Cringeworthy things you said in an interview

Discuss what to expect in job and course interviews, what topics might be covered, how to manage anxiety, and how to get the desired result!
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Cringeworthy things you said in an interview

Post by BlueCat » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:34 pm

Right forumites. I have made a VERY BIG ERROR. This thread was temporarily in the mods area for review and clean up as some posters had mistakenly posted doctorate interview questions that they had given cringeworthy answers to, and had mentioned the course (e.g. "at my Surrey interview, I was asked..........., and my cringeworthy response was.........) which is against our guidance (as a reminder, we don't allow discussion of specific questions linked to specific courses :) ). So, onto my VERY BIG ERROR.....I went to move the thread back into the main part of the forum and pressed the wrong button, and deleted the thread. It can't be put back, apparently, so is lost :( I feel very stupid. I have the content of the first and last page from my browser history, as I looked at it tonight, and this is below. Please help me breathe new life into this thread by sharing your own cringeworthy interview experiences!
Postby Elsee » Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:33 pm

I thought I'd start this link as a bit of fun. I keep thinking about a recent interview and thought it would be funny to share the thins you say when you are under pressure.

I said, 'I'm a team player... oh my god, I can't believe I actually said that'
Postby Cinammon » Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:39 pm

I once went for a job as a research assistant looking at the memory span of children with William's Syndrome.

I was working as a HCA at the time with children with learning disabilities, and thought it would look really impressive if I said one of the children that I worked with had William's Syndrome... big mistake!

Having not done any research into the area, I was shocked when the asked me for the child's name. My initial thought was, 'this is a bit unprofessional', but then they told me that they must know them as there was only about 6 known cases in the country and they had met them all!

I quickly made up the most ridiculous name... something like Simone Shaunassey (?!), got a bit of a wierd look from them, and was thanked for attending the interview!! Whoops!!
Postby Pettie » Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:51 pm

what a brilliant idea for a thread !! Keeping things light hearted

I went for a job as a support worker with looked after children who had suffered multiple placement breakdowns - ie: relationship difficulties etc. They asked if I had any questions at the end. Me, with no experience said, "yeah, erm - the children that live in this house - do they get on with each other, like brothers and sisters would?"

Postby ryan » Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:51 pm

I was once asked to discuss formulation in an interview, I managed to get out a vague description and then went on (at length) to say how unqiue it is to psychology etc. etc. - it was only afterwards I remembered that the interviewer was a psychiatrist and formulation was 'her thing'. Cringe.
Postby Tangram » Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:52 pm

Here I am, in the depth of annoying work and other 'things to do' for today, also the stomach churning anxiety of an upcoming clinical interview, but Cinammon, you really cheered me up when I read that! Sorry to gain some joy out of your difficult situation though.
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Postby charley » Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:04 pm

At a doctorate interview I used my mum as an example of someone who makes cognitive errors in her thinking, such as catastrophising etc. I remember I introduced it by saying "I'll tell you about my mum cos she's a bit mad...". There were a few chuckes (I think) but i ended up training there :)
Postby workingmama » Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:13 pm

Oh Lordy, where would I even begin - sometimes I can't even get another foot in my mouth - it's already full! :oops:

I was trying to make a bond once with an interviewer, and I indicated the photo on his desk, and asked if that pretty young girl was his daughter, and remarked on how she looked a lot like him. It was the guy's (much younger) wife - ulp.

Gave me the job though, so not too dreadful I guess.

Love the post Cinnamon
Postby psychologee » Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:24 pm

Ha ha ha.

Cinammon - that is sooo funny...thank you for cheering up my day...
Postby Cinammon » Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:50 pm

You are all welcome! Glad you are all having fun at my expense! lol!

I was so annoyed with myself! I thought the interview was going really well before that! And what was with the name?! Bizarre! I guess that's pressure for you!
Postby miriam » Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:03 pm

I remember at an interview saying repeatedly "polite nagging". Like they'd ask, what would you do if someone didn't return their questionnaire and I'd say "polite nagging" and then they asked "and what would you do if a colleague hadn't done something they promised?" and I said "polite nagging" and they said "and what would you do if we didn't offer you the job..." (I'm making that bit up, but it did feel like that was my answer for at least 3 questions out of the 8 they asked!) and I did get the job, so polite nagging was obviously in the job description!
Postby Elsee » Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:18 pm

haha brilliant keep them coming.
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Postby mungle » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:10 pm

At 16 I went through about 30 disaster job interviews. I think I applied for about every retail job going in town.

