A sub trope of the Travelling Salesman Montage, specifically of the job interview iteration. However, that trope focuses on the interviewer, whereas in Terrible Interviewees Montage, the interviewees are the problem. They are all dreadfully unsuitable (and often slightly unhinged) leaving the poor interviewer traumatized to some degree. Expect him to say "Get Out!" and/or "Next!" a lot. This may be a job interview, a performance audition, speed-dating, or any number of situations.
The montage usually ends with someone perfect (or at least, not QUITE so horrible) for the role coming along and being hired. That, or the interviewer calling it a day, only to find the perfect person for the role outside of an interview situation a scene or two later. Alternatively, the interviewer already has someone who would fit the job just fine, but is trying to avoid hiring them for some personal reason. The series of awful interviewees is then a Rule of Drama plot device to force them to hire someone they don't want to have around.
The advent of speed dating provides an increasingly common premise for the appearance of this trope in any Romantic Comedy.
- There was this commercial for the self-help section of FHM magazine that aired in Singapore, depicting a guy who can't say anything but lame pickup lines, or score a job interview to save his life. Yes, a montage with just one guy.
- Match.com aired a commercial showing a luckless man dating a variety of creepy, awkward, or unpleasant women, before cutting to their slogan and services.
- A vintage 1984 French animated advertising for La Vache qui rit (The Laughing Cow) shows the difficulties of choosing the right mascot among several cows.
- Inverted with actors auditioning to sell an air-freshener. One man burbles enthusiastically about the product, a beautiful woman purrs sensuously over it, but it's the final applicant who gets the part despite being awful, thanks to his enormous nose.
- Also inverted in an add for Amour, a porn movie channel. Several ditzy buxom blondes in Stripperiffic clothing get the part despite their Bad "Bad Acting", while a fully dressed Brainy Brunette who delivers the line perfectly gets rejected.
Amour. You don't watch it for the acting.
- An add for online dating showed the man on a date at a restaurant, with several annoying women whom he instantly changed (with an audible mouse-click sound) until getting the one he wanted. Then he says something annoying and gets clicked off by the woman for a man who's a bit more suave.
- The Sobame (Concubine) audition in Iono the Fanatics played with this. All the interviewees were actually good, but almost everyone was eliminated due to other reasons, such as getting a sudden divine revelation that told her that she had to go home now, getting kidnapped before her turn, and possessing one body part too many for the very lesbian Queen Iono's tastes.
- Polar Bear of Shirokuma Cafe interviews several potential candidates for part-time workers at his café, but they all display their typical animal traits, such as the tortoise being very slow, the baboon doing nothing but eating, and Panda stating he had no intention to work. Polar Bear fails them all and hires a human girl named Sasako right on the spot when she enters the café, carrying a sloth.
- Played with in Amagi Brilliant Park episode 6. When interviewing candidates for new park employees, many of them gave poor interviews (such as a failed baseball player who spent the whole interview sobbing uncontrollably), but Kanie hires them all anyway.
- This happens in Episode 2 of Osomatsu-san when the Sextuplets attempt(?) to apply for jobs.
- Fantastic Four
- At one point, the Wizard held auditions for the fourth member of his latest Frightful Four in Fantastic Four comics. Applicants included an overweight cabbie in a bird suit ("The Osprey") and Captain Ultra, whose strength, flight, and gullibility made him a shoo-in... Until he fainted in the presence of a lit match.
- In the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes cartoon, this scene was reproduced with the Fantastic Four auditioning for new members after the Thing lost his powers. The Fabulous Frog-Man knocked himself out bouncing around, Texas Twister wrecked the audition area, and Squirrel Girl didn't even get to do or say anything before she was rejected. Oh, if only they knew... The cartoon also includes the Captain Ultra bit almost exactly the same, except replace "lit match" with "Johnny giving a flaming thumbs-up".
- The Legion of Super-Heroes frequently holds open auditions, and, as you might expect, most of the people trying out are total losers. see here for a pretty complete list (with a nifty parody at the end). Some of them aren't that bad, are they?
- In a subversion, a number of Legion rejects form the Legion of Substitute Heroes, who do good work as a sort of reserve team putting their unconventional powers to work in the field when the main team can't handle all aspects of a crisis.
- In one issue, the villainous Dynamo Boy, having tricked the rest of the Legion into quitting, held his own auditions — and while he was largely met with the same type of also-rans who show up to other Legion try-outs, he turned down a couple of decent candidates for petty reasons. His reasons being that, using some future technology to get a scan of their personalities, judged they were too decent and wouldn't be converted to evil so easily.
- Geoff Johns later retconned the reason as to why some applicants were rejected, citing that Saturn Girl had done psychic profiles on them during their try-outs. While some were rejected because their power was lame or they lacked suitable control, others were rejected because they had a variety of psychotic tendencies and deeply disturbed psyches.
- The Image series Wildguard: Casting Call revolved around a Reality TV show where superheroes competed for a spot on an auspicious team. The first rounds were... bad, as is typical of a real reality talent show. Notable flips included Adhesor, who was very nervous and couldn't even really control his unimpressive ability to stick to things; Road Rash, a chubby biker whose action figure doesn't match his actual powers; and "Popstar", a singer who thought she was auditioning for American Idol. The next round was only slightly better. Toughlon and Wannabe made a lot of the others wish they didn't try out in the first place.
- A seventies Daredevil comic showed Matt Murdock interviewing possible replacements for Karen Page. Up until Becky Blake, all applicants were pretty hopeless. "No I can't exactly type. But I make a great cup of coffee. If you like instant."
- Justice League of America
- Some of the possible new League Members in the membership drive montage from Justice League International #24 were less qualified than others:
- A similar montage from JLA #5:
Damage: Hi, name's Damage. Maybe you've heard of me... Sorry about the ceiling. And the... ah... the landing pad, and the other thing...
Martian Manhunter: We'll fix it. Next.
Hitman: Name's Monaghan, Tommy Monaghan. I've got X-Ray vision and telepathy and I kill superpeople — for money.
Martian Manhunter: Next. And please, no smoking.
Hitman: [to next interviewee] Don't mention money. They don't like it.
- Of course, this was followed up with:
Hitman: I just came so I could look at Wonder Woman with my X-ray vision. Now I can die a happy man.
- Slightly subverted with Max Mercury, a very experienced and qualified speedster. He only showed up as a favor to The Flash, and because he'd never been on the moon before (and wanted to take pictures).
- Brian Michael Bendis often uses this trope:
- Before Watchmen: A bunch of people try out for the Minutemen. Most are rejected for being... less than effective, like a guy in a sweatshirt and a bucket named hank, and Liberty Lass, an over weight woman who can sing, dance and cook. One of them, The Iron Lid, is a guy in full body armor and a blow-torch, and can be seen as a bad guy later on. Nite-Owl is the only accepted one. It's interesting to note that Mothman was rejected at the interview, but was added to the team later.
- The Disney comic story "Amelia e la grande svolta" has Magica de Spell interview potential candidates to work as her monster servants. All the monsters turn out to either be frightfully incompetent, or have absurd demands (such as a paid six-month leave every year.)
- Deadpool has an inversion where he's looking for work and calling several contacts — both hero and villain — asking if they need a mercenary. They range from people like Kingpin politely declining because they're happy with their current service provider to Tony Stark reminding Deadpool that he's a good guy, to...
Mephisto: How did you get this number?
- Wolverine and the X-Men (Marvel Comics) #19 has one of these, as Kitty Pryde looks for a new member of staff for the Jean Grey School. After going through many unusual and unsavoury applicants (including Deadpool, who keeps coming back), she settles for Storm.
