How NOT to Act at a Job Interview

fish swimming aroundSuccessful job seekers know how to prepare for an interview: Smart outfit? Check. Researched company? Check. Prepared interview answers? Check. But just as there are those who know exactly how to act on the big day, there are just as many who are completely clueless. A recent CareerBuilder survey of 850 hiring managers revealed that 70 percent of organizations have experienced at least one weird, strange, and outright bizarre behavior during an interview which, consequently, ruined any chances of a job offer.

For starters, everyone knows that you can’t get a job if you won’t even show up for an interview, right? Not so said many of the surveyed hiring managers who reported having witnessed no-show applicants on several occasions. In several related events, some candidates were reported to appear so bored that they frequently checked their watches. One job seeker in particular was so pressed for time that he continually asked the interviewer to speed up the process so that he could make it to the bus stop on time. One reported occasion that is even more out there occurred when an applicant said the company “had a black aura” then exited the building.

It is a well-known adage that first impressions are the most important. Apparently to some, however, that concept does not extend to methods of dress. While most hiring managers have their fair share of experiences where applicants arrive in t-shirts and jeans, only the truly fortunate get to experience the spectacle of candidates arriving in housecoat and slippers or a bathing suit. Impeccable professional attire aside, odd behavior can go just as far towards ruining a job opportunity. Just ask the surveyed hiring managers who’ve sat through candidates singing the national anthem, trying to sell a car, or demonstrating yoga skills.

While anxiety is a normal response to the unknown, and can sometimes actually be beneficial to those being interviewed. But when nervousness outshines all other traits as a defining personal characteristic, it can easily turn a potential career-making job opportunity into a fiasco. Some hiring managers reported applicants who displayed behaviors ranging from mad babbling to uncontrolled giggling to incontinence. Other applicants vomited or even forgot what job they were applying for, altogether.

Honesty is always the best (and really only) policy in interview situations. Being caught in a lie during an interview means an immediate dismissal and irreparable damage to your professional reputation. However, being too forthcoming can also lead to awkward, and potentially damaging, interview faux pas. For instance, while your main motivation for working a job may be the salary or another major corporate perk, you wouldn’t share that in an interview.  However, some people do this very thing, as reported by multiple hiring managers during the survey. One applicant admitted that her primary reason for applying for a job was because she needed the company’s health insurance. Another went so far as to reveal that he was already prepared to retire in a matter of months.

An employer wants employees who fit well within a corporate culture and who are motivated to help the company in every way possible. Revealing deep, potentially troubling, issues (such as desperation, dishonesty, irresponsibility, or lack of professionalism) during an interview may serve only to hasten the end of an interview. Staying professional (in appearance and behavior), honest, dependable and confident remains one of the most potent actions you can take to ensure making a positive and lasting impression upon your potential employer-to-be.

 

 

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Joshua Bjerke
Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.