Job Searchers Still Make Egregious Interview Mistakes

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%.
NEXT: Strange interviewee actions

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.