HR Strange But True!
March 13, 2008

Everyone is capable of making a mistake during job interviews, but few of us make one as spectacular as the following 10.

Each year, conducts a survey to discover the most outrageous interview mistakes candidates have made. This year, the survey included more than 3,000 hiring managers and HR professionals.

Besides the outrageous mistakes, the survey also asked about the common mistakes applicants make to sink their candidacy. More than half (51 percent) of hiring managers cited dressing inappropriately as the most detrimental mistake a candidate can make in an interview.

Forty-nine percent of respondents said speaking negatively about a current or previous employer was the biggest mistake, making it the second most common response.

Let's get to the 10 most bizarre mistakes found in the survey, as determined by

  • Candidate answered cell phone and asked the interviewer to leave her own office because it was a "private" conversation.
  • Candidate told the interviewer he wouldn't be able to stay with the job long because he thought he might get an inheritance if his uncle died-- and his uncle wasn't "looking too good."
  • Candidate asked the interviewer for a ride home after the interview.
  • Candidate smelled his armpits on the way to the interview room.
  • Candidate said she could not provide a writing sample because all of her writing had been for the CIA and it was "classified."
  • Candidate told the interviewer he was fired for beating up his last boss.
  • When applicant was offered food before the interview, he declined saying he didn't want to line his stomach with grease before going out drinking.
  • A candidate for an accounting position said she was a "people person" not a "numbers person."
  • Candidate flushed the toilet while talking to interviewer during phone interview.
  • Candidate took out a hair brush and brushed her hair.

If you have a story about a bizarre interview, we'd love to hear it.


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