Memorable Interview Blunders

Feb 4 2014 - Hiring - Gail Cecchettini Whaley

Most job applicants get a case of the nerves when going through a job interview. There’s a lot riding on the interview, and a person doesn’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.

That first impression is important, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder, which found that nearly half of employers (49 percent) know within the first five minutes of an interview whether a candidate is a good or bad fit for the position, and 87 percent know within the first 15 minutes.

Harris Interactive conducted the national survey of 2,201 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes in late 2013.

Above and Beyond 

The CareerBuilder survey also asked employers to share the most memorable mistakes that candidates made during a job interview. The following real-life examples took top honors:

  • Applicant warned the interviewer that she “took too much valium” and didn’t think her interview was indicative of her personality
  • Applicant acted out a Star Trek role
  • Applicant answered a phone call for an interview with a competitor
  • Applicant arrived in a jogging suit because he was going running after the interview
  • Applicant asked for a hug
  • Applicant attempted to secretly record the interview
  • Applicant brought personal photo albums
  • Applicant called himself his own personal hero
  • Applicant checked Facebook during the interview
  • Applicant crashed her car into the building
  • Applicant popped out his teeth when discussing dental benefits
  • Applicant kept her iPod headphones on during the interview
  • Applicant set fire to the interviewer’s newspaper while reading it when the interviewer said “impress me”
  • Applicant said that he questioned his daughter’s paternity
  • Applicant wanted to know the name and phone number of the receptionist because he really liked her

Common Mistakes

The survey also asked employers to identify common and damaging interview blunders that candidates made:

  • Appearing disinterested – 55 percent
  • Dressing inappropriately – 53 percent
  • Appearing arrogant – 53 percent
  • Talking negatively about current or previous employers – 50 percent
  • Answering a cell phone or texting during the interview – 49 percent
  • Appearing uninformed about the company or role – 39 percent
  • Not providing specific examples – 33 percent
  • Not asking good questions – 32 percent
  • Providing too much personal information – 20 percent
  • Asking the hiring manager personal questions – 17 percent

 

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