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Weirdest Interview Behavior

Laura Morsch, CareerBuilder.com

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Before a big interview, a smart job seeker carefully chooses his or her outfit, researches the company and prepares smooth answers to questions the interviewer might ask.

But not everyone is a smart job seeker.

When CareerBuilder.com recently surveyed more than 850 hiring managers, nearly 70 percent reported they had witnessed a bizarre behavior from a job applicant during an interview.

Here are some of the gross, mind-bogglingly bizarre, and all-too-true ways real people blew their chances at scoring the job.

Not putting in the face time
You can't get the job if you don't show up for the interview. Several employers reported having job seekers blow off the interview completely, but that pales in comparison to some of the not-so-graceful ways some candidates made early exits.

Many bored candidates were spotted continually checking their watches, and one interviewee asked the hiring manager to speed things up so he could catch a bus. Another job seeker booked it out of the interview upon hearing about the drug test. But the weirdest story came from a hiring manager who said, "One applicant said the company had a black aura and left."

Looking Unprofessional
A first impression can make or break a candidate - but apparently some applicants don't understand the concept of "business-appropriate" attire. Several ultra-casual candidates arrived at their interviews in T-shirts and jeans, but that's not the worst of it.

One job hopeful arrived at his interview displaying a hairy chest, medallion, strong cologne and a wad of gum in his mouth. And which is worse: the applicant who wore a housecoat and slippers or the one who wore his slippers with a bathing suit and T-shirt?

But remember: even impeccably dressed people can appear unprofessional. Singing the national anthem, trying to sell the interviewer a car, doing yoga at the interview and showing off your Ben Stiller imitation are proven ways to do just that.

Being excessively nervous
Some degree of anxiety is normal - even beneficial - at an interview, but hiring managers report some candidates take nervousness to the extreme. Applicants stuttered, giggled, babbled, and forgot what jobs they were applying for - but they were the lucky ones. Other, not-so-smooth job seekers wet themselves, and one applicant vomited on the interviewer's shoes.

Being too forthcoming... or not honest enough
Sure, you only want that retail job for the 30 percent employee discount. But you wouldn?t actually say that in an interview... would you?

Some people did just that - or worse. One applicant raised eyebrows when he asked whether spousal abuse would prevent him from getting the job. Another said she had serious health problems and needed the company?s insurance. And one job-hopping hopeful disclosed that he planned to retire in two months.

Likewise, some hiring managers say interviewees are less than truthful in their applications. One candidate said he was in the military... and George Bush was listed as his last supervisor. Another admitted he didn?t do all of the duties listed in his résumé - but he assured the hiring manager that didn?t matter.

Being greedy
Asking about employee benefits during the first interview is almost always a no-no. Yet many job seekers were too quick to ask about salary, time off, vacations - even a raise before they had received the offer. Other, more audacious candidates complained about the hours they had to work, and one even asked, "How soon can I have your office?"

Acting desperate
Of course you want the job, but wowing the interviewer with your skills and qualifications is much more effective than outright bribery. Some candidates, however, went to all sorts of desperate measures. Applicants offered their interviewers gifts, money and even sex in return for a job offer, and one job seeker offered to shine the hiring manager's shoes.

Laura Morsch is a writer for CareerBuilder.com.

Last Updated: 24/09/2007 - 3:50 PM


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