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4 Cringe-Worthy TV & Movie Job Interviews & Lessons they Teach

By Nick Fountain:

If there’s one thing that TV and the real world have in common, it’s bad interviews. In fact, bad interviews are a staple of some of our funniest television shows and movies. When the main characters are searching for a life-changing opportunity to turn their life around… Job interview time!

A 2017 study found on average, 250 people apply for jobs with a 2% chance they will be called for an interview. Although the interviews in this article are fake, we can learn a lot about how to apply for a job and ace the interview, by NOT doing these things.

Have you had an awkward interview? So have these TV & movie characters! Check out these cringe-worthy #interviews and the lessons they teach in the latest from @NickRBM! Spoiler: Dwight K. Schrute makes an appearance: Click To Tweet

While many television and movie job interviews are fantastic sources for a good laugh and one-liners, you can find valuable information in interviews from every category of film and TV programming. For now, let’s focus on popular interviews that everyone should see.

#1 Step Brothers: Dress for Success & Be Open to New Methods

If you have seen the film Step Brothers with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, you know EXACTLY what part of the movie the first example is coming from.

hello miss lady step brothers gifIf not, here is the gist. Basically, the two stepbrothers tag team their job interviews dressed in tuxedos and sneakers. They interview for several jobs and bomb every single interview. While this is an extremely exaggerated example, there are some takeaways for both the interviewees and the interviewers. A big thing the movie emphasized was that the two were dressed up in extreme formal wear. Would you wear a tux for an interview? Didn’t think so. Not even your CEO would dress in a tux for an interview! The takeaway from this is to dress for success.

If you’re job searching:

Be sure to have the proper attire that fits the level of job you are applying for. If you don’t know, it’s totally fine to ask the recruiter. Remember, they want you to succeed and get the job too!

how much money do you make a year step brothers gifFrom a recruiters standpoint, this segment of the movie shows another takeaway. During one interview, shown above, Ferrell and Reilly turn the questioning around towards the manager hiring them. Yes, the questions they ask are ridiculous, but the important thing to gain from it is that interviewers should be open to different techniques. It is crucial for the interviewee to come prepared and ask great questions so their potential employer knows they are interested and bright.

If you’re hiring:

A smart recruiter will encourage questions about work environment, typical activities and yes, even compensation.

#2 The Office: Be Humble & Leave Your Friends Out of Work

The Office is another no-brainer for examples of what not to do in an interview. There are countless examples the show revolves around that make the program so cringe-worthy and great at the same time. Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell, is the ideal what-not-to-do example when running a business, but Dwight Schrute seems to be the character that is involved in the most interviews, so we’ll focus on him.

alpha male interview dwight the officeA major event that takes place in The Office is when Dwight quits his job with Dunder Mifflin and begins applying and interviewing for jobs at different companies. They show every interview he does and he walks into each one with an arrogant swagger that turns the employers off to him. He also displays a level of transparency, which while refreshing, is out of place in most job interviews.

For candidates, you must be confident in your abilities and talents, but not so arrogant that employers view you as a potential problem in the office or work area. As Kendrick Lamar once said, “Be Humble”. Overqualification can haunt you if you showcase every single skill you possess on separate, enormous pedestals. And be honest but not overly forthcoming with your interviewer.

If you’re job searching:

Put your accomplishments in three “buckets”. Focus on bringing the conversation around to those specific traits, then each time you mention a particular accomplishment, it will reinforce that trait and make you more memorable in the mind of the recruiter.

can't blame weirdos gifWould you really want to work with your weird cousin? When Dwight becomes hiring manager, he brings in many of his friends and family, thinking that since he knows them and what they are capable of that he can simply give them jobs. As you can imagine, all these terrible hires come back to bite Dwight. Recruiters should understand that although hiring friends and people you know can be awesome for moral support and office chemistry, that’s not really the job. Your job is to find the most qualified person for the company, not your own personal comfort. Plus, hiring people you are very close to can be toxic to the work environment when you have a falling out. Working with even the best of friends can also lead to a decrease in productivity that will have your coworkers grumbling for months.