I had quite a bad case of the nerves and they just kept getting worse and favourtie though was at an interview for Waterstones. I'd written a letter enthusing about my loves of books and how all I ever wanted was to work in a book shop. The first question at the interview was 'What is your favourite book?'. I froze....a few minutes later they encouragingly said 'oh that's a difficult questions, how about one that you like?'. Again, I said nothing until eventually I spluttered out 'I read Pride and Prejudice at school. I liked that'.

Eventually I got a job in a clothes shop, despite having, on the way out of the interview, fallen over my chair, spinning round on it - legs in the air ( I was wearing a dress).
Postby Cinammon » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:35 pm

Oh dear! lol!

Another interview I went to at a 'Pier' shop in my 2nd yr at uni, I became really ill! I fainted, although it wasn't a quick faint, it was really drawn out.. I couldn't see, I went snow white, I couldn't breathe properly.. etc! This was followed by a sudden bout of sickness and diarhea which was sooooo embarrasing!! I was in the loo for about 30 minutes!! Dear god!! I was really shaky after and hoped they'd call me a taxi but they didn't! I did get that job though unlike the RA post!

I was telling my sister about this post, and she was telling me about when she applied for a job as a recruitment consultant (she'd not in psych as you can prob tell!). Apparantly they rang her up out of the blue for a phone interview and asked her to sell herself! Knowing nothing about the job, and being the ditz she is, she answered "erm... I like selling things, I'm friendly and I like to laugh a lot...." Then she just laughed down the phone for a bit!! Cringe!!
Postby chixta » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:13 am

Ha ha ha,

I think I've shared this one on psyclick in the past, but hey ho...

I got my first assistant psychologist interview and it happened to be in the hospital that I was born in. One of the "icebreaker" questions that the panel asked me was "What was your first impression of the hospital?" and I replied "Probably quite traumatic since I was born here!"

Well I thought (and still think) it was quite a witty response, but I must have said it in the wrong tone of voice, because the interviewers just looked at me stoney faced. Needless to say, I didn't get the job! :oops: :lol: :oops:
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Postby Bella » Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:28 am

I think that's a brilliant response! :D
by sarahg » Mon May 12, 2014 5:42 pm
Ha! Wow.
I do love this thread though.
Postby samantha86 » Fri May 30, 2014 12:55 pm

I just had an AP interview within the personality disorder service, up to date on current literature etc, but for some unknown reason, could not define a personality disorder!!! Obviously this came to me as soon as I left the building. The mind is a terrible thing!!! Good luck to whoever got it! :roll:

ostby LeanneH » Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:37 am

I had my FIRST paid AP interview last week, so as you can imagine I was extremely nervous!

The panel introduced themselves etc and explained that they would be taking notes throughout the interview and asked whether I would find this distracting. I answered with something along the lines of "no don't worry, I don't expect you all to have excellent memories"... I immediately cringed as I realised the entire panel consisted of, somewhat, "older" gentleman!

They eventually laughed (luckily) but there did seem to a long and deathly pause beforehand..... :oops:
Postby daisychain123 » Sat Aug 09, 2014 6:30 pm

Had my first paid AP post yesterday. Was so so nervous. When I was brought into the room by the clinical psychologist I was confused to where I was supposed to sit as there was papers on both sides of the table (I suppose I assumed I'd be sitting facing them) .. in my panic I decided to still sit in the seat with all the paper by it only to realise I had sat in the interviewers seat and was greeted by the all the interview questions. They both looked at me strangely and told me my seat was at the top of the table :shock: cringeeee.

This thread makes me laugh so much!! :lol:
Postby laureni88 » Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:45 pm

Had an interview for an ap on a secure ward for women with BPD.
Discussing how I would engage with service users...
Explained I'm creative, use a lot of art, games etc.
They thought this would be great for their patients too and that they are currently making a lot of collages.
I replied "that's great, I love a bit of cutting and sticking" (whyyyy did I say that!!!)
Their reply.."so do a lot of our patients" with a few giggles.

Got the job! Turned it down though.
Postby daisychain123 » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:20 pm

laureni88 wrote:

Got the job! Turned it down though.

Just out of curiosity why did you turn it down? :shock:

Postby laureni88 » Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:41 pm

daisychain123 wrote:
laureni88 wrote:

Got the job! Turned it down though.

Just out of curiosity why did you turn it down? :shock:

The role wasn't quite what the job description had said, and it would've been a huge move for me for a job I wasn't sure about!