- A series of W.I.T.C.H. short stories in which the Guardians had been roped in helping with a musical based on the first arc of the series (Will had been roped with the script) has one for the casting. One was good but got rejected by Cornelia for being a brunette trying for her role, but the others were: a superpunk emoboy (rejected as "Too much"); a cheerleader (rejected as "Too much cheerleader"); a guy who forgot his lines; someone who managed to get rejected as "TOO MUCH TOO MUCH!"; a Hamlet; a girl who cried after reading the script (it was too moving); Jack Sparrow in person ("Too much pirate"); and the professional actress Madison Johnson, who had been part of the jury with Will and Cornelia until that moment and was really good but got rejected by Will for being an Insufferable Genius and scaring away applicants with her very presence. Will & co. later found the actresses for the main roles (theirs) going around and meeting girls with similar characteristics and personalities to themselves, including one so similar to Will in personality, interests and background that Taranee and Will got spooked out.
- New 52 Harley Quinn #16: Harley's auditions for a gang to help her fight crime and organize her life pretty much go like this; about half of the interviewees end up being recruited, half don't. Later played with, as the craziest of the rejected interviewees ends up appearing as a major character, as "Harley Sinn", the villain of the Gang of Harleys mini-series.
- There was one in Sergio Aragonés Destroys DC, where The Legion Of Super Heroes tryouts are parodied with a bunch of lame screwball heroes, including Nixon Boy (who can polarize people and to make a 18 minute gap appear anywhere), Deja-Vu Kid (who can make events repeat themselves), Cotton-Swab Boy (who can remove earwax anywhere in the universe), Deja-Vu Kid (who can make events repeat themselves), Windows Lass (who can actually understand Windows 95), and Deja-Vu Kid (who can make events repeat themselves).
- The 2018 revival of West Coast Avengers had Hawkeye: Kate Bishop leading one to find a new member.
- In Position Vacant 1: The DADA Interview McGonagall is interviewing for the Defense Against the Dark Arts position and ends up rejecting three ghosts (including Peeves the poltergeist), Squib caretaker Argus Filch, sneak thief Mundungus Fletcher and house elves Dobby and Winky, among other unsuitable candidates. She eventually hires curse-breaker Bill Weasley, who was actually there to invite her to his and Fleur Delacour's wedding.
- Of Life and Flames focuses on Warren's attempts to find a post-graduation sidekick that he's actually compatible with. The first two candidates end up in the hospital due to accidents with Warren's powers, the third one hands in his resignation immediately, the fourth one is an egotistical asshole who flat-out tells Warren that he's the real star of the team because he doesn't have a supervillain dad (Warren sends him to the hospital on purpose that time), and the last one is a wannabe villainess who gives him a We Can Rule Together offer and wants to free his aforementioned supervillain dad. After that, Warren just decides to wait until his friends graduate so one of them can serve as his sidekick.
- A good chunk of Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion consists of this, as Getafix searches for a young druid suitable to succeed him. Because of Sulfurix, the notes rating the skills of the apprentices got mixed up, so they have to go through every one of them all over Gaul. The candidates are for the most part either plain incompetent, closer to snake-oil peddlers than real druids, way too cozy with the Roman invaders, just not trustworthy enough to be given a secret as precious as the Magic Potion, or seemingly more interested into circus tricks than real druidism.
- One of the highlights of Sing, and most used in trailers, is the audition for the Moon Theater's singing contest. The crowd of hopefuls run the gamut from "Wow!" to a cringe of pain. Among the hopefuls are a llama who keeps pausing to tune his guitar, another a sheep whose voice baaa-reaks mid-song, and Stage Mom kangaroo who pulls her daughter out of her pouch.
- 10 Things I Hate About You has this when Cameron and Michael interview their schoolmates to have one of them date Kate Stratford so Cameron could date her little sister Bianca as the girls' father has a oldest-one-dates-first rule.
- The 40-Year-Old Virgin includes a speed dating sequence that fits this trope completely, with the added humor of his individual friends' reactions to the same girls. The main character, failing to find a match at speed dating, even meets his real love interest in the following scene.
- One of the funnier parts in Armageddon, with the twist being that all the guys being shown had already been hired on and the higher-ups were regretting this decision as they saw their psych evaluations.
Chick: [very hostile] You know I think this might be the most uncomfortable room that I've ever been in, in my life.
AJ: [looking at the Rorschach cards] Here's Harry giving me a hard time. And, uh, this is Harry tellin' me it's not good enough. And, uh, this is Harry tellin' me I can't marry his daughter. Thanks a lot, appreciate it.
Rockhound: You wanna compare brainpans? I won the Westinghouse prize when I was 12, big deal. Published at 19, so what. I got a double doctorate from MIT at 22, Chemistry and Geology. I taught at Princeton for two and a half years. Why do I do this? Because the money's good, the scenery changes and they let me use explosives, okay?
Bear: [crying] I'm okay, it's just... I think I need a hug right now, okay?
- Audition has one of these: an audition is held, nominally for a TV role, but its actual purpose is to find a woman for the main character to date. One woman removes her coat to reveal a yellow bikini underneath, another actually strips naked. One even returns later and declares that she has more to say before leaving. Of course, given who he ultimately ends up picking, he really would have been better off with any of the failed auditionees.
- The Bewitched movie does this twice, both times for the role of Samantha in the Show Within a Show remake of the original Bewitched; among the many poor showings are a few unexpected cameos.
- Bring It On features a montage of unsuitable candidates trying out for the cheerleading team, before Missy comes in and blows them all away with her gymnastic talent. Not that they were all useless: the rejects include a ballet-dancer (male), a dancer with a routine aimed at titillation (female), and the younger sister on one of the active cheerleaders who simply seems underage (and unenthusiastic).
- In Calendar Girls (2003), which is about a group of middle-aged women who put together a calendar of photos where they pose nude, there is a scene like this when they audition for a photographer. The first one has almost only done photos of poodles, the second is photo artist with an... interesting portfolio, the third mostly does photos of orchids and leaves when he finds out what kind of photos they want, and the fourth is an old lech who gets turned away at the door.
- Eddie Murphy has one of these with his various possible dates in Coming to America.
"I have a secret... I worship the Devil!"
"I was Joan of Arc in my former life..."
"I'm almost single. My husband's on Death Row!"
- The Commitments, about the story of Jimmy Rabbitte attempting to put together a soul band in Dublin, features a montage of unsuccessful for applicants to his band (including Cajun bands, riverdancers, Joni Mitchell wannabes and one poor deluded boy who only turned up because he assumed the line of people outside the door meant Jimmy was selling drugs).
- Drillbit Taylor subverts this. The interviewees all seem properly qualified... then all bolt after finding out the low wages.
- The Fabulous Baker Boys has a long line of terrible singers audition for the act, and the brothers are about to give up, and then Michelle Pfeiffer shows up...
- In The Fighting Temptations, the main character is looking for people to audition for a church choir. The interviewees include a girl who sings Amazing Freaking Grace badly, a bunch of kids who do a dance about Jesus baptizing them, a guy who sings "Isn't She Lovely" (including the instrumental) and some hillbilly who plays multiple mouth-related instruments but doesn't sing.
- The first High School Musical features a montage of terrible wanna-be student actors as Ms. Darbus either snarked them or reacted in horror. Eventually, Ryan and Sharpay go last and are, essentially, the only people who deliberately audition that are remotely capable of acting or singing on key... thus getting the lead roles. Though Darbus still ends up catching Troy and Gabriella singing a duet after auditions are over and decides she wants callbacks with them. Of course, this still begs the question of who is going to play the rest of the parts if nobody else in the entire school can sing or act without breaking pitch, being genuinely creepy, or locking up with stage fright.
- i am sam has a funny montage of the lawyer interviewing Sam's retarded friends for court suitability.
- Kid Detective (2020) has a terrible clients montage, to show how mundane the protagonist's work is. The clients include a lady whose cat has run away (again) and a young teenager asking for evidence that a classmate lied about going to New York and getting to practice with the Mets over the summer.
- Lets Get Harry (1986). A group of American construction workers want go down to Columbia to rescue a colleague kidnapped by terrorists. They decide to hire a mercenary to advise them — cue a series of Walter Mitty types in army greens with outrageous claims on their previous military experience, before they get to a suit-wearing Robert Duvall, who can speak fluent Spanish and has a written plan setting out how he would go about the job.
