Interviewing candidates for a job can give you a new and scary perspective on the human race: Usually it is guided by some mix of cluelessness and desperation. But you may put your war stories back into storage after hearing the biggest interview flubs that came up in a CareerBuilder.com survey of 2,192 hiring managers.
These flubs make the more common body language mistakes--including failing to make eye contact, failing to smile, or playing with something on the table--seem like minor errors. Frankly, these are even worse than the 10 most unbelievable excuses employees gave when calling in sick that CareerBuilder found in a survey released last fall.
Here are the puzzling, eyebrow-raising, and just plain bizarre examples the hiring managers gave (including some additional ones that CareerBuilder put together for me):
- Someone brought 50 pens to the interview and spread them out on the table.
- A candidate brought a duffel bag with him and kept fidgeting and repositioning it. There was a dog inside the bag.
- "You can call me Tigger!" a candidate said after offering his real name. "That is the nickname I gave myself."
- Asked about diversity, a candidate mentioned something about "off the boat."
- One hiring manager heard a candidate ask if he could offer religious advice to the employees.
- The husband of an employee was interviewing for a job at the same company. He asked if his wife was cheating on him.
- Would you ask how much money everyone else made? One person did.
- The reason one candidate gave for leaving a previous job was "kicking someone's butt that really needed it."
- A candidate sat in a yoga pose throughout the interview.
- Asked a question, one person tried to Google the answer.
- Apparently one candidate didn't like the process, suddenly stood up, and walked out the door without saying anything.
- A candidate asked if it was necessary to like kids--to work in a pediatrician's office.
- Interviewing is apparently hungry work as someone brought along a lunch and ate it during the conversation.
- One candidate needed a bathroom break--a 45-minute one.
- Having spit a wad of gum into his hand and not seeing a place to throw it away, this man returned the gum to his mouth and chewed it throughout the interview.
If only it all seemed unbelievable. And if you have a story that can top these, or even get close, I'd love to hear it.