If you’re hiring:

Think your bestie has what it takes to make it in your office? Before referring her for a position (ask if your company has an employee referral program), discuss the possibility between yourselves. What happens if you get in a fight? Will you be as excited to see him after a long week if you work together every day? Having a contingency plan for everything that can go wrong, so you know exactly what to do when your friend gets promoted to your manager.

#3 Office Space: Keep Your Cool & Your Mind Open

Office Space is a classic movie from the 90s that pokes fun at your typical office. From petty stapler incidents to having to hear from four different superiors that you need to use a new template when you are sending in a report, this movie has interview tips that will help in your hiring endeavors.

i have people skills office spaceThis movie provides examples of good and bad techniques when interviewing, but our focus is interviews gone wrong. The company brings in consultants to conduct interviews with each employee about what they do and how they like their job. Tom, a man who simply takes specifications from customers to the engineers, is interviewing to save his job. He is afraid that he will lose his job because his position seems pointless to the consultants, so he loses his cool screaming “I HAVE PEOPLE SKILLS!

The takeaway is simple yet huge, do not lose your cool. Losing your cool is a fast track to unemployment or staying unemployed. Conduct your interviews with a level head so that when you are asked a difficult, simple, offensive (even though these should never happen, but they do), or loaded question, keep calm and answer the questions to best of your ability.

Are you struggling to find the right employee? Are you struggling to find your #DreamJob? Learn some #InterviewTips from some of your favorite TV & movie here: Click To Tweet

If you’re job searching:

Again, candidates should have three main points they want to focus on, and focus on relaying those points. Ideally, these will be requirements or traits listed in the job advertisement or gleaned from company literature. By having a list of talking points for potential questions (both good and bad) you’ll be more prepared and far less likely to get emotional.

disagree with you office spaceFor hiring managers, Office Space is important for hiring managers because, in the movie, the Bobs come in with a preconceived notion about the workers because of how the boss of the office has told them about each employee. Managers cannot have any bias when looking at candidates and should discourage current employees from sharing things that might bring bias into the hiring environment.

If you’re hiring:

On the other hand, employee referrals continue to be employers’ top source of hires, delivering more than 30% of all hires overall in 2016 and 45% of internal hires. So, build a rock solid employee referral program and ignore any negative information about prospective candidates, should it reach your desk.

#4 Iron Man 2 & Parks and Recreation: Be Professional

Have you been rejected at a job interview? If so, how did that make you feel? The last piece of advice to offer is simple, yet important for both hiring managers and candidates. These examples from Iron Man 2 and Parks and Recreation that demonstrate you should conduct all business with professionalism.

tony stark not recommended gifAt the end of Iron Man 2, Tony Stark is not approved to join the Avengers by Nick Fury. Stark is painted as a hothead, man-child in the Avengers series because of his arrogant disposition and impulsive behavior. His tendencies come back to bite him in this interview. When Stark gets denied, he becomes salty and upset. He begins insulting Fury saying “You can’t afford me”. Which leads to the fourth tip for interviewees: conduct all of your interviews and hiring processes with professionalism. Often times, not being selected for one job can open the doors for another, so burning bridges by insulting the interviewer…not recommended.

If you’re job searching:

Handling unpopular or adverse news is difficult because emotions are a big factor in coping with the news. Do not ruin your chances to possibly have a job with them sometime in the future just because they do not want you right now. Thank them for the opportunity and leave with your head held high.

ron swanson punch you in the face parks and recIf you are a fan of Parks and Rec, you know all about Jean Ralphio and his antics. There is one particular scene where he interviews with Ron Swanson, the head of the parks department in the show, for a position. He comes in overconfident and makes immature remarks about why he wants to join and be one of the interns. When he leaves, Swanson expresses his disapproval of Ralphio, as would many other hiring managers. However, his words are harsh, saying he wanted to punch Ralphio in the face. While this is funny on a sitcom, violent words like this could land hiring managers or recruiters in serious hot water, especially if the candidate were to overhear.

If you’re hiring:

Tell your buddies your interview horror stories later over a beer…but change the name.

From Rachel’s countless interviews on Friends to The Interview with Seth Rogen and James Franco, catastrophic job interviews are prime examples of what not to do when interviewing for the job of your dreams or trying to find the right candidate.

Here are some more great articles about how to ace your interview, no matter what side of the table you’re on!