10 Strange Ways That Applicants Botch Their Job Interview

By Eric B. Meyer

Flushing the toilet during an interview?

Well, at least it was a phone interview.

Hey, one thing you guys know about me is that I’m all about the low hanging fruit and the cheap laugh. So, when I see that CareerBuilder has published it’s 2016 version of “Employers Share Strangest Interview Mishaps and Biggest Body Language Mistakes,” I’m bout it, bout it.

(Sorry, FMLA compliance nerds, you’ll have to wait for another post).

The 10 strangest things people have done in job interviews

  1. Candidate took a family photo off of interviewer’s desk and put it into her purse.
  2. Candidate started screaming that the interview was taking too long.
  3. 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.
  4. When asked what her ideal job was, candidate said “painter of bird houses.” (Company was hiring for a data entry clerk.)
  5. Candidate sang her responses to questions.
  6. Candidate put lotion on her feet during the interview.
  7. When asked why he wanted the position, candidate replied, “My wife wants me to get a job.”
  8. Candidate started feeling interviewer’s chest to find a heartbeat so they could “connect heart to heart.”
  9. Candidate had a pet bird in her shirt.
  10. Candidate took phone interview in the bathroom – and flushed.

(I’m shocked that “candidate posed for selfie with interviewer” did not make the list).

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(P.S. – I’m sorry about the toilet. I won’t let it happen again. Or, I’ll hit mute).

Body language mistakes that can cost you the job

Hiring managers participating in the CareerBuilder survey had this to say:

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

Five Ways to Ruin a Job Interview

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

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (www.TheEmployerHandbook.com), which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.


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