DANCING, SMOKING, SLEEPING AND OTHER BAD INTERVIEW MOVES
Survey Reveals Most Embarrassing Job Interview Blunders
MENLO PARK, CA -- Most people are on their best behavior when meeting with hiring managers, but some actions fall nothing short of bizarre. In a recent survey, OfficeTeam asked executives to recount the most embarrassing job interview moments they had heard of or witnessed. Following are some examples:
- “The candidate sent his sister to interview in his place.”
- “The person was dancing during the interview. He kept saying things like, ‘I love life!’ and ‘Oh yeah!’”
- “A job applicant came in for an interview with a cockatoo on his shoulder.”
- “The candidate stopped the interview and asked me if I had a cigarette.”
- “We had one person who walked out of an interview into a glass door – and the glass shattered.”
The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 150 senior executives at the 1,000 largest U.S. companies and 100 senior executives in Canada.
It’s helpful to do your homework before a job interview, and the following job seekers would have benefited from more preparation:
- “The candidate got his companies confused and repeatedly mentioned the strengths of a competing firm, thinking that’s who he was interviewing with.”
- “A guy called me by the wrong name during the entire interview.”
- “We’re a retail company, and when we asked the candidate why she wanted to work for us, she said she didn’t want to work in retail anymore.”
Most employers observe applicants’ body language to see how friendly and honest they appear. Unfortunately, these job candidates could have used some improvement in that area:
- “An interviewee put his bubble gum in his hand, forgot about it, and then shook my hand.”
- “A job seeker gestured with his hands so much that he sat on them to stop it.”
- “A candidate fell asleep during the interview.”
Dressing professionally increases your chances of landing a job. Regrettably for these next job hopefuls, the wrong attire can take you out of the running:
- “Someone showed up for an interview in pajamas and his hair not combed, like he had just rolled out of bed.”
- “The candidate had a big rip in the back of his pants.”
While job seekers should give complete and compelling responses to interviewers’ questions, saying too much can work against you, as these next examples demonstrate:
- “An applicant was doing really well in the interview until she got to the reason she left her other job. She told us everyone was out to get her.”
- “A candidate insulted the interviewer on his tie.”
“Although extreme, these examples illustrate the importance of interview basics,” said Dave Willmer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “To be considered for a job, candidates must prepare well, dress appropriately and provide compelling information about themselves.”
OfficeTeam provides the following tips to avoid embarrassing job interview moments:
- Do your homework. Study the company and ask the interviewer relevant questions that demonstrate your interest in the firm.
- Dress to impress. Err on the conservative side with a suit in a neutral tone. “Test drive” a new outfit before the interview to make sure it’s comfortable.
- Don’t delay. Plan to arrive at your interview at least 15 minutes early. Give yourself extra time if you are unfamiliar with the area.
- Keep it real. Offer examples and anecdotes that help illustrate your strengths, but do not embellish or lie.
- Resist rambling. Once you have answered an interview question, stop talking. Allow for periods of silence while the hiring manager formulates the next query.
Alas, even careful preparation can’t prevent all mishaps, such as the following:
- “A candidate cut his lip shaving, and it was bleeding profusely during the interview.”
- “The applicant became ill during the interview.”
“The applicant spilled coffee on her suit.” Added Willmer, “Handling problems gracefully may actually impress interviewers. But if the situation can’t be overcome, move on and focus on the next opportunity. It’s a learning experience that will someday make an entertaining story.”
OfficeTeam provides businesses with the temporary administrative professionals they need to maximize productivity, achieve cost efficiency and support full-time staff. The company has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com.