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This is why you didn’t get hired

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Did you ever attend an interview you thought went well, then wonder why you didn’t get a call back? This study of bizarre interview stories could shine a light on the mistakes that cost you the job. While local interviewers have had their fair share of bizarre candidate experiences, some of the worst behaviour seen in Singapore includes a candidate who sucked his thumb, an interviewee who asked the interviewer on a date and another candidate who showed up wearing a Hawaiian shirt.

According to interview encounters compiled by the JobsCentral Group, some more out-of-the-ordinary experiences included a candidate who started singing the national anthem and refused to stop and another who wouldn’t stop crying and sharing her personal problems.

The report, which collated the responses of 396 hiring managers and HR personnel in Singapore, also highlighted their top pet peeves.

Failure to make eye contact was a no-no for 76.5% of interviewers, while 58.3% were put off by bad posture and 46.7% frowned upon candidates fiddling with an object, such a pen, on the table.

Other pet peeves included arms crossed in front of the chest (46.2%), failure to smile 44.7%) and fidgeting (42.7%).

However, the interviewers themselves have also put candidates through some eye-raising experiences.

Some of the more peculiar interview questions local HR professionals have posed to candidates included, “Give me three positive character traits you don’t have”; “If you were asked to design a mascot for the company, how would it look like?” and, “You have 15 minutes to tell us everything a brick can be used for.”

Here are some more examples of weird interview behaviours (and examples of what not to do) as experienced by hiring managers in Singapore:

  • Sucking their thumb before speaking to the interviewer
  • Laying out all stationary on the table before the interview
  • Laughing at every single sentence the interviewer said
  • Sitting very still during the interview, moving only their eyeballs
  • Calling to say they were ill while sitting in reception waiting for the interview to begin
  • Presenting the interviewer with all trophies won since schooling days
  • Showing up in a Hawaiian shirt and a hat
  • Insisting on only speaking to the CEO for the interview
  • Combing hair repeatedly during the interview


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