Hiring Managers Reveal Interview Mistakes, and Those That Were ‘Most Memorable’

careerbuilder_logo<February 22, 2012> You’d think in this tough economy with high unemployment, job seekers lucky enough to score that much-needed interview would be on their best behavior…wouldn’t you? Well, then the results of the latest CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers will probably make you, like it did me, shake your head in disbelief.

CareerBuilder surveyed 3,000 employers, hiring and human resource managers and asked them to rate the biggest mistakes interview candidates make during the interview. The managers were also asked to share their “most memorable interview.”

Tighten up your belt, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Most Harmful and (Unfortunately) Common Mistakes

Candidates who…

  • Answered their cell phones or texted during the interview (77%)
  • Appeared disinterested (75%)
  • Dressed inappropriately (72%)
  • Appeared arrogant (72%)
  • Talked negatively about their current or previous employers (67%)
  • Chewed gum while interviewing (63%)

Most Unusual (and Memorable) Interviews

  • Candidate brought a “how to interview book” with him to the interview.
  • Candidate asked, “What company is this again?”
  • Candidate put the interviewer on hold during a phone interview. When she came back on the line, she told the interviewer that she had a date set up for Friday.
  • When a candidate interviewing for a security position wasn’t hired on the spot, he painted graffiti on the building.
  • Candidate wore a Boy Scout uniform to the interview, and never explained why.
  • Candidate was arrested by federal authorities during the interview when the background check revealed the person had an outstanding warrant.
  • Candidate talked about promptness as one of her strengths after showing up ten minutes late.
  • On the way to the interview, the candidate passed, cut-off, and flipped his middle finger at the driver who happened to be the interviewer.
  • Candidate referred to himself in the third person.
  • Candidate took off his shoes during the interview.
  • Candidate asked for a sip of the interviewer’s coffee.
  • Candidate told the interviewer she wasn’t sure if the job offered was worth “starting the car for.”

    “It may seem unlikely that candidates would ever answer a cell phone during an interview, or wear shorts, but when we talk to hiring managers, we remarkably hear these stories all of the time,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. “However, for most job seekers avoiding a big mistake isn’t the issue – it’s standing out from the crowd. A successful interview is a presentation that marries one’s personality and professional experience to the needs of the hiring manager and the company. Knowing how to do that successfully can be difficult, but with preparation and practice, candidates can greatly improve their interview skills.”

For more information, see: www.careerbuilder.com.


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