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Annoyed business woman, hr

Top 12 most memorable interview mistakes

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As a recruiter, hiring manager, or HR practitioner, you’re aware that interviews can be a nerve wrecking experience. As such, when candidates slip up, you tend to forget about it and move on, not dwelling on someone’s small mistake.

Some mistakes, however, are so surprising they’re hard to forget. In their latest annual survey, CareerBuilder asked 2,600 hiring and human resource managers about the strangest thing they’ve ever seen a candidate do during an interview. These were the twelve most memorable answers:

  • 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.

Although the respondents didn’t elaborate as to whether the candidates in question were successful, chances are they weren’t. According to the survey, it doesn’t take much for a hiring manager to make up their mind, with 51% saying they know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good fit for a position.

Aside from the odd behaviour as per the list above, respondents also revealed the absolute worst things candidates can do when interviewing for a job. The instant deal breakers are:

  • Candidate is caught lying about something: 66%
  • Candidate answers a cellphone or text during the interview: 64%
  • Candidate appears arrogant or entitled: 59%
  • Candidate dresses inappropriately: 49%
  • Candidate appears to have a lack of accountability: 48%

ALSO READ: Hong Kong job seekers share worst interview experiences

Photo / iStock

HR Masterclass from Human Resources magazine: High-level HR strategy training workshops
led by the world's most respected HR thought leaders & strategists.
Review the 2018 programme here »

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