Unless you’re trying out for a spot on American Idol, singing all your answers at a job interview probably isn’t the best idea. Nor is conducting your phone interview in the bathroom (and finishing with a flush). But believe it or not, job candidates have done these strange things, and more, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.
Employers were asked to recall the most unusual things job candidates have done during the interview process, and here’s what they shared:
- Took a family photo off of interviewer’s desk and put it into her purse.
- Started screaming that the interview was taking too long.
- 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 his/her ideal job was, said “painter of birdhouses.” (Company was hiring for a data entry clerk.)
- Sang her responses to questions.
- Put lotion on his/her feet during the interview.
- When asked why he wanted the position, replied, “My wife wants me to get a job.”
- Started feeling interviewer’s chest to find a heartbeat so they could “connect heart to heart.”
- Had a pet bird in his/her shirt.
- Took phone interview in the bathroom – and flushed.
But you don’t need to steal a family photo to ruin your chance at a job offer: Poor eye contact and a weak handshake can also work against you. Employers were asked to share the biggest body language mistakes job seekers make, and their top 10 answers were:
- Failing to make eye contact
- Failing to smile
- Playing with something on the table
- Having bad posture
- Fidgeting too much in their seats
- Crossing their arms over their chests
- Playing with their hair or touching their faces
- Having a weak handshake
- Using too many hand gestures
- Having a handshake that was too strong
“Preparing for an interview takes a lot more than Googling answers to common interview questions,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder. “Candidates have to make a great first impression appearance-wise, have a solid understanding of the target company, know exactly how to convey that they’re the perfect fit for the job and control their body language.”
The nationwide survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among more than 2,500 hiring and human resource managers (of which, more than 2,300 are in the private sector).