There’s a lot you need to remember when going into a job interview. Be friendly. Be personable. Be honest. Make a connection. Show some of your personality. Highlight your strengths. Downplay your weaknesses. Ask questions. Come prepared. Do your homework.
That’s all well and good. But interviews can go hilariously - and tragically - off the rails. And quickly. Most of us have at least one bad, awkward, or uncomfortable interview experience in our past. Maybe it was for your first job as a nervous teenager. Or perhaps it was for your first "real" job after graduating from university. Whatever the scenario, it’s all part of growing up.
But what about truly bad interviews. So bad they’re funny. Laugh-out-loud-horrible. Hopefully, you haven’t had one of those, and hopefully you never will. To experience them, we have to turn to Hollywood.
And it delivers. So-bad-they’re-funny interviews exist in spades on television and in the movies. They let us vicariously experience them from the safety of our own homes, giggling at the foul-ups, inappropriate responses, faux pas, and downright bizarre behaviour. Maybe we see a glimmer of reality in them. Maybe we catch just a glimpse of "yup, that could happen".
Or maybe it’s just surreal. Whatever the reason, we laugh. We smile. Here are seven of the best bad interviews Hollywood has to offer for your viewing pleasure.
OK. Trainspotting contains a lot of behaviour we probably shouldn’t emulate. Drug use. Theft. Violence. The characters, with few exceptions, are horrible people in many ways.
Take Spud. He is required to attend a job interview for a position that he does not want, but he can’t appear to be trying to throw the interview. He has to seem to be trying. That’s tricky. So Spud, very understandably, works himself into a nervous wreck. That’s where his buddy Renton comes to the rescue...with a little bit of Speed. "A little dab of Speed is just the ticket, mate."
Unfortunately, it’s not. Spud comes across as hilariously stoned and over energized. Speaking too fast, and talking nonsense. A few of his best quips include:
(In response to why he wants the job) "In a word? Pleasure. As in, my pleasure, and other people’s leisure."
(In response to whether he has any weaknesses) <shaking his head emphatically no> "Oh yes! ’Cause like, I’m a bit of a perfectionist, actually. Yes, I am. See, for me, it’s got to be the best, or it’s nothing at all. Like, if things get a bit dodgy, I just can not be bothered."
He lies on his resume, admits to lying to get his foot in the door, and spends the entire interview higher than a kite. Probably not his best performance and the interviewers look less than impressed.
2. Mrs. Doubtfire
Oh, Robin Williams. How we miss you.
One of the most gifted comedians of the last one hundred years, Williams masterfully combined comedy and drama many times over his career, but none more successfully than in 1993’s Mrs. Doubtfire. The story of a divorced father forced to disguise himself as an elderly British lady so he could spend time with his kids connected with audiences on every level.
In an early scene, Williams attends an interview with a woman assigned to his file. She asks a (seemingly) routine question, one that we’ve all heard before: do you have any special skills?
The question is mundane and common. The response is not. Williams answers "Oh yes, I do. I do voices." The interviewer stares back at him and wants to know what that means.
Cue the hilarity. Williams launches into nearly one solid minute of improvised voices and impressions, including Ronald Reagan, James Bond, and a great impression of a hot dog. A few of his best include:
(speaking as an alien) "We came to this planet looking for intelligent life. Oops. We made a mistake."
(speaking as James Bond) "Look at me right now, Moneypenny. I want to undo that bow and get to know you."
(speaking as Reagan) "Nancy and I are still looking for the other half of my head."
It’s classic Robin Williams. Funny, bizarre, and all over the map. But as a response to an interview question? Well...less than classic. The scene ends when the woman asks if he considers himself humorous. Williams’s response? "I used to." Fade to black.
3. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
This 2014 family comedy stars Steve Carell as the hapless victim of an accidental "curse" by his middle child. For one LONG day, everything that could go wrong, does. And Carell has an important job interview lined up with a video game company that afternoon.
