The thought of a job interview can put even the most seasoned professional into a mild panic. The number of things that can and will go wrong hangs heavy over many people’s preparation. Whilst Hollywood can be quick to revel in the comedic hilarity of others misfortune in interview situations, there are some valuable lessons to be taken advantage of in the most unbelievable interview scenes in the movies.
The titular characters have been unemployed for their entire adult lives and upon reaching middle age it’s decided that it is time for them to grow up. What follows is a series of disastrous interviews highlighting their complete ineptitude and how out of their depth they really are.
WHAT WE LEARNT - Whilst it is safe to say that all of these interviews are absolutely calamitous, you should always make sure you get the interviewers name right. Not only does it show that you’ve done your research and know who they are, it’s just common courtesy too. Also, it’s strongly recommended that you don’t wear a tux, but you already knew that.
The unusual and often surreal questions that have been widely reported to be used by the likes of Google to screen potential candidates have the potential to perplex even the smartest applicants. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are posed a brain teaser and ultimately wing it, ramble on and avoid the point in their interview for Google during The Internship. Whilst amusing to watch, we don’t think they’d get very far in the interview stages.
WHAT WE LEARNT - These questions are devised to test the way you tackle problems on the spot. Whilst it is unlikely that you’ll encounter these abstract questions it is important that you are prepared. Research common questions that interviewers like to ask, Glassdoor often has users posting specific questions that they were asked by companies at interview. Compile a few concise thoughtful answers and practise them until you are well versed.
Adam Sandler portrays a very desperate character in this scene from the wedding singer. Whilst he is up front and open about his experience and main motivations for applying for the job it is safe to say he falls flat on his face. Money is a big motivation for many people when looking for a new role and his brutal honesty strikes a chord with many.
WHAT WE LEARNT - It is considered very unprofessional to talk about money straight away in a first interview. That conversation should be left until later in the interview process and is normally prompted by the hiring manager or interviewer. Your recruiter should be able to give you an indication of what the position is paying before you apply. Also, when asked about your experience it’s never advised to appear to offer absolutely nothing!
The fashion industry has long been known to be cut-throat. Many have serious ambitions to make it big and unfortunately many fail. Anne Hathaway’s character shows a shocking lack of interest in the role that she’s applying for and is promptly put in her place by Meryl Streep’s character.
WHAT WE LEARNT - Andy Sachs comes across as very unenthusiastic, uninterested and completely unprepared. When attending an interview you should have done your research. Research the company, what they do, who they work with, what they’ve previously done, what they’re going to be doing, who’s in charge, who’s interviewing you etc. Look up as much as you can, the more you find out the better your chances. Interviewers like people who show an interest in actually working for them.
The nightmare interview plays out in this movie and boy does it have it all. Louisa concludes her interview with the lines “When I’m nervous I just say stupid stuff”. Remarkably her bumbling, loveable and awkward characteristics manage to secure her the job despite her lack of knowledge, experience or aspirations. Unfortunately, this is movieland and we’re pretty sure a genuine interview wouldn’t play out the same way.
WHAT WE LEARNT - To cover her nervousness Louisa begins answering the interviewer's questions with dad like jokes. Dodging the questions with humour is a red flag to an interviewer, it shows that you haven’t fully prepared and gives the impression that you aren’t really taking the process seriously. It's ok to be nervous but answer the interviewer's questions directly, clearly and concisely. When prompted give more details to support your answer. Also, make sure you have given your career path some serious thought. Not knowing what you want to do is a warning to employers as it demonstrates a lack of direction and aspiration. People who have something to work towards are driven to reach their goals and make great employees.