- An Invoked and Justified Trope in the film Like Mike; a Heartwarming Orphan named Calvin gets some magic trainers that make him amazing at basketball, and he becomes a cash cow for Biddleman, the owner of his Orphanage of Fear. Naturally, this makes Biddleman very reluctant when Calvin asks him to keep looking for adoption possibilities, and he presents Calvin with a montage of candidates, most of whom are blatantly insane. Calvin is fully aware that Biddleman is deliberately screening out anyone who might be a possibility, but can't really do anything about it.
- The Master of Disguise had such a montage for applicants for the title character's assistant. However, said montage didn't show any of the supposedly horrible interviewees, instead consisting entirely of the mentor yelling "GET OUT!", "FREAK", or simply "OUT" over and over again. As a final slap in the viewer's face, the sole interviewee we do get to see is nearly dismissed because her ass is too small.
- Mrs. Doubtfire invokes this trope: it's a telephone interview, and Robin Williams' character secretly changed the phone number for the want ad, so he's the only applicant. He uses his voice-acting skills to make up all sorts of terrible prospects before taking on the Mrs. Doubtfire persona, in order to make Mrs. Doubtfire a shoo-in for hiring.
- The auditions for the musical in Mr. Holland's Opus are classic. "We've been at this all day, and the only ingenue we seem to have is Todd Markham!"
- Muppets Most Wanted has the "Interrogation Song", which involves the Muppets being interrogated by CIA agent Sam Eagle and Interpol Special Agent Jean-Pierre Napoleon for their involvement in an art museum theft. It begins unassumingly with Kermit (actually Criminal Doppelgänger Constantine impersonating him), continues to Agent Napoleon hitting on Miss Piggy, and wraps up with a rapid-fire montage of all the Muppets defending their innocence in increasingly outlandish ways. The agents conclude that the Muppets are "incapable of being culpable".
- Mystery Men has one of these with useless superheroes. Not that the protagonists themselves aren't lame to begin with, but these guys just suck even worse. The Waffler (Dane Cook), Ballerina Man, PMS Avenger... (that last one only works 4 days out of the month). The official comic book adaptation (of the film version of the original comic...) concludes the montage by having one more person walk up, snickering. "I'm The Mailman... here's your mail."
- National Lampoon's Van Wilder starts (after a random kid's suicide attempt) with Van interviewing students to be his personal assistant. All the candidates are rejected. Later, Van receives the last candidate in his dorm — a shy Foreign Exchange Student from India named Taj. He gets the job not because of any qualifications but because he wants Van to teach him... things.
- No Reservations, when Catherine Zeta-Jones's chef character is trying to replace Aaron Eckhart's sous-chef character.
- Phantom of the Paradise features a segment in which Swan reviews the possible replacements for his unwanted star, Phoenix. Each of the applicants is given a bar or two of the Phantom's latest song to sing, one starting off where the other left off (usually about five seconds in): the winner of this little contest is Beef, an Ambiguously Gay glam-rocker chosen specifically to piss the Phantom off.
- Played up as an audition scene in Pitch Perfect: Multiple "bad" singers audition among other, better ones who end up being main characters. The final audition is that of protagonist Beca, whose audition blows everyone away.
- The Princess Diaries 2 has a downplayed variation, in which Mia has to pick her future groom from a slideshow. Among the pictures shown were those of a then-single Prince William, who was just there to be eyecandy, and this guy:
Charlotte: Antoine Suisson of Paris. Plays the harp. No title, but good family.
Lilly: What about the title "husband?"
Mia: Yeah, he's cute.
Joe: His boyfriend thinks he's handsome, also.
Mia and Lilly: Right on!
- In The Producers, the collection of misfits who turn out to audition for the lead in the play Springtime for Hitler. The twist being that, even then, none of them are bad enough, and several are dismissed the moment they open their mouths to sing. It also gives us this memorable line when they finally get a good... er... appropriate candidate: "That's our Hitler!"
- Rags: An audition variant occurs; when looking for Rags, there's a montage of people who clearly aren't Rags showing up to sing horribly and get sent away by Kadee. It ends when Andrew shows up as the "real" Rags.
- The Replacements (2000) also has one for the team's cheerleaders. Which was a footage of actresses trying out for the roles of the cheerleaders, which the creators decided to incorporate into the film. Interestingly, the two the head cheerleader ends up hiring don't even get an audition. She probably figures that, being strippers, they have plenty of dance experience. She even asks them to bring some of their "coworkers". The result is... interesting.
- In the 2002 TV movie Shackleton, the title character is interviewing people for his expedition, including a youth who prepared by taking a bath full of ice, and an army officer whose commanding officer was quite enthusiastic when he proposed taking off for the South Pole. But not to worry, if war is declared "I'll make my own way back." The third interviewee also seems dubious as he was inspired by a dream to join the expedition, but as he's an experienced sea captain they can make better use of him.
- Schindler's List: Played with in a comic relief scene. A series of increasingly attractive girls with increasingly poor typing skills appear in Schindler's office, trying to get a job as his secretary. Schindler the incorrigible womanizer is in turn increasingly besotted. The sequence ends with Schindler slumped down in his chair, depressed, as an older, stern-looking woman types away at lightning speed.
- Inverted in Shallow Grave, where three roommates interview potential lodgers. The interviewees are regular people, while the roommates take the opportunity to grill them with sadistic and bizarre questions.
- Singles, where most of the responses to Debbie's video dating tape are borderline psychotic, and the only guy worth considering "likes the way the world looks from a bicycle".
- Single White Female, where Bridget Fonda's character was looking for a new roommate prior to Jennifer Jason Leigh showing up.
- Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love has a serious version. While trying to decide how to educate Raun, Barry and Suzie visit a series of horrifyingly abusive special needs schools where children are punished with slapping, shaking, Closet Punishment, and even Electric Torture. After seeing the last one, Barry and Suzie decide to try to teach Raun at home.
- Invoked and played for laughs in Step Brothers.
- Played with in Strange Wilderness, when the two main characters, Peter and Fred interview candidates for a prospective animal wrangler's job. Initially it seems a straightforward example, with them scornfully dismissing the clearly unqualified (and as it later turns out, alcoholic) first candidate. However, all the following, more qualified candidates are then shown ranting about what disgusting human beings Peter and Fred are, and how'd they never work for them no matter what the pay. The duo end up having to hire the first guy because he was the only one who actually wanted the job.
- The opening credits montage of This is Spın̈al Tap includes on-the-street comments from fans saying what they like about the band. This being a mockumentary, the comments are carefully chosen to illustrate that Spinal Tap's fans are idiots.
Female Fan: It's like you become one with the guys in the band, I mean... there's... there's no division, I mean... you just... the music just unites... people... [beat]... with the players.
- The Way of the Gun features a montage of the two main characters getting interviewed at a sperm bank. Being opinionated criminal thugs, they each give very suspicious or bizarre answers to simple questions.
- Subverted in Up in the Air; the montages in the film are all people getting fired, not interviewing for a new job.
- A variant is used in Zodiac, where the cops interview a number of half-baked witnesses who think they know something about the killer. They finish off with someone who provides them with genuinely useful information that gives them their best lead.
- Wraith Squadron, the fifth book in the X-Wing Series, has Wedge Antilles go through a series of misfits and psych cases while recruiting for Wraith Squadron. He was deliberately sifting through those pilots already on-duty who were on the verge of washing out, hoping that he would find pilots with unique skills that he could put to use if they could overcome their histories. Several were picked, but even Wedge passed on the accused thief who stole a framed holo from his desk during the meeting, the one who was clearly paranoid, and the actually-competent Talz pilot whose gentle nature meant he was always on the verge of a nervous breakdown during the stress of combat. The auditions also provided room for the (first) Lieutenant Kettch joke; Wedge's second-in-command, Wes, says that the next pilot is an Ewok specially modified in a lab with arm-and-leg prosthetics with which to reach the controls. After that, Wedge refuses to believe Wes when the latter claims that the next prospect is a Gamorrean... but he is, one who has been modified to be calmer and more intelligent.
