Top 10 interview blunders

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With January and February shaping up to be busy hiring months the interview process can become a bit tedious. But if you think you are the only HR professional rolling your eyes at candidates’ interview etiquette failings, you would be wrong.

Two surveys have revealed not only the most irksome interview mistakes, but some hiring managers’ most memorable interviewee blunders.

According to a survey by Express Employment Professionals, the worst thing applicants can do in an interview is lie about experience, closely followed by answering a phone call.

“It’s hard to believe that a job applicant would interrupt his or her own interview to check their personal phone or send a text, but amazingly it happens,” Bob Funk, CEO and chairman of the board for Express Employment Professionals stated. “An interview is a window into a person’s character. Showing anything but the utmost professionalism will quickly lead to a ‘no thank you’ from the prospective employer. Interviews aren’t like baseball. Especially with high unemployment, one strike and you’re usually out.”

Results from the survey revealed the top 10 interview mistakes include:
  1. Lie about experience: 65%
  2. Answer a phone call: 61%
  3. Arrive late: 59%
  4. Badmouth boss or co-worker: 51%
  5. Act arrogant: 39%
  6. Check phone: 32%
  7. Text: 29%
  8. Using poor language or slang: 28%
  9. Smoking: 24%
  10. Bring a friend or relative: 21%
Research by Careerbuilder came up with similar results. There survey of more than 2,200 hiring managers and HR professionals found the most common blunders were appearing disinterested  (55 percent), dressing inappropriately (53%), appearing arrogant (53%), talking negatively about current or previous employers (50%), answering a cell phone or texting during the interview (49%), not providing specific examples  (33%) and asking the hiring manager personal questions (17%).

CareerBuilder survey respondents also identified the worst body language mistakes candidates made and top of the list was failing to make eye contact at 70% followed by failing to smile (44%), bad posture (35%), fidgeting too much (35%) playing with something on the table (29%) and a handshake that is too weak (27%).

As for memorable gaffes interviewees have made, here are a few real-life examples employers gave CareerBuilder to have a chuckle over before your next interview:

· Applicant warned the interviewer that she “took too much valium” and didn’t think her interview was indicative of her personality
· Applicant acted out a Star Trek role
· Applicant arrived in a jogging suit because he was going running after the interview
· Applicant asked for a hug
· Applicant brought personal photo albums
· Applicant checked Facebook during the interview
· Applicant crashed her car into the building
· Applicant popped out his teeth when discussing dental benefits
· Applicant kept her iPod headphones on during the interview
· Applicant set fire to the interviewer’s newspaper while reading it when the interviewer said “impress me”
· Applicant said that he questioned his daughter’s paternity
· Applicant wanted to know the name and phone number of the receptionist because he really liked her

Key HR Takeaways:
Gretchen Kebbell, Marketing and Operations Manager for recruitment company QJumpers told HRM Online they recommend the following three tips for making a positive impression and successful interview.
  • Learn about the company you have applied to work in. Look into their website and see how they communicate in social media
  • Be prepared to talk about your skills and experience and how they will benefit the Employer, but keep your conversation relevant to the questions asked
  • Approach the interview positively, and don’t be afraid to ask well thought out questions.  This is your chance to shine

Related articles:
Try to see past the neuroses
Interviews – it’s not a one-way process
Shaking up the interview process

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