Postby sparklepants » Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:31 pm

This thread is by far my favourite in the entire forum!

My interview performance is inconsistent, to put it nicely. I don't have any laugh out loud experiences to share, but had a couple of experiences that stick with me.

There was the RA position interview, where I closed my bobble water bottle lid with my palm right before the interviewer came to get me - I ended up giving him a wet handshake. I also cracked some kind of joke about climate change (knowing he is of the opinion that it's inevitable at this stage). When leaving, I was dying to run away, so didn't wait for directions out before starting to move...towards a dead end. This meant being called back, turning around, and walking back past them. When I got the call an hour later offering me the job, I'm pretty sure I said something like "are you sure?"

There was also the AP NHS post in a medium secure unit that I knew was not going to be a fit based on the lengthy taxi journey and scary air locks. I had a presentation prepared on a USB stick, but their laptop did not have the latest office. I kept my cool (partly because I wasn't desperate for the job) and tried a number of techniques. Eventually, I was able to open the presentation in an open office application that cut off half of every slide. Cue several sentences like "if the other half of this slide was visible, you'd see..." The interviewers were absolutely lovely, and one complimented me on remaining so upbeat. I didn't get the job, but see it as a positive experience.

Finally, there was the forensic psychology service post, where they asked me how I'd react if I was informed a sex offender was moving in to my neighbourhood. I tried to sound like that would be totally fine, and said all the right things about trusting in their rehabilitation...and then said something like "I'd be sure to take a taxi home late at night, though". Eek! :shock:

My main interview-destroying technique is to give a good, concise answer...and then take away from it by babbling on afterwards to try and ensure I leave nothing out. And I round each answer up with a "'s it, really" or "erm...yeah". :oops:
Postby sparklepants » Sun Nov 30, 2014 4:09 pm

Oh, I forgot the course interview this year where I took an interviewer's personal bottle of water to refill my glass, and they had to rescue it from me. Cue lots of giggling and apologies.
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Re: Cringeworthy things you said in an interview

Post by sarahg » Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:07 pm

Don't worry - it is easily done! That thread was hilarious though.
Although, imagine if it was the Clin Psych application progress thread you had deleted :P!

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Re: Cringeworthy things you said in an interview

Post by nicolaannolive » Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:47 pm

I have a tendency for doing/saying cringe worthy things in interviews, its becoming a 'thing'. I interviewed for a research assistant post a few years ago with a two person panel, one being a clinical psychologist and the other the assistant director of a secure MH unit. I was really nervous and my hands were shaking and dry mouth had kicked in. The table was quite thin and as I picked up my water I convulsed and nearly threw water on both......I did get the job though as I demonstrated genuine warmth. In another interview for SSW, there were a few questions which I cant remember now but I did walk out without my coat, returned to collect it saying "oops forgot my coat" then tripped up over the chair then awkwardly laughed repeatedly as I toddled off. In a recent interview when asked to design a research study which was a basic design, half way through my answer I blurted out " oh I'll have pre-post test measures" wasn't even an intervention study!!!! Then, after the last question the panel said 'right' and I went "okay, thanks bye" (as I was standing) and tried to escape the room before being shouted back, then I stated "haha I just tried to bolt ". times!!

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Re: Cringeworthy things you said in an interview

Post by sparklepants » Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:09 pm

At least my embarrassment was saved for posterity.

To add one from last year's clinical interviews: I dropped the laminated vignette and exclaimed "I'm all fumbles!" ...never said this before, and pretty sure it's not a word (except as a verb e.g. "he drunkenly fumbles with his keys, trying to open the door")

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Re: Cringeworthy things you said in an interview

Post by enid » Thu Apr 28, 2016 3:27 pm

Oh that is a shame - that was the funniest thread ever! But never mind, these things are easily done.

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Re: Cringeworthy things you said in an interview

Post by Loula » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:03 pm

I am a little relieved, I'm sure I'd posted some classics in there, that thankfully with time I have tried to erase :D

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Re: Cringeworthy things you said in an interview

Post by Prosopon » Tue May 03, 2016 11:16 pm

I'm sure I've said a lot of cringeworthy things in interviews but I can’t remember anything specific. However, my worst interview moment has to be when I cried! That happened last year during an interview for a peer support worker post. It was such a horrible day! I’d travelled to London for the first time by myself, to an area I've never been to (I get anxious going to new places by myself) and I managed to get lost. I turned up to my interview feeling horribly flustered and rather panicky. I hadn't had enough time to read through my application, which is something I like to do before an interview.

