Ask a Recruiter: Interview Blunders

Read on for lessons learned from what NOT to do.

Interviews are hard. You’re being tested not only on your skills, but also on who you are as a person and how your unique personality might work with the company in question. There are so many variables. What will they ask me? What should I ask them? What experience is relevant?

Plenty of prep time and research can eliminate many of these questions. However, regardless of preparation, there are a few basic rules of etiquette to keep in mind. Dress in accordance with what your interviewer asks for. Don’t interrupt your interviewer. Be kind and courteous. Don’t try to hide a barking puppy under your shirt. Wait, what?

That’s right, that happened. Some applicants bring a little extra something to the interview. We asked a few of our top recruiters for stories about the more outrageous interview experiences they have had.

Working Isn’t My Thing

One of our staffing consultants recently dealt with a strange occurrence. An applicant came in with a standard resume. Everything seemed above board. However, the first thing he said was “I get that some people are motivated by hard work, but that’s really not my thing.”

Honesty is great, and you should be truthful when speaking about your experience in an interview. However, most employers aren’t going to hire someone who doesn’t want to work. They have plenty of other candidates, and odds are that most of them didn’t say they don’t like to work. Even if you’re just working for a paycheck, there’s no need to mention that in an interview.

Batman Needs Me

Another staffing consultant recalled an incident that started off normal enough but immediately fell apart. A candidate came in for a 2 o’clock interview 15 minutes early. However, before the interview could get started, he left. He returned 20 minutes past his scheduled interview time and, when asked about the reason for his rapid departure and subsequent return, he said he “had to sell comic books.” Oh, and his mother was now accompanying him; he was not a teenager.

Your interview starts before you’re even in the room. Everything you do in the waiting area can have real consequences. Yelling on the phone, treating the front desk coordinator badly, and, yes, leaving without any notification—these are reasons to write you off as a candidate.

Coming back and expecting to fit into what was already a busy schedule is an even worse idea. If you do have to leave for any reason, notify the receptionist and attempt to re-schedule via email. However, save this for true emergency situations—there’s no guarantee you’ll get a second try.

Chad Truly Felt Chad Had the Skills for the Job

One staffing consultant had an interview that was unsettling, to say the least. A candidate walked in; let’s call him Chad. Chad immediately began explaining his experience to the staffing consultant. However, Chad repeatedly spoke about himself in the third person. Caught off guard, the staffing consultant had to take a few minutes to realize what was going on. When he asked Chad why he was talking about himself in the third person, Chad said he hadn’t even realized that was happening, and attributed it to being nervous.

Although it’s easy to blame Chad for his odd attitude in this scenario, there are plenty of other candidates who fall into similar pitfalls. This is due to a lack of interview training. Many candidates don’t know their strange interview tics because they’ve never been told about them. To avoid this problem, practice interviews with friends or family. That training will come in handy!

Job Genius

Want to make sure you never make any of these mistakes? Looking for a one-stop-shop for all your interview and job search questions? Job Genius is here to help.

Covering everything from the job market forecast to your resume, subsequent interview, and more, Job Genius is the perfect place to start (or kick start) your career.

Have questions about what NOT to do in an interview? Let us know in the comments below!

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