- In one of the Stephanie Plum books, Stephanie, Connie, and Lula get stuck trying to find a new staff member (Vinnie's out of town). Turns out the only hirable candidate isn't what she claims to be....
- The first episode, and again in a later season episode where Daphne moves out and they need to find a new housemate.
- Also after Frasier hires a matchmaker. He ends up falling for... the matchmaker.
- Frasier has a Terrible Producers Montage when Roz leaves to produce Bulldog's show, including an old woman smoking like a chimney, a Crazy Cat Lady, A Dumb Blonde, a Nervous Wreck reduced to Inelegant Blubbering by the stress of the job, and an old man who falls asleep on the job.
- On the Firefly episode "Bushwhacked", the crew is placed under arrest and subjected to interrogation. The resulting montage alternates between the serious (Mal, Shep, Zoe, Inara) and the hilarious (Jayne, Kaylee, Wash).
- Inverted when George is interviewing students for a scholarship in Seinfeld; he picks a bad student after several — as he puts it — "annoying little overachievers".
- Jessica Jones (2015) does interviews with alleged victims of Kilgrave's mind control. Some of them are legit, but mostly they're just obvious bullshitters wasting her time. This leads to some Mood Whiplash between comically obvious frauds, and the genuine cases which are treated with the appropriate amount of seriousness.
- In season one, when Cameron quits for the first time. It's not that the interviewees are so very awful, though, it's just that House is determined to find fault with everyone he interviews (since he doesn't really want to hire anyone new, but would rather have Cameron back). And of course, he wouldn't be House if he couldn't find something to hate in everyone he met...
- Another episode has a variation on this, where House bets that Chase will do well in speed dating simply because he's pretty. What follows is a montage of Chase himself being the terrible interviewee as women continue to fawn over him.
- Not to mention House's and Wilson's terrible dates.
House's date: And I'm on fire for the Lord!
- Kenan & Kel:
- When searching for a new employee for Rigby's. Some of the attendants were: a man with such an extreme problem with authority and people telling him what to do, that even a mere suggestion made him storm out of the store in rage, a man who hadn't bathed in 7 years, and a naked one.
- In another episode, Kenan and Kel are looking for actors to pose as Kenan's parents during a parent/teacher conference (It Makes Sense in Context). Two of the couples couldn't speak English (and the latter couple is Japanese while Kenan is clearly black), and the third couple (the one that they eventually decide upon) is made up of an obnoxious actor and a woman who is almost as dumb as Kel is.
- Stargate SG-1, in the first episode of the season 9 Retool. Due to the old members of SG-1 moving on to other duties and unwilling to come back, Mitchell has to recruit an entirely new replacement team. His options are an overly-enthusiastic language specialist who translates everything Mitchell says into Ancient, an overly-formal officer who can only give his first name when Mitchell asks for personal information, and even two random scientists that only came to him in order to get an endorsement for some kind of android they are planning. One of the interviewees didn't even speak to him, instead only performing pushups.
- In the Parks and Recreation episode "The Fight", Leslie and Ben experience one of these when searching for a replacement Health Department PR Director.
- Bizarrely done in Power Rangers Turbo where Divatox holds a large "cattle call" of monsters in one episode trying out to work for her, all of whom are rather pathetic. Even her dimwitted henchman Elgar comments how he hates these gatherings. Eventually, Torch Tiger gets the job, not that he avoids messing up.
- New Tricks:
- The first episode has one of these, when Sandra and Jack are interviewing for UCOS candidates. As well as Brian and Gerry (who appear towards the end), who are hired, some of the candidates include an overly-aggressive ex-police woman, a drunk, a very elderly ex-cop who suffers a heart attack as soon as he's offered the job, and a guy who walks in, sees Jack, mutters "Ah, shit..." to himself and walks right back out again. When the first thing the very first candidate to walk in does is cheerfully ask "This new unit — no blacks, obviously?", it's clear from Sandra and Jack's faces that they're expecting one of these.
- Sandra also suffers through one of these while speed-dating.
- Dead Like Me features one in the second season. George drags her heels in hiring someone, allowing the featured interviewees to make further appeals.
- In the Wishbone rendition of a couple of bits of the story of David, after King Saul takes the suggestion to have a musician around to soothe his soul, the king and audience are "treated" to three musicians, one of whom plays two pipes at once; it actually sounds good for about one second before you and Saul realize that it's going to get incredibly, annoyingly repetitive extremely quickly. The last one delivers a blatt, almost prompting the king to give up... before a servant comes up and lets on that he knows of a shepherd boy who's good with a harp...
- In the first episode of Pie in the Sky, detective-turned-restaurateur Henry Crabbe asks potential chefs how they would prepare a steak and kidney pie. Typically interviewees are shown to view something that simple as a task to produce it as quickly and cheaply as possible, while Henry wants quality, or claim that it's beneath the dignity of a chef to make such a common dish at all. The last interviewee impresses Henry with a technique which will take a day to produce, answers his questions quickly and decisively, then Henry sits back and says "I know you don't I? Breaking and entering..." — it turns out the boy learnt to cook in prison. He got the job.
- That '70s Show:
- In an episode, the guys are applying for a job at Fatso Burger, and give the worst possible answers, except for Eric. An example:
Interviewer: Tell me, what do you consider your best quality?
Eric: Well, I'm a real people person.
Hyde: I don't answer stupid questions.
Fez: I speak Dutch.
Kelso: My eyes. Oh, and I guess my butt too.
- In another episode, the guys are in Canada, and are questioned in the same way by the Mounties.
- Another episode uses this montage when the gang is trying to find Hyde a girl.
- In an episode, the guys are applying for a job at Fatso Burger, and give the worst possible answers, except for Eric. An example:
- The game "Hats" on Whose Line Is It Anyway? uses this trope as inspiration; the most usual theme is "world's worst dating service videos".
- Happens in the first episode of the second series of Men Behaving Badly when Gary is trying to find a new flatmate: the initial candidates interviewed consist of a layabout, an incomprehensible Geordie, a catatonic man, a seemingly normal man who turns out to have a disturbing fetish, three social inadequates, three psychopaths, a man with a big dog, and Gary's mother.
- Happens in The L Word, when, in a flashback, Alice's college band is looking for a new bassist. A few hilariously bad players later, and a hot girl with bass skills gets the job, and subsequently helps Alice realize her attraction to girls.
- In Green Wing, Caroline doesn't want to take The Ace, Angela, as a flatmate, but is eventually forced to do so when the other applicants include an unashamed web cam obsessed Casanova Wannabe and a Cloud Cuckoo Lander who didn't seem to quite get over the trauma of being an only child.
- NCIS has a montage of bad witnesses after a bank robbery.
- In 30 Rock, they hold open auditions for a new cast member of TGS, with horrible acts including several of the show's writers, a street performer dressed as a robot, and NBC anchor Brian Williams doing stand up comedy. In a twist, Jack doesn't choose the perfect candidate Liz wants, and instead picks the random guy dressed as a robot. Who actually becomes the new cast member, despite having no acting experience whatsoever and not even knowing what he was auditioning for.
- In the episode "Honey Trap" of the British sitcom The Thin Blue Line, Inspector Fowler attempts to find someone who can replace Constable Habib in the upcoming trivia contest. He resorts to the perps in the detention room. Fat chance.
- Power Rangers RPM has the Green Ranger audition, with candidates chosen by the resident Plucky Comic Relief, Ziggy. Interviewees include a ventriloquist and dummy (two for the price of one), a hula hoop girl who can't hula hoop (hypnotizing), and a mime (he's in a box). Then, when the Rangers insult his interviewees, he promises he'll find the perfect candidate, walks outside, and... discovers the perfect candidate. Only not so perfect, because she's a spy sent by the Big Bad. After discovering this, Ziggy himself ends up becoming the Green Ranger purely by accident.
