Acing an interview is an important step in landing a job, and can be incredibly stressful. If you’re not prepared, crazy things can happen. But no matter how nervous you are, that’s no excuse for asking your interviewer for a cocktail. Or pretending to be Darth Vader.
A new CareerBuilder survey asked employers and hiring managers to share the most unusual things job candidates have done during the interview process. Below, for your amusement, is a dozen of their most notable responses:
- 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 interview wearing slippers.
- Wore a Darth Vader outfit to the interview.
- Spent a lot of time quoting Dwight D. Eisenhower, which had nothing to do with the position he was interviewing for.
- Leaned far forward with his head down during the first five minutes of the interview.
- Offered interviewer pumpkins and said they transfer good energy.
- Pulled out a bag of drugs with his keys.
- Broke out in song in the middle of the interview.
It is, hopefully, obvious to everyone that the above actions are not something interviewers ever want to see. But there are some other, less obvious, mistakes that can keep you from landing a job, and first impressions matter—a lot. Nearly half of employers (49 percent) know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good or bad fit for a position, and only 8 percent make up their mind within a half hour or longer, according to the survey.
“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.”
Even if you are the best candidate for the job, you can see a potential offer go up in smoke by making avoidable mistakes. Here are 10 instant deal breakers, according to employers.
- Is caught lying about something: 71 percent
- Answers a cell phone or texts during the interview: 67 percent
- Appears arrogant or entitled: 59 percent
- Appears to have a lack of accountability: 52 percent
- Swears: 51 percent
- Dresses inappropriately: 50 percent
- Talks negatively about current or previous employers: 48 percent
- Knows nothing about the job or company: 45 percent
- Has unprofessional body language: 43 percent
- Knows nothing about the industry or competitors: 35 percent