A series of misadventures has Carell show up for the interview with his infant son in tow. Not ideal, but not the worst thing that could happen, either. He carefully places the boy on the floor and off to the side, with some keys and his satchel to keep him busy. While Carell presents some of his ideas for a new product, the boy, unfortunately, finds a green highlighter in the bag.
"Your kid right now. His face is all green."
End of the interview. And it was going so well.
4. The Wedding Singer
Remember when Adam Sandler movies were actually funny. And good. It’s been a while since then, but 1998’s The Wedding Singer was one of his best.
Sandler’s Robbie Hart goes to an interview at a bank...despite the fact he has no training, education, or experience in finance. He’s simply trying to earn money to impress the girl of his dreams, played by Drew Barrymore.
While the scene is short, Sandler’s response to the question of whether he has any experience is quoteworthy and hilarious:
"No sir, I have no experience. But I’m a big fan of money. I like it. I use it. I have a little. I keep it in a jar on top of my refrigerator. I’d like to put more in that jar. That’s where you come in."
And the interviewer just stares at him. Something tells me he won’t be starting on Monday.
5. Good Will Hunting
Good Will Hunting was a monster hit in 1997. Stars and co-writers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon became A-listers seemingly overnight based on its success. For those you haven’t seen it (really? Go find it on Netflix right now), Damon plays a genius living in Boston, hanging out and drinking with his best friend played by Affleck. When his intelligence is revealed, he starts getting lucrative job offers but feels he’s losing control of his life.
In the film’s interview scene, Damon has sent his buddy Affleck to fill in for him at one such meeting. The results are probably not what the three interviewers were expecting. Affleck shows up wearing an out-dated suit, pants that are several inches too short, mismatched boat shoes, and bright white gym socks. He slouches and slides down on his chair the whole time. But the piece de resistance? He asks for a retainer of $200, cash in hand before he accepts the offer of employment.
He exits with $73, leaving three very confused and dumbfounded interviewers.
6. Step Brothers
Step Brothers. The godfather of the "interviews so hilariously bad" sub-genre of movies. It holds a place of honour as on our list.
The 2008 hit revolves around new adult step brothers Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. They hate each other at first, but quickly come to realize they have more in common than anyone else on the planet. So they, of course, decide to go out on a bunch of interviews together. In tandem. As a team.
That’s mistake number one. They also believe that interviews are serious and deserve serious clothes. Dress the part. So they decide to wear tuxedos.
That’s mistake number two. In this first clip, the interview starts off well enough, but quickly descends into the absurd. Ferrell can’t determine if the interviewer’s name is Pam, or Pan, at which point Reilly reveals himself (he was sitting directly behind Ferrell), to add his two cents. They move from Pan, to Pand, to Panm, and finally Pamm, before she yells at them to get out of her office.
Okay. That did not go well.
7. Step Brothers (Yup...again)
Step Brothers is so funny that it gets two places on our list . The last interview in the montage (and there are several others that easily could have been on this list) has our clueless fellas sitting down in a small office with none other than Seth Rogen. And he likes them.
They have the same hair as him. They seem quirky and cool. And he thinks the tuxedos are a hilariously ironic comment on the artificial nature of the whole interview process. So, he hires them on the spot.
It is at this point that things go south. Reilly’s character unleashes a 15-second fart. Loud. No hiding it. It’s out there. And it’s bad.
Rogen: "I can taste it. On my tongue. Is that onion? Onion...onion and ketchup. It stinks."
And that’s all she wrote, folks. End of interview. Job offer rescinded and off the table. Get out.
The lesson? Loud, pungent farts in closed, small offices during an interview will NOT get you the job. Shocking, but true.
There you have it. The top seven funniest job interviews in movies. There are more. So many more. But these seven give a decent snapshot of what could go wrong, and how not to handle yourself. Interviews are awkward. They’re strange. And they can be hilarious. We might not feel that way at the moment, but given enough time, it all becomes one big laugh riot.
Do you know any videos that are even better than these? Please let us know...