- One scene from Misfits, where Sally the probation worker is given the task of interviewing the young offenders, all of whom take it upon themselves to be as rude, annoying, sarcastic and/or angry as possible — apart from Simon, who despite being a deeply troubled and socially inept young man with a conviction for arson, is by far the most polite.
- There was an unusual variant in one CSI episode where the protagonists were investigating the murder of a patient in a high-security mental hospital. The terrible interviewees in that case were the victim's Ax-Crazy fellow patients, and needless to say little information of value was forthcoming. The programme thoughtfully flashed up extracts from the patients' medical records between each clip just so the viewers would know what symptoms to expect.
- The seventh season finale of The Office, "Search Committee", has the titular committee interview people for the position of regional manager. Notably, one of the interviewees was none other than David Brent, from the original British version of the show.
- In the Sex and the City episode "Three's a Crowd", a montage of bad potential candidates for Three-Way Sex is shown, including a geek couple seeking a woman who can impersonate Agent Scully.
- In Charmed's episode, "Rewitched", Paige went to a speed dating event at P3 and went though a montage of awful dates until she meets the last one, "Whit".
- Used in the Boy Meets World episode "Band on the Run" when Cory and Shawn hold auditions to find new members for their fake band. However the trope was played with because one of the auditionees was actually talented but was rejected because he would make them look bad.
- American Idol has several of these in the first couple of episodes of every season, usually capping off each montage with someone good.
- A promo for Rizzoli & Isles shows the two leading ladies' reactions to a series of bad speed dates, alternating between the cop ("No, I did not bring my handcuffs.") and the medical examiner ("I can't write you a prescription."). By the end of the clip, the BFFs give up on dating and go out drinking with each other.
- In the second episode of Covert Affairs, Annie, being the new girl is assigned to "walk-in" duty, as in attending everyone who "walks in" to report suspicious activity. Naturally, this tends to attract a lot of crazy people...
Crazy Guy: I know who killed Kennedy.
Annie: It's been well-documented that Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald.
Crazy Guy: Ted Kennedy.
- An episode of Angel does this with Cordelia looking for apartments.
- WKRP in Cincinnati does this when they try hiring a host for an advice column show. The job ultimately went to Jennifer.
- Inverted with NBC's Chuck. Chuck meets a series of job interviewers, all of whom are hilariously unsuitable. It turns out that the CIA is sabotaging his interviewers so that Chuck will return to work with them.
- A Running Gag on sketch show Smack the Pony is a series of terrible lonely hearts videos.
- Used on Never Mind the Buzzcocks when Sean Hughes left the show and they needed a new team captain.
- In the premiere episode of Melrose Place, Allison's roommate had skipped town the night before, and needs to find a new one ASAP. Several prospective roommates who are not exactly what she had in mind.
Prospective roommate (A "punker" girl smoking a cigarette): "I'm here about the apartment."
Allison: "You know, my only request was for a non-smoking roommate."
Prospective roommate: "Well, I'm down to a pack a day."
- The second season of The Wire features an investigation into the murder of a dozen women being smuggled into the country on an international container ship. When detectives "Bunk" Moreland and Lester Freamon attempt to interview/interrogate the crew, every single member of the crew claims to not speak English and just goes on and on in their various native languages. After who knows how many hours of this, Detective Freamon, who gets called things like "smooth old Lester" by awestruck young detectives, finally loses his cool and begins screaming "English, motherfucker!" at a random member of the crew. Scene.
- In the 1985 "Weird Al" Yankovic Mockumentary The Compleat Al, the auditions for Al's backing band (organized by his sleazy manager) play out this way. One guy never quite figures out the opening riff to "Day Tripper", another gets only one power chord in before he's waved off with "Thank you!", and an overweight punk strums a banjo and performs the original ditty "I Don't Wanna Do My Laundry". The narration reveals that Al managed to put together a backing band despite his manager's best efforts.
- In an episode of The Unusuals, Banks and Delahoy have to interview a series of witnesses to a bus robbery, none of whom speak English, all of whom are eccentric.
- In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Red Herring," we see Monk doing one of these as he looks for a new assistant to replace Sharona. We first have a nurse that can't find anything physically wrong with Monk's health, and the second one is someone who leaves after Monk mentions that her hours "9:00 AM until one of us dies". The third one is one Monk disqualifies for smoking. When his eventual candidate Natalie Teeger shows up seeking to hire Monk for a case (just as Monk is shooing out the smoker), he initially mistakes her for another applicant.
- Gotham: Happens in "Rogues Gallery" when Jim is interviewing the Arkham inmates about a missing set of keys and the attack on the Frogman.
- Happens early in the British Reality Show-parodying TV special Britain's Got The Pop Factor And Possibly A New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly On Ice - of course parodying this trope's usage in TV talent competition shows, namely the previously-mentioned American Idol. View it here.
- Inverted on The Big Bang Theory when Sheldon is interviewing for new roommates. The interviewees seem just fine, but Sheldon is too picky and rejects them for silly reasons.
- The Commish. When Cyd Madison leaves, Tony Scali has to find a new Number Two. One interviewee is only interested in the pension plan, the other has excellent references but job interviews make him so nervous he faints. Then Cyd's predecessor Paulie Pentangeli shows up, having been cleared of the shooting that caused Tony to fire him in the first place. Tony is reluctant, but ends up taking him on.
- On Corner Gas, Brent, Wanda, and Hank reform their old high school Garage Band and hold auditions for a drummer. Subverted in that most of the auditions aren't terrible. The problem is that none of them are drummers, because Hank forgot to put that part on the sign.
- In the House exaggerates this trope twice with regards to pompous doctor Maxwell.
- The first time, he is interviewing potential secretaries and rejecting them for the most shallow of reasons: one because they went to Yale (Maxwell went to Harvard — a Running Gag throughout the series), another because they did not like Whitney Houston, and another because she is nice to service people. Fellow colleague Tonia decides to trick Max by finding a potential candidate willing to act just like Max in order to curry his favor. It almost works, but Max becomes wise to the ruse when the candidate goofs on a small detail concerning the proper way to serve an expensive wine (yes, Max is THAT much of a snob).
- The second time is during the fourth season when Maxwell is looking for a date and has decided to spend the day at an exclusive martini club. Again, he rejects the women he meets for extremely inane reasons: one for being a Democrat (Max is a Republican), one for driving a Kia, and one who is implied to be a vegan. He has all but given up when a woman named Mercedes storms in delivering one of the most entitled rich bitch rants about a valet ever to be caught on tape, all the while revealing details about herself that satisfy Maxwell's personal requirements (she's a Republican, drives a Mercedes, and has expensive taste in fashion), the clincher being when she correctly identifies the color of Maxwell's tie as cerulean.
- In Hart of Dixie, Wade and Lemon interview potential cooks and servers after buying a restaurant together. One or both of them veto every candidate. In an interesting variation, at the end of the episode they are blackmailed into hiring one of the early interviewees, and she turns out to be a pretty good chef.
- In Longitude, Edmund Halley (the namesake of the comet) is besieged with crackpots who think they all have the way to solve The Longitude Problem, using methods that range from merely impractical to nauseating. After one idea involving dogs, sympathetic magic, and a knife, Halley calls it off for the day... just before he would have interviewed the clockmaker John Harrison. Fortunately, he runs into young William Harrison in the garden, who manages to impress Halley by describing the "bloody perfect" method he and his father have for determining time using a neighbor's chimney.
- Father Brown: The audition montage in "The Tree of Truth", which ranges from the unsuitable, to the terrible, to the misguided (one man is auditioning for the role of Prince Charming, which is played by a woman).
- 7 Yüz: In "Biyolojik Saat", we are treated to one after Metin, against Nil's advice, schedules multiple dates in a single night, playing the odds that just one of them will be his soulmate. Unfortunately for him, the women his sits down with far more interested in ranting about their jobs, reading his horoscope, ordering pricy food, or having a one-night stand than establishing an actual relationship.
- Arrow. Played with when Lyla and Diggle are interviewing Boxed Crooks for a new Suicide Squad in "Past Sins". Given that the applicants are criminals with mental issues who aren't particularly enthusiastic about being implanted with explosive devices to ensure their loyalty, they're all terrible by default.
