Sometimes job applicants are memorable for the wrong reasons, a new OfficeTeam survey shows. Managers were asked to recount the most embarrassing job interview mistakes they have heard of or been witness to.
Most Embarrassing Job Interview Mistakes
- “The candidate called the interviewer by the wrong name.”
- “One job seeker had lettuce in his teeth when he arrived.”
- “An interviewee was so nervous she almost fainted.”
- “The applicant did a song and dance routine in hopes of getting the job.”
- “Someone brought his pet dog.”
- “When a woman was asked to tell the interviewer a little about herself, she didn’t have anything to say.”
View Interview Survey Highlights Below:
The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 600 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees in Canada and the United States.
Some job seekers failed to dress the part:
- “An applicant showed up in sweatpants.”
- “The person was wearing mismatched shoes.”
- “One candidate didn’t realize his zipper was down.”
These professionals should have watched what they said:
- “Someone started swearing during the interview.”
- “A candidate claimed he was late because he got lost, but the receptionist said she saw him hanging out at the coffee shop.”
- “One job applicant was caught lying on her resume during the meeting.”
Others didn’t realize that actions speak louder than words:
- “A candidate fell asleep.”
- “The person was checking his cell phone and chewing gum during the interview.”
- “One applicant said he never lets people see him sweat — but he was sweating profusely.”
This job seeker made the ultimate of interview mistakes:
- “A guy didn’t know what job he was applying for.”
And sometimes, the interviewers were guilty of cringe-worthy moments:
- “Someone spilled a pot of hot coffee on the candidate.”
- “An interviewer walked into the closet instead of the meeting room.”
- “A hiring manager was reading the wrong person’s resume.”
“Interviews are nerve-racking, but proper preparation by job seekers and hiring managers can help things run more smoothly,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Although interview blunders may be embarrassing, candidates who can quickly recover might actually turn an awkward moment into a time to shine.”
Seven tips to avoid embarrassing interview mistakes:
- Study up. Research the company and ask relevant questions to demonstrate your knowledge of and interest in the job.
- Do a dry run. Boost your confidence by practicing responses to common and tough questions. Set up a mock interview with friends.
- Dress to impress. When in doubt, wear a suit. Pay attention to details and conduct a final head-to-toe check before leaving the house.
- Map it out. Verify directions to the employer’s office in advance. Build in extra time so you can calm your nerves before the meeting.
- Be honest. If you lie or stretch the truth, it’ll catch up with you.
- Watch your delivery. Be mindful of your body language and remain engaged throughout the conversation. Take your time to give thorough, yet succinct, responses.
- Be tactful. Speak diplomatically about former employers. Criticizing past managers or colleagues will only make you look bad.
Guest Post by Office Team and Robert Half
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