There were three people on the panel, two managers and a service-user. Unfortunately the two managers were extremely unfriendly and I felt intimidated by them. I couldn’t focus on anything and got brain-freeze and ended up bursting into tears! I think it was a combination of anxiety over getting lost and speaking to two intimidating people, plus not being able to prepare in my usual way and also answering difficult questions about my own experience of mental health problems. The managers just stared at me, but the service-user was lovely. She got me some water and told me to take a few minutes. It’s thanks to her that I didn’t just walk out (or completely breakdown).

I was able to finish the interview but I knew I’d blown it. It was easily my worst ever interview performance, and not just because of the crying! When I was leaving I heard one of them say something about how I'm not ready to get back into employment yet. I'm lucky that I’d already had a job offer elsewhere and was just attending this interview to keep my options open. I accepted the other job and have been there for six months now, proving that I AM ready for employment. I'm glad I didn't end up working there with those two managers! Instead I am working in an incredible team full of people who have done everything to make me feel welcome, supported and valued. I didn't even hear back from the other place, which I think is so rude, but it doesn't matter now because I'm where I'm meant to be! I still cringe when I think about what happened, but it doesn't upset me anymore and one day I'm sure I'll be able to laugh about it!
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Re: Cringeworthy things you said in an interview

Post by xashx » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:46 pm

great post, it's so nice to hear stories that aren't perfect, bit late to the party but thought I'd share mine anyway...

mine was my first ever (sort of) mental health job. after struggling to get any sort of MH interview for a year after graduating from BSc Psychology and thinking it was my god given right to be employed even though I had no experience i was invited for an interview for a secretarial position in a CMHT, which I had no idea about, but when I realised it was a mental health team I did my research and felt super prepared. it wasn't clinical experience, but it was a start
I assumed the interview was at the hospital, so I turned up on time buzzing with myself, only
to be informed that the interview was at the community mental health team base. I was not familiar with the area, so immediately my throat began to feel tight and all I could think was oh god oh god oh GOD. the community base was not on google maps, and the kind receptionist had to draw me a crude map - her words, and the words of my brother who also works for the trust, were 'you would know it was there if you knew what you were looking for - it's hard to explain if you have no idea'
So, around I drove, I stress ate the Creme egg I bought in the hospital shop to break change for parking, whilst crying at the same time and trying to understand the directions my brother was giving me
over speakerphone. this carried on for about 45 minutes untill I pulled in to a car park on an industrial estate and what was in front of me?! the COMMUNITY TEAM OFFICE.
so at this point I was very upset, unnerved, frantic, and thought it would be a good idea to go in there, and explain to the team manager in person what had happened. she agreed to meet me, and I could not control my emotions, which is unlike me.
she was so lovely, gave me water and calmed me down. I has just turned 23 years old and thought to myself, no way, I've blew this, I look immature and very unable to control my emotions. she agreed to interview me, and to my
surprise she gave me the job. my response was 'you're joking aren't you?' in my lovely local accent. her feedback was how she liked that I didn't give up, and showed grit and determination. I received the call when I was laid on my bed sulking that is ruined such an opportunity.
although secretary wasn't my first choice of job, I honestly wouldn't be where I was today without this position. I absorbed everything from MDT meetings to service developments, and confided in my manager my aspirations to be a Clinical psychologist. she backed me 100 percent, made me work on the bank at the local MH hospital, which led to me completing my IAPT LICBT training, have experience in adult MH, LD, Forensic LD and MH and now working as an AP, ready to apply for training this year. I am now 26
I still laugh and think of that frantic, crying girl and was known for this for the time I worked in that service. I have learned to not take myself too seriously, and that in any interview situation BE YOURSELF!!!! (and read the interview invitation properly)

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Re: Cringeworthy things you said in an interview

Post by Amina » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:19 pm

In my most recent interview, I had a written task to complete before the face-face part, and I was tight on time and felt a bit flustered when I got in to see the panel. When they asked me the first question, I replied "Oh wow, it's just like being on blind date!" before wishing the ground would swallow me up! I have no idea what they thought (though they did smirk slightly, but it can't have been that bad I suppose, as they offered me the job!

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Re: Cringeworthy things you said in an interview

Post by NotReally » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:29 pm

I had an interview a couple of weeks ago, and the post requires a bit of travel.

Interviewer: how well do you know liverpool?
Me: (eager to impress but knowing I don't know liverpool all that well)... I know manchester quite well...

They can't have seen it that badly though, I got offered the job :D

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