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Double Subverted in "Sal's Pizza" when Sgt. Jeffords and Gina start looking for a new I.T. Manager for the station. At first the interviewees all seem perfectly qualified and it's the interviewer Gina who's the terrible one, doing seemingly random, unprofessional things that anger, frighten or nauseate the candidates during the interviews. In their report to Capt. Holt, however, Gina reveals that her antics were all a Secret Test of Character for the interviewees that revealed that, despite apparently being good for the job on the surface, none of them would have been able to cope with the various stresses and issues of working in a police precinct.
- A segment of WWE WrestleMania 27 featured Snoop Dogg and Theodore Long holding auditions for wrestlers with musical talent to join Snoop on tour. Featured acts include posh brit William Regal rapping, Beth Phoenix and Great Khali doing a song from Grease, and Zack Ryder singing Rebecca Black's "Friday".
- In Merrily We Roll Along, there's a few of the auditions for Frank and Charlie's first show, one of which is for a woman who doesn't so much sing as screech and clearly has no idea how bad she is.
"I can go higher!"
"That's okay, we'll call you."
- An audio sketch in one of the You Don't Know Jack games depicts Black Sabbath, in 1971, trying to find someone to recite the opening line of "Iron Man", only for all of the auditionees to fail miserably. Just as Ozzy Osbourne is ready to give up, a delivery boy with a naturally-distorted voice is heard to say, "I'm from the drycleaners. I've got your ironing... man."
- The LEGO Rock Band tour mode starts with this.
- Donkey Kong 64 contained a secret ending, only viewable after collecting every item in the game (or, seven years later, checking YouTube) where the characters auditioned (miserably) for a vague new title represented by a dolphin picture. This implied the game was a Donkey Kong 64 sequel for the Game Cube, which due to the sale of Rare to Microsoft two years later, did not happen.
- Fallout 4 has an inversion, where the interviewees aren't bad enough. Vault 114 was, like so many other vaults, a social experiment by Vault-Tec. The original plan was to see how the upper-class of society would fare with being forced into a bare-bones life under someone unsuited to leadership. Some interview tapes found in the Overseer's office reveal that, after a long string of overeager and overqualified candidates, they settled on a surly hobo known as "Soup Can Harry", who ate Abraxo cleaner and believed the government likes to waste taxpayer dollars on "Illuminati Freemason sex parties".
- Homestar Runner does this twice in a Strong Bad Email about who gets to check emails after Strong Bad retires. First by putting them through a series of challenges (saying "DELETED!", coming up with insulting nicknames for various possible senders' names, dealing with Strong Sad) and then, when that fails to produce a decent candidate, by resorting to a dance contest. There's also a variant in another episode when Strong Bad is looking for someone to demonstrate his barber skills on, and everybody who actually has hair refuses for various reasons — two completely different and mutually exclusive reasons, in Marzipan's case.
- Bowser's Kingdom episode 6 had Jeff looking for a new partner after Hal had quit the Koopa Troop. They included a Rex, a Shy Guy, a Wiggler, and a Metroid. After the montage, Donkey Kong became his partner.
- D&D 4th Edition: The Mindflayer's Interview. "So, why would you make a good Thrall?"
- In Red vs. Blue Prequel episode "Fifty Shades of Red", Captain Butch Flowers goes through one of these while looking for a soldier to join the Blue Team's Blood Gulch outpost. In an twist, he's actually looking for the worst soldier in an army consisting of nothing but the worst soldiers. Tucker gets the job.
- No actual montage is shown, but in Puffin Forest's video about his nightmare job interview, when he gets the job at the end of the video despite how badly the interview went, he wonders if all of the other people interviewed were even worse than him somehow.
Ben: I was actually kind of upset like I am very clearly an incompetent person and you people obviously aren't doing your job. What? What did the other people do during the interview? Did someone roll around on the table and take a dump on themselves? Were they like, "Oh thank god this guy still has his pants on during the interview. We need to stag him up right away."?
- Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire: Dominic performs a Second Sight-assisted Terrible Interviewees Montage to help his mother Miranda choose a new Headmaster for her school, leading to several funny Noodle Incidents. Miranda herself follows up a bit later with a traditional one — even though Dominic warned her that every applicant, except for two, would add up to this.
- In Keychain of Creation, they almost start with one of these, where Misho and Marena are looking to round out their posse.
- Seen in an early Patchwork Champions strip, when Lucky and Timebender were looking to fill out their ranks.
- A Game of Fools has Sylvester and Joey's equally terrible attempts at finding jobs during the Slopbucket arc.
- In Las Lindas, Mora and Taffy go through one of these when on a series of blind dates.
- Flaky Pastry starts out this way, with Marelle and Nitrine looking for another roommate to help them pay the rent. All but one of the rejected housemates become recurring side-characters later on, too.
- Implied to have happened before Sabrina got her first job in Sabrina Online.
- Brawl in the Family gives us a couple of strips regarding brawlers who would make bad bunkmates, with Dedede as the "interviewer" (though it bears mentioning that the guy's usually rather easily impressed when it comes to interviewing people).
- Reverse example in this Loserz strip, where Ben and Eric ask out various girls — with their usual success rate.
- Subnormality gives us the Dating (russian) roulette: Six speed dates in a row, you have to settle on ONE mandatory date without seeing the others after you make your choice or being allowed to pick someone you already rejected. Hope you don't land on the bullet!
- The Order of the Stick:
- In the prequel On the Origin of PCs, there's one when Roy tries hiring for the Order, but there's a subversion: he's basically looking for anybody, and almost everybody refuses.
- Discussed by Tarquin, who suggests that in the event of Roy and Durkon dying, Elan can simply have one of these before hiring Rob and Murkon.
- The Oatmeal: "The 10 Types of Crappy Interviewees"
- Electric Wonderland has one when the staff of the Nettropolis Free Press searches in vain for someone to make comics for their paper.
- The GaMERCaT has one of these when the characters go looking for a fourth player.
- Housepets!: King and Bailey go through one when looking for a sitter for their puppies. Or rather, King goes through one (and King being a massive worrywart does not help his search) while Bailey's brother Fox jumps straight to calling Peanut and Grape.
- Subverted in Fans! - what looks at first like a Terrible Interviewees Montage actually turns out to have included both terrible interviewees and the actual candidates who end up selected, most of whom perform the job well.
- Daughter of the Lilies: Despite big promises, all fail to prove themselves
- The KateModern episode "Skittle Yourself" featured Charlie going through one of these. Might be a subversion, since she ended up hiring Lee, who wasn't exactly perfect, but was better than the other idiots who showed up.
- The Guild, in season three, sees Codex seeking someone to replace Tinkerballa. None of the applicants measure up to the exacting standard of not being completely creepy or frightening. With the threat of Riley possibly joining the guild, Codex hastily recruits Clara's husband, a stupendously poor choice from the group's perspective.
- The YouTube film Interviews with My Next Girlfriend is a very tongue-in-cheek montage of speed-dating type "interviews" with nine women who cover just about the entire spectrum of lesbian stereotypes.
- Played with by Echo Chamber: The Administrator wants Tom to have a female cast member for the show. Tom wants Dana to do it, but because she refuses, Tom holds a casting call. Hilarity Ensues when the people who show up are a porn actress, Tom's Psycho Ex-Girlfriend Shannon, a girl looking for the counseling session that he kicked out, Zach Manchild uncle, and a creepy guy who might be a Serial Killer. Dana just winds up joining the cast anyway. That's how terrible the interviewees were.
- Mario and Luigi suffer this while trying to start a band in season 1 of Stupid Mario Brothers.
- The French web series Flander's Company is almost entirely composed of Terrible Interviewees Episodes in its first season (and a few returns to the format in the later ones). The basic premise is that the main character is the human resources manager of a company employing supervillains. The candidates are supposed to have at least a superpower and some potential, but for the most part are utterly inept, and their "powers" are utter jokes (one guy shows up with... the power to resist a music star's singing voice). This often lead Kurtzmann, said main character, to lash at them verbally or physically — after all, he's a former supervillain himself, and NOT an inept one.
