Employers’ Craziest Job Interviews

HR & Safety

In a new survey from CareerBuilder, employers shared the most memorable job interview mistakes candidates have made and how body language can hinder their chances of moving forward in the interview process.

According to the nationwide survey, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from Nov. 4 to Dec. 1, 2015, among more than 2,500 hiring and human resource managers (of which, more than 2,300 are in the private sector), while candidates might take their time when prepping for an interview, it doesn’t take long for a hiring manager to make a decision.

Fifty percent of employers know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good fit for a position—on par with 49% last year.

The 10 Strangest Things People Have Done in Job Interviews

When asked to share the biggest mistakes or most unusual things job candidates have done during the interview process, employers and hiring managers recalled the following:

  • Candidate took a family photo off of interviewer’s desk and put it into her purse.
  • Candidate started screaming that the interview was taking too long.
  • Candidate said her main job was being a psychic/medium and tried to read interviewer’s palm, despite interviewer’s attempts to decline the offer.
  • When asked what his/her ideal job was, candidate said “painter of birdhouses.” (Company was hiring a data entry clerk.)
  • Candidate sang her responses to questions.
  • Candidate put lotion on his/her feet during the interview.
  • When asked why he wanted the position, candidate replied, “My wife wants me to get a job.”
  • Candidate started feeling interviewer’s chest to find a heartbeat so they could “connect heart to heart.”
  • Candidate had a pet bird in his/her shirt.
  • Candidate took phone interview in the bathroom—and flushed.

Fifty percent of employers know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good fit for a position.

Body Language Mistakes 

An impressive resume and cover letter can get a candidate an interview; however, body language mistakes can completely undermine these assets and derail a candidate's chances of getting hired.

When asked to identify the biggest body language mistakes job seekers make, hiring managers named the following:

  1. Failing to make eye contact: 67%
  2. Failing to smile: 39%
  3. Playing with something on the table: 33%
  4. Having bad posture: 30%
  5. Fidgeting too much in their seats: 30%
  6. Crossing their arms over their chests: 29%
  7. Playing with their hair or touching their faces: 27%
  8. Having a weak handshake: 21%
  9. Using too many hand gestures: 11%
  10. Having a handshake that was too strong: 7%

Five Ways to Ruin a Job Interview

Here are five instant deal breakers, according to employers:

  1. Candidate is caught lying about something: 69%
  2. Candidate answers a cell phone or text during the interview: 68%
  3. Candidate appears arrogant or entitled: 60%
  4. Candidate dresses inappropriately: 50%
  5. Candidate swears: 50%

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