Hiring managers identify interview mishaps that hurt job seekers’ chances

Half of employers know within first five minutes if a candidate is a good fit

Posted January 15, 2016

While candidates might take their time when prepping for an interview, it doesn’t take long for a hiring manager to make a decision. Fifty percent of employers know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good fit for a position, survey results show.

In the CareerBuilder survey, employers shared the most memorable job interview mistakes candidates have made and how body language can hinder their chances of moving forward in the interview process.

The 10 strangest things people have done in job interviews
When asked to share the biggest mistakes or most unusual things job candidates have done during the interview process, employers and hiring managers recalled the following:

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

Body language mistakes that can cost you the job
An impressive resume and cover letter can get a candidate an interview; however, body language mistakes can completely undermine these assets and derail a candidate’s chances of getting hired. When asked to identify the biggest body language mistakes job seekers make, hiring managers named the following:

  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 candidates ruin a job interview
Here are five instant deal breakers, according to employers:

  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

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