- The action in Dirigible Days starts with captain Dunbar interviewing prospective mechanics: a town drunk, a busty wench he's hitting on... He ends up hiring Hooper.
- Episode 4 of The Pittsburgh SOAPranos has Sami interviewing a series of unsuitable candidates from the drunk whose mother showed up to coach him through the interview to the precocious high-schooler who starts angling to take over the store to a Mafia henchman to an interviewee just out of prison... and her last job was where she was arrested. Of course, the perfect candidate shows up right after Sami has given up.
- Ben 10: Ultimate Alien has one of these in an episode where Evil Counterpart Albedo decides to put on a Stylistic Suck play in order to cash in on Bens fame to get money for his latest scheme. When he auditions actors for the aliens, most of them have absolutely zero talent.
- CatDog episode "CatDogPig" had one of these when CatDog try to find a third person to settle their disputes; the applicants included a hulking, thuggish bull and a shifty looking chicken with pockets stuffed full of junk who tried to assure Cat "I am most definitely not a kleptomaniac". Rejects were flushed down a toilet.
- The Simpsons:
- Mr. Burns does it a couple of times, like trying to find an actor to play himself in a movie in "A Star is Burns". The applicants shown are William Shatner, Anthony Hopkins (in character as Hannibal Lecter), Bumblebee Man (who Señor Spielbergo likes) and Homer Simpson.
Anthony Hopkins: [strapped to a gurney in a straight jacket] Excellent. [trademark hiss]
William Shatner: Exc-ELL-ent!
Homer: Exactly, hehehe... DO'H!!
Bumblebee Man: Excellente!
- Also the montage of Be Sharps auditions to replace Chief Wiggum in "Homer's Barbershop Quartet". The applicants consists of Abraham Simpson, Groundskeeper Willie, Jasper, and Wiggum disguised as Doctor Dolittle.
- The applicants for the role of Stanley in the episode "A Streetcar Named Marge". Most notable is Otto.
Director: OH YE GODS!! [sees that Otto's chest is covered with a hideous tattoo]
Otto: You like that, you should see my ass!
Director: [points to Ned Flanders] You, you're playing Stanley.
- Mr. Burns does it a couple of times, like trying to find an actor to play himself in a movie in "A Star is Burns". The applicants shown are William Shatner, Anthony Hopkins (in character as Hannibal Lecter), Bumblebee Man (who Señor Spielbergo likes) and Homer Simpson.
- Dexter's Laboratory does one in "DeeDee and the Man", when Dexter "fires" DeeDee and is looking for a replacement "spastic sister" (at one point interviewing a manic nun: "They asked for a spastic sister, and who did you get? Nun other than me! Get it? 'Nun' other?").
- One Looney Tunes cartoon, which has Porky Pig handling a talent agency, revolves around this.
- Batman: The Animated Series has a scene in "Joker's Millions" with the Joker trying out new Harley Quinns after abandoning the original in prison (she gets her revenge at the end of the episode). A string of less-than-stellar ladies (and a cameo of Paul Dini in a Harley suit). He ends up hiring a busty but not-too-bright actress, but she's not perfect.
Fake Harley: Oh, thank you, Mister G! I promise I'll be the best Harley ever! [annoying laugh]
Joker: Uh, maybe I should've hired the fat guy...
- King of the Hill:
- One of these in the episode "Junkie Business", when Hank has to hire an accessories associate for the propane dealership. A highlight includes a man who has been on welfare for every Democratic presidency except Clinton and Truman. When an absolutely ideal candidate, who happens to be a rather attractive woman, does apply, uptight Hank passes her over and unwittingly hires the titular junkie instead.
- Double subverted in "Bill Gathers Moss", where Bill looks for a roommate with the guys' help. After two terrible applicants, the third is a former Playmate of the Month who is cheerful, pleasant, and seems to take a shine to Bill — but Hank still rejects her over Bill's objections. Later on it turns out she's part of a counterfeit merchandise ring, meaning Hank was right without realizing it.
- The Venture Bros.:
- Played straight when the Guild of Calamitous Intent approves the application of Dr. Orpheus (and team) for an Arch-Enemy.
- Also seen in season 4 when the Revenge Society tries to recruit new members, most of whom have powers ranging from stupid to utterly useless, or no powers at all beyond a lame gimmick. And Scare Bear.
- Pinky and the Brain, when screenwriters pitch world domination plans.
- Futurama has a variation where Fry and Bender go apartment-hunting in "I, Roommate"; it also manages to play with the trope by having the last apartment they view be practically perfect, but they reject it anyway because it's technically in New Jersey.
- In the pilot episode of 6teen, all the friends are trying to get jobs. You see all the mistakes they make and it serves as an Establishing Character Moment for each of them.
- Rocko's Modern Life has the episode "Power Trip", when Rocko was interviewing assistants for the comic book shop. Given the surreal nature of the show, this quickly degenerates beyond the usual weirdos and has an alien snapping its claws, a worm crawling across the table, a giant pair of dentures, and a hovering face made of eggs and bacon.
- In the episode "Love Spanked," Rocko goes on dates with a rabbit that has an Overprotective Dad, a giraffe he couldn't keep up with, an actual sheep in a universe otherwise comprised of Funny Animals, an elephant who was too heavy for an Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date, a hippo(?) he couldn't keep up with at the gym, a poodle(?) he accidentally injured during dinner, and a bagpipist, before attempting to swear off dating and wait for Melba.
- Phineas and Ferb turns one of these montages into a song with the Mix-and-Mingle Machine in "Cheer Up, Candace".
- Jackie Chan Adventures:
- When Drago needed new henchmen (having fired the The Dark Hand gang). Naturally, Strikemaster Ice and co. end up being the last interviewees and wipe the floor with all of the previous ones.
- When Finn quits The Dark Hand and seeks henchmen for his own gang. Highlights include a guy who tries to imitate Jaws from James Bond and loses his dentures, a guy who twirls nunchucks and smacks himself in the face, and a Master Swordsman who's very impressive but shrieks and runs away when he sees a mouse. Finn ends up hiring Chow and Ratso.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, when Heloise falls victim to George Jetson Job Security, Lucius goes through one of these. Candidates we see are Dr. Scientist insisting flowers are the greatest way to cause misery, a giant fly making incessant demands (who Lucius rejects via giant bug zapper), Heloise's assistant Dorkus giving more of his nonsensical invention ideas, and a cow...that is on fire.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In the episode "Hearts and Hooves Day", when the Cutie Mark Crusaders are looking for a suitable stallion for Cheerilee, as the episode's musical number:
Sweetie Belle: This one's too young
This one's too old
He clearly has a terrible cold
Sick Stallion: Achoo!
Apple Bloom: This guy's too silly
He's way too uptight
Uptight pony: I say!
Sweetie Belle: Well nothing's wrong with this one
He seems alright
Scootaloo: His girlfriend sure thinks so.
- In "Buckball Season", there's a montage of unicorns trying out for Ponyville's buckball team. Highlights include a mare who gets distracted trying to put on make-up in the middle of her try-out, another mare who gets dizzy from spinning her bucket too fast, and a stallion who trips and gets the bucket stuck on his rump after getting pegged in the foreleg.
- In the episode "Hearts and Hooves Day", when the Cutie Mark Crusaders are looking for a suitable stallion for Cheerilee, as the episode's musical number:
- Regular Show has the episode "Temp Check" where Rigby hires a temp. Before he finds Doug he finds two guys that have fireworks go off in their pants and finally a biker who plays a harmonica with his butt (or a kazoo through his nose, if you're watching the show in the UK).
- A brief one happens in the Sym-Bionic Titan episode "Showdown at Sherman High" when Kimmy and the other cheerleaders are looking for a new member, before we see Ilana's audition.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends:
- One in "World Wide Wabbit" where Mac and Bloo are videotaping imaginary friends talking about why they should be adopted. Most of the interviews feature Bloo goofing off in the background, mocking the friend.
