode. I somehow got my senses together and asked, “Has anyone tried to explore the region till date?”He answered, “No. Not really.”I finally had enough. I snapped,“Then WHAT strategy are you talking about? There is NO strategy. You don’t know what the region is like. You don’t even know if there is any potential in the region, and you want me to take 20 people to this mystical land and help jump up the company’s revenue figures? I’m sorry, I won’t do it. I need data, figures, demography & physiography of probable customers and the understanding of their requirements before I even THINK about developing a strategy. I’ll never design a strategy based on assumptions. If you want, I can use those 20 people and 2 months time to get this data, and then we can sit and talk about strategy. That’s the best I can do.”“That’s all we have for now. Would you please wait at the reception? The HR person will meet you there.”We stood up, shook hands and I left the room.I was sure that I had not got the job until the HR came smiling and asked me to join her in another conference room.
– Ameya Godbole
8. Makes up for what he lacks in vocabulary with a management funda
Interviewer: A room is full of hay and there is a staple pin hidden somewhere is it. How you’ll find it?
Me: (didn’t know the meaning of ‘hay’) I’ll use a metal detector or a magnet.
Interviewer: It might not work. A magnet can’t pull your pin from that much layer of hay. Room is tightly packed with hay.
Me: I’ll not find that pin.
Interviewer: (shocked) what? Obviously, no one will ask you for such a job. But if it’s a task, you have to complete it on your own.
Me: Exactly, no one will ask for such job. And even if there is such a task, I’ll not find the pin if in 1 minute I can’t figure out how to find it. Instead of this, I’ll get another staple pin. Getting work done will be my priority that time.
– Pranav Dubey
9. Dismisses the logo of the company interviewing at, gets the design job
I’m a designer, and I interviewed for a small startup and that same day they showed me their office. In there was a big ol’ banner w/ their logo. First thing that came out of my mouth was something along the lines of “How married to that logo are you guys?”
This story has a happy ending.
– Hirag Chincharia
10. Honesty about being money-minded gets him the finance job
An excerpt from my interview with an Investment Bank for a front office role, which I finally got 🙂
Interviewer: What do you know about Finance, you must’ve read something? Me: No, Sir not really… Interviewer: Maybe some financial magazines? Me: umm, no… Interviewer: Newspapers? Me: (lying) Sometimes… Interviewer: Are you really interested in finance or just want a high paying job? Me: (hesitant) Sir, to tell you frankly I just want a high paying job. Interviewer: (a bit surprised) Me: Sir, I come from a middle class family, where the value of money is high. But I believe if you focus on money, you will automatically try to excel in your work. Interviewer: (smiling) Good, you are really honest.
– Shashwat Gandhi
11. Plays the feminist card. Lady luck favours.
In my interview for placement coordinator at IIT Madras, I was asked to comment upon the sexism in campus and I asked the interviewer who hadn’t spoken one word to me if he watched porn and built a (rather stupid) theory about how guys don’t t talk to girls but watch pornographic content thus giving them a subconscious notion that girls are not their equals with whom they can hold an intellectual discussion but objects who are around for their sexual gratification. I said that with that attitude, it was no surprise that most guys in the institute were closet misogynists.
It was completely outrageous and (kind of) uncalled for but the girl who was interviewing me seemed impressed (she was probably pissed off with her boyfriend for watching porn). I got the position.
12. Interviews the interviewer, gets the job.
circa 2005: After 30 mins of checking my IQ, one of the interviewer said, “any questions?” My answer: “your interview process is so simple. Why should I join your company? what is there for me in it”
Interviewer: “Get out!” Me: “You can say my interview is over” And i stepped out I got a call letter after 3 weeks. The company is Infosys.
13. Honest about NOT wanting the job, gets it
Interviewer- “So, where do you see yourself in the next five years?”
Me (very confidently/aggressively)– “Sir, let me be honest with you. I do not want to work with your company. I don’t want to be part of this corporate jungle. It isn’t what I am destined for and it isn’t what I want to do…” (he rambles on some more about how he thinks a corporate job is horrible, sucks the life out of you, etc,)
Interviewer- “Very well then! You are quite an honest guy. I think we would like to hire you!”
Well, that surely back-fired. 😀
14. Uses a joke so bad it’s good, gets the job.
Interviewer: Why do you want to join TCS? Friend: your company runs in my blood Interviewer: *Slightly stumped* Friend: We use Tata salt in our home.
15. Cannot get the webcam to work, makes up with a self-praising comment
This is the story of how I got my first job (current job) straight out of college. I got shortlisted on the basis of my CV which was nothing short of BORING. I wouldn’t have selected myself but surprisingly here I was, with the toppers of my class and me a meager 66% guy. The initial interview went well and I was shortlisted for the second round, a video interview from korea. The bosses of the company were going to take that. Shit scared, I was. The day of the interview arrived. I was waiting nervously for the video call to arrive.And that was the precise moment my webcam refused to work. Due to this, the whole interview went on like a telephonic conversation. Just the voices were heard, no faces were seen. And in the end, they ask me that damn question, ” Why should we hire you?” And I say instinctively “Because I have a nice face.” Awkward Silence after that for a minute. “We will get back to you later, thank you.” 2 weeks later, out of the 5 shortlisted for the final round, I was the only one who got the job. And this after I got to know that everyone else had a splendid video interview with their webcams working just fine.
– Karan Taneja
16. Ate the interviewer’s sandwich. Got the job as just dessert
I entered the room and the interviewer noticed my distracted face. He asked me if I was nervous.
(I was actually irritated that it had taken so much time for my turn to come and hadn’t eaten anything since morning, which had made me angry). I told him I wasn’t nervous, I was hungry.. 😀 He offered me his sandwich, which I hesitated but accepted to eat later.
(I wanted to eat both his sandwiches but anyhow!)
I was answering his questions, trying to eat decently and spreading bread crumbs on my file clumsily all at the same time.
I came out with a half eaten sandwich to shock my friends waiting outside. I got the job, was the only girl selected.
And the sandwich was very tasty 🙂
– Aashri Shridhar
17. Confidently mixes up with Google Co-Founder with Oracle’s, gets the Oracle job
I was in my final year of engineering and was appearing for interviews in various companies visiting our campus. It was like 5th day or something and Oracle was visiting our campus.I was nervous but I actually did well in the interviews ( 3 round of technical interview). At the end when we were waiting for the results , a guy in suit comes out and says that there will be a HR round. In India usually non-tech company have HR round and they usually check how much you know about the company , your communication skills and blah blah.
I was not at all prepared for it nor I was good at answering ‘soft’ questions. I asked the guy sitting beside me to give me some info and the only thing he was able to tell me me that the Oracle’s CEO name is Larry. I felt relieved that I at least knew who Larry is and I mentally rehearsed what I will say about Larry. My name gets called and the very first question HR guy asks me is to tell him what I know about Oracle. feeling bit confident , I started telling him:
Oracle is a great company , makes databases and The CEO is very famous. His name is Larry , he is 30 year old ( it was 2005) , graduated from Stanford and founded the company with Sergey….at that moment he politely asks me to stop and tells me that I am getting confused between Larry Page with Larry Ellison. I realized my mistake and it followed with an awkward moment of silence. We both burst into laughter and he goes on asking other questions…At the end of the day I got the offer. 🙂