What is the most unusual thing a candidate has done in a job interview this year? Invite you to dinner? Bring toys to the interview? CareerBuilder released its annual survey of the most outrageous interview mistakes candidates have made, according to more than 2,600 hiring managers and HR professionals nationwide.
This year’s list includes:
- Candidate asked to step away to call his wife to ask her if the starting salary was enough before he agreed to continue with the interview.
- Candidate asked where the nearest bar was located.
- Candidate brought his childhood toys to the interview.
- Candidate ate a pizza he brought with him (and didn’t offer to share).
- Candidate asked interviewer why her aura didn’t like the candidate.
- Candidate invited interviewer to dinner afterwards.
- Candidate stated that if the interviewer wanted to get to heaven, she would hire him.
- Candidate ate crumbs off the table.
- Candidate said her hair was perfect when asked why she should become part of the team.
- Candidate sang to a song on the radio playing overhead.
- Candidate bragged about the fact that they were in the local newspaper for allegedly stealing a treadmill from an older woman’s house.
- Candidate put on and took off her sunglasses repeatedly.
In addition to the most unusual blunders, employers were also asked about the most common and detrimental mistakes candidates have made during an interview. Here are five instant deal breakers, according to employers:
- Candidate is caught lying about something: 66 percent
- Candidate answers a cellphone or text during the interview: 64 percent
- Candidate appears arrogant or entitled: 59 percent
- Candidate dresses inappropriately: 49 percent
- Candidate appears to have a lack of accountability: 48 percent
But it’s not always what you say – sometimes it’s what you do. When asked to identify the biggest body language mistakes job seekers make during an interview, hiring managers named the following:
- Failing to make eye contact: 67 percent
- Failing to smile: 39 percent
- Playing with something on the table: 34 percent
- Fidgeting too much in their seats: 32 percent
- Crossing their arms over their chests: 32 percent
- Having bad posture: 31 percent
- Playing with their hair or touching their faces: 28 percent
- Having a weak handshake: 22 percent
- Using too many hand gestures: 13 percent
- Having a handshake that was too strong: 9 percent
Interviews give both the employer and interviewee insight into what it will be like to work together. The above interview mistakes may be extreme examples of job seeker missteps, but hiring managers also make similar mistakes that drive away excellent candidates. Before an interview, be sure to familiarize yourself with a candidate’s resume and background, be prepared with a list of targeted and general questions, and be strategic in the interview style you choose.
Tweet at @CBforEmployers: What are the biggest interview mistakes you’ve witnessed a candidate make? Was he or she able to recover? How did you react?