- It's used twice in "Blue's Brothers". First, when Bloo impresses all of Mac's classmates at school, they go imagining their own versions of Bloo, but each with a different characteristic. Each kid ends up bringing their Bloo to Foster's, explaining various reasons for why they can't or don't want to keep them until the house is filled with hundreds of Bloo clones. Later, Mac has to pick out the real Bloo when all of them try to pass off as the original so they can go to the Ice Charades with Mac, forcing Mac to investigate each one by one until he finds the real Bloo. One of them even turns out to be Eduardo in disguise, who, being a closet Ice Charades fan, was hoping to get picked.
- The TV movie Destination Imagination has Mr. Herriman interviewing several replacements for Frankie when she disappears. The interviewees include a Distaff Counterpart of her called Frank and a Mary Poppins expy, all of whom are driven away by Herriman's Control Freak attitude.
- The second episode of Code Lyoko, "Seeing Is Believing", when they are all trying to find a drummer for their band.
- The Teen Titans Go! episode "You're Fired!" has such a montage after Beast Boy gets thrown out of the team. Cameos includes Vixen (whose power Cyborg finds lame, but it's her table manners that owe her a Vaudeville Hook), B'wana Beast (whose mere name has Cyborg in stitches, and whose power disgusts everyone), Detective Chimp (next!) and Beast Boy in drag trying to sneak back in. The Titans finally settle on Jayna of the Wonder Twins, but aren't impressed by Zan's power of turning into water. But since the Wonder Twin Powers don't allow them to be separated, they still keep Zan... as a receptionist.
- Happens in the Family Guy episode "8 Simple Rules for Buying My Teenage Daughter" when the Griffins are hiring a babysitter for Stewie. The interviewees include Peter's Portuguese former coworkers Santos and Pasqual, as well as Tundro and Gloop from The Herculoids.
- One episode of American Dragon: Jake Long has one for a part in a Shakespeare's play. It's so bad that one of the interviewees was convinced it was the hockey team try-outs. In the end, the interviewees that weren't Jake were so bad that Spud got a part as replacement actor...
- Sonic Boom does this in its first episode after Sonic fires Tails from being a sidekick. Said terrible interviewees include Amy, who tries juggling and singing, and Knuckles, who tries interviewing Sonic instead of the other way around. That's still not rock bottom, as the final applicant is Doctor Eggman.
- In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Thirteensomething", after Babs aces her audition for the titular Show Within a Show, Buster is left to hold auditions for a replacement cohost for Tiny Toon Adventures. The first candidate is a rabbit who's a Brainless Beauty, the second is a rabbit who is ugly and has Bad "Bad Acting", and the third is a non-anthropomorphic white rabbit. When none of these work out, even Plucky Duck and Shirley the Loon offer their services as Buster's replacement co-host, but to no avail.
- Happens several times in Brickleberry, once when Woody is looking for a replacement ranger when Steve thinks (wrongly) that he has a terminal disease, and once showing Ethel's questionable dating choices. Interestingly, there is actually some overlap between the two, as both interview segments have a mentally challenged man in it.
- Happens offscreen in an episode of American Dad! where Stan takes a job as the caretaker of an orphanage while sleepwalking. When he asks why they gave the job to a man who was clearly asleep, the nun running the orphanage explains that he was the only applicant who wasn't masturbating during the interview.
- Used in an episode of Duckman when Duckman and Bernice are looking for a live-in nanny for the kids. Among the people who show up is a Monster Clown holding a bloody knife, Michael Jackson, and a devil worshipper who slaughters a chicken. Duckman didn't mind hiring him, and accused Bernice of religious intolerance when she rejected him.
- In the Johnny Bravo episode "Johnny Bravo Meets Donny Osmond", Mama Bravo interviews several women for the job as Johnny's babysitter. One has a very obvious mental twitch, the other openly admits that her child rearing technique mostly consists of corporal punishment.
- In the second season opener of Drawn Together the cast go through one while looking for a replacement for Wooldoor after he hangs himself (he comes back midway through the episode). One notable applicant is Scorpion from Mortal Kombat rendered in full 3D against the Flash-animated environment and characters.
- The Hey Arnold! "Stinky Goes Hollywood" episode has the kids in town attend an open casting call to audition to be the Yahoo Soda spokesperson.
Campfire Lass: [Scottish accent] Yahoo soda. Just dr-r-r-r-rink it.
Rhonda: [seductively] Yahoo soda. Just... drink it.
Helga: [bossily] Yahoo soda. Just drink it.
Arnold: [plainly] Yahoo soda. Just drink it.
Harold: Uh... Yahoo soda. [microphone feedback shrieks] What is it again?
Director: Number 248.
[Oskar Kokoshka is dressed in blue overall shorts, a red bow tie, and a blue and white beanie hat; he's also holding a big magenta colored lollipop in his right hand]
Oskar: Drink Yahoo soda, it's really great. I'm telling you it's the best soda, okay?
Director: How old are you?
Oskar: I'm 7 years old. I'm a little kid, see?
Director: Next! [Oskar groans]
- Book 3 of The Legend of Korra has a rare inversion of this trope. Korra and her friends travel through the Earth Kingdom in order to recruit the new airbenders, with Tenzin trying to convince them to join him in rebuilding the Air Nation, but he completely sucks at selling it. For example, he tells the mother of a young airbender that his son will get tattoos all over his body like Tenzin, tells a fat man eating a turkey leg about the airbenders' vegetarian diet, a woman wearing very elegant and expensive-looking clothes about having to wear monk robes, and other unseen airbenders about other "perks" of the Air Nomads such as shaving your head, giving up all your worldly possessions or having a bison as your best friend.
Tenzin: Who doesn't want a bison as their best friend?
- Ludo goes through one of these in Star vs. the Forces of Evil when he tries to find better minions. Candidates include one of his own minions, a Distaff Counterpart of himself, a lazy four-armed monster who claims nobody is stupid enough to hire him, a mass of goop with eyes, and Toffee.
- Played With in the ReBoot episode Talent Night, where Dot and Emma Cee are overseeing auditions for Enzo's birthday party. Most of the acts are absolutely terrible, but Dot likes several of them. Unfortunately, Emma Cee vetoes them because they were considered "inappropriate for children". For some reason. Later on they eventually start getting acts both of them agree on.
- Kaeloo: In Episode 121, Kaeloo, Stumpy, Quack Quack and Mr. Cat are informed that they have been fired from the show and have to take a job interview with Olaf to get their jobs back. In the montage, Kaeloo doesn't know how to answer the questions and randomly uses words in the hopes of making what sounds like an answer, Stumpy repeatedly says that he's the show's funniest character and has random objects drop onto his head from the sky to prove it, Quack Quack uses complex math equations and Mr. Cat resorts to telling Blatant Lies, bribery and using random words. They all get re-hired anyway, because they were never actually fired, it was just a "joke" that Olaf was playing on them.
- Looney Tunes: In the 1944 short "Swooner Crooner", egg production on Porky's farm comes to a halt when his hens become enamored with Frank Sinatra-esque rooster, so he holds auditions for another crooning rooster to put them back to work. Among his potentials are fowl expies of Nelson Eddy, Al Jolson, Jimmy Durante and Cab Calloway, before Porky settles for a Bing Crosby rooster.
- In Miraculous Ladybug episode "Frightingale", Adrien is cast as Cat Noir in a Miraculous-themed music video sponsored by his father, and an audition for who will play Ladybug is held. Most of the auditionees are clumsy, awkward teen girls, (one of whom gets so nervous she goes into a Troubled Fetal Position) a few little girls, and Lt. Roger.
- The Loud House: In "Cooked", when Mr. Loud tries to find employees for his new restaurant, the first three candidates are: a musical actress who wants the job to prepare for a role she just got, a teen whose parents forced him to get a job to pay for the damages he did to their car, and Mr. Grouse (who didnt even come for a job, but only to complain the Louds dog wet on his lawn).