Hilarious books to mention in interview

Hilarious books to mention in interview
Marie Ryan

Marie Ryan

HireHive

You reached the fun part of the interview where you talk about hobbies and interests. What’s the worst that could happen? We came up with a list of the worst book titles a candidate could mention in an interview.

Interview books

Honesty is the best policy. But if any of your candidates admit to reading these books, they’re too honest. 

  • Successful Job Interviews for Dummies - Kate Southam
  • The complete idiot's guide to getting the job you want - Marc A Dorio
  • What to Say in Every Job Interview: How to Understand What Managers Are Really Asking and Give the Answers That Land the Job - Carole Martin

How to control you boss

Managing up is a good idea, unless the candidate takes it too far with these gems:

  • 101 Ways to Kill Your Boss - Graham Roumieu
  • A Survival Guide for Working With Bad Bosses: Dealing with Bullies, Idiots, Back-Stabbers, and Other Managers from Hell - Gini Graham Scott
  • Fire Your Boss - Mark Levine
  • Tame Your Boss: A Guide to Successful Living - David Griffith-Sackey
  • How to Steal Your Boss's Job: Corporate Secrets & Dirty Tricks to Get the Job YOU Deserve! - Warlizard
  • How to Work for an Idiot: Survive and Thrive Without Killing Your Boss -  John Hoover

Dating books

Imagine your reaction to a candidate saying they’re reading:

  • He's Just Not That Into You - Greg Behrendt 
  • How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk: The Foolproof Way to Follow Your Heart Without Losing Your Mind -  John Van Epp
  • The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists - Neil Strauss

Get rich quick

Don’t hate the player, hate the game. 

  • How to Win the Lottery: The Secret to Lottery Strategies and Winning Systems -  Stanley Cooper
  • Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill
  • The 4-Hour Workweek - Tim Ferriss
  • The Secret - Rhonda Byrne
  • Never Get a "Real" Job: How to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke -  Scott Gerber
  • How to Rob a Bank - Tom Mitchell

False idols

Never underestimate the power of mentors in business or in life. A good leader inspires, challenges and influences people. These mentors add an interesting dynamic:

  • Trump: The Art of the Deal -  Donald Trump
  • A Shore Thing - Snooki
  • Sweet Freedom: A Devotional - Sarah Palin
  • Vladimir Putin: Life Coach - Rob Sears

Anti-capitalist

Candidates reading these books want to “stick it to the man”, wear bandanas and be “one with nature”. 

  • Complete book of self-sufficiency - John Seymour
  • Das Kapital -  Karl Marx
  • Foundations of Leninism - Joseph Stalin
  • How to Be an Anticapitalist in the Twenty-First Century -  Erik Olin Wright
  • Revolt Against the Modern World - Julius Evola
  • The Communist Manifesto- Karl Marx
  • The Conquest of Bread - Peter Kropotkin
  • The Unabomber Manifesto: Industrial Society and Its Future -  Ted Kaczynski

Conspiracy theories

People reading these books are fun to chat with on nights out. And that’s where they should stay. 

  • An illustrated history of UFOs - Adam Allsuch Boardman (Author, Illustrator)
  • Anything by David Icke
  • Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base - Annie Jacobsen
  • The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross - John M. Allegro
  • The Moon Landing Hoax: The Eagle That Never Landed - Dr Steven Thomas (Author)

“I’m smarter than you”

People who claim to read these books are lying. They want you to know how intellectual and pretentious they are. 

  • A Brief History of Time -  Stephen Hawking
  • Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison - Foucault
  • The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
  • The Trial - Franz Kafka
  • The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Ulysses - James Joyce

Swear words

People don’t swear in an interview, but what if the book they’re reading has it in the title?

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Mark Manson
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k - Sarah Knight
  • F*ck Feelings: One Shrink's Practical Advice for Managing All Life's Impossible Problems - Sarah Bennett
  • Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life - Gary John Bishop

Crime thrillers

Who doesn’t like a good crime thriller? There’s nothing like watching Making of a Murderer or The Staircase when you’re safe at home. These books take it too far:

  • I Am Not a Serial Killer - Dan Wells
  • American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis
  • Manson in his own words - Charles Manson
  • How to Get Away with Murder: Evil Masterminds Who Evaded Capture -  Roger Harrington
  • The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer - Brian Masters

*Bonus points if they mention these books randomly, without being asked.

** Extra-bonus points for having an unexplained 20 year gap on their CV and comment on how spacious your office is. 

War books

War is strategy. Candidates reading these books view the workplace as their personal Vietnam and colleagues as comrades or adversaries. 

  • Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung - Mao Zedong
  • The Prince - Niccolò Machiavelli
  • The 48 Laws of Power - Robert Greene
  • The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security - Kevin Mitnick
  • The Art of War - Sun Tzu

The slacker’s guide…

Why not spend time coming up with clever ways to avoid work?

  • A Workers Manifesto to Slacking Off: 52 Outrageous Office Games to Keep You Sane (and Drive Your Boss Crazy!) - Annie Jackson
  • Bullshit Jobs: A Theory - David Graeber
  • Control Everyone with Hypnosis - Dr. Jürgen Bauer 
  • How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy - Jenny Odell
  • How to Manipulate People: The Psychology of How to Manipulate and Influence Anyone Using the Power of Persuasion - Maxwell Nelson
  • Surrounded by Idiots - Thomas Erikson
  • The Peter principle - Laurence J. Peter
  • Who's Pulling Your Strings? How to Break the Cycle of Manipulation and Regain Control of Your Life - Harriet B. Braiker

All things woo…

Candidates reading these books will stroll into the office on a Monday smelling of incense while covered in twigs.

  • Crystals for Beginners: The Guide to Get Started with the Healing Power of Crystals - Karen Frazier
  • Moonology: Working with the Magic of Lunar Cycles - Yasmin Boland
  • The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need - Joanna Martine Woolfolk
  • Angels in My Hair - Lorna Byrne
  • The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham - Esther Hicks

Self-improvement

Self-improvement and self-awareness is important. Beware of candidates with these problems.

  • Rage: A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Explosive Anger - Potter-Efron R 
  • How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading - Mortimer J Adler
  • Critical Thinking Skills For Dummies - Martin Cohen
  • Managing for Dummies - Bob Nelson 

Conversation stoppers

Change the topic immediately if your candidate mentions any of these books.

  • Steal This Book - Abbie Hoffman
  • Knots: An Illustrated Practical Guide - Andrew Adamides
  • Obedience to Authority - Stanley Milgram
  • The 2016-2021 Outlook for Wood Toilet Seats in Greater China Paperback – Icon Group International
  • The adult colouring book - Various
  • Watching Paint Dry: Stories from the Trade - John Burbidge

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