According to a nationwide survey from CareerBuilder taken from November 4 to December 1, 2015, among more than 2,500 hiring and human resource managers, while job 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 say they know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good fit for a position.
Respondents reported that the most common interview questions ask include:
- Tell me about yourself: 55%;
- Why do you want this job?: 50%;
- Why did you leave your last job?: 50%;
- What is your greatest strength and greatest weakness?: 49%; and
- Describe a difficult work situation and how you overcame it: 48%.
An impressive resume and cover letter can get a candidate an interview; however, body language mistakes can completely undermine these efforts and derail a candidate’s chances of getting hired. When asked to identify the biggest body language mistakes job seekers make, hiring managers shared:
- Failing to make eye contact: 67%;
- Failing to smile: 39%;
- Playing with something on the table: 33%;
- Having bad posture: 30%;
- Fidgeting too much in their seats: 30%;
- Crossing their arms over their chests: 29%;
- Playing with their hair or touching their faces: 27%;
- Having a weak handshake: 21%;
- Using too many hand gestures: 11%; and
- Having a handshake that was too strong: 7%.
According to survey respondents, five instant deal-breakers for interviewees are lying about something (69%), answering a call or text during the interview (68%), appearing arrogant or entitled (60%), dressing inappropriately (50%) and swearing (50%).
When asked to share the biggest mistakes or most unusual things job candidates have done during the interview process, employers and hiring managers recalled:
- 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 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 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 her shirt; and
- Candidate took phone interview in the bathroom—and flushed.
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