How to lose the job before you get it

February 23, 2018

What you don’t blurt out during a job interview may be just as likely to get you the gig as what you choose to reveal about yourself. That’s the message of over 1,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals who have seen it all—some of it, intensely awkward.

In fact, there are ten mistakes that instantly will destroy your chances of getting hiring—among them, failing to make eye contact or smile, or playing with something on the table.

According to findings of a CareerBuilder study, conducted by The Harris Poll and released on February 22, about half of employers (49%) know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good or bad fit for a position, and only 8% make up their minds within a half hour or longer.

When you’re not prepared, crazy things can happen. When asked to share the most unusual things job candidates have done during the interview process, employers and hiring managers recalled individuals who:

  • Did not have the skills to do the job and stated, “Fake it until you make it” as his personal philosophy;
  • Asked interviewer if she was qualified to be doing her job;
  • Asked for a cocktail;
  • Asked to taste the interviewer’s coffee;
  • Called a government job something government-y;
  • Came to the interview wearing slipper;.
  • Wore a Darth Vader costume to the interview.
  • Spent a lot of time quoting Dwight D. Eisenhower, which had nothing to do with the position for which he was interviewing;
  • Leaned far forward with his head down during the first five minutes of the interview;
  • Offered the interviewer pumpkins and said they transfer good energy.
  • Pulled out a bag of drugs with his keys; and
  • Broke out in song in the middle of the interview.

And, even if you are the best candidate for the job, the researchers say, you can see a potential offer disappear by making avoidable mistakes. Here are ten instant deal-breakers, according to employers. Don’t be the candidate who:

  1. Is caught lying about something;
  2. Answers a cell phone or texts during the interview;
  3. Appears arrogant or entitled;
  4. Lacks accountability;
  5. Swears;
  6. Dresses inappropriately;
  7. Talks negatively about current or previous employers;
  8. Knows nothing about the job or company;
  9. Uses unprofessional body language; or
  10. Knows nothing about the industry or competitors.

When asked to identify the biggest body language mistakes job seekers make during an interview, hiring managers named the following:

  • Failure to make eye contact;
  • Failure to smile;
  • Playing with something on the table;
  • Fidgeting too much in his/her seat;
  • Bad posture;
  • Crossing their arms over their chest;
  • Playing with hair or touching one’s face;
  • Handshake that is too weak; or:
  • Using too many hand gestures.

“There’s a lot riding on an interview.You have to make a great first impression, have knowledge of your target company and its product, and know exactly how to convey that you’re the perfect fit for the job,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “The best thing you can do for yourself is to prepare and practice everything from your body language to answers to standard interview questions. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so going in well-prepared is key.”

Research contact: ladan.hayes@careerbuilder.com

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