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Employers share strangest interview mishaps


Half of employers know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good fit for a position.
Lying, answering a cell phone or appearing arrogant among hiring managers are top deal breakers.

It happens all the time: You're ready for your job interview. You spend countless hours preparing your standard responses, researching the company and the role. Yet, despite your extensive prep work, the interview doesn't pan out the way you had hoped. In a new survey, employers shared the most memorable job interview mistakes candidates have made and how body language can hinder their chances of moving forward in the interview process.

According to the nationwide survey, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from November 4 to December 1, 2015 among more than 2,500 hiring and human resource managers (of which, more than 2,300 are in the private sector), while candidates might take their time when prepping for an interview, it doesn't take long for a hiring manager to make a decision. 50 percent of employers know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good fit for a position — on par with 49 percent last year.

The 10 strangest things people have done in job interviews

When asked to share the biggest mistakes or most unusual things job candidates have done during the interview process, employers and hiring managers recalled the following:

- Candidate took a family photo off of interviewer's desk and put it into her purse;
- Candidate started screaming that the interview was taking too long;
- Candidate 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, candidate said "painter of birdhouses." (Company was hiring for a data entry clerk.);
- Candidate sang her responses to questions;
- Candidate put lotion on his/her feet during the interview;
- When asked why he wanted the position, candidate replied, "My wife wants me to get a job.";
- Candidate started feeling interviewer's chest to find a heartbeat so they could "connect heart to heart.";
- Candidate had a pet bird in his/her shirt; and
- Candidate took phone interview in the bathroom - and flushed.

Body language mistakes that can cost you the job

An impressive resume and cover letter can get a candidate an interview; however, body language mistakes can completely undermine these assets and derail a candidate's chances of getting hired. When asked to identify the biggest body language mistakes job seekers make, hiring managers named the following:

- Failing to make eye contact: 67 percent;
- Failing to smile: 39 percent;
- Playing with something on the table: 33 percent;
- Having bad posture: 30 percent;
- Fidgeting too much in their seats: 30 percent;
- Crossing their arms over their chests: 29 percent;
- Playing with their hair or touching their faces: 27 percent;
- Having a weak handshake: 21 percent;
- Using too many hand gestures: 11 percent; and
- Having a handshake that was too strong: 7 percent.

Five ways to ruin a job interview

What are the common mistakes you need to avoid to ace your interview? Here are five instant deal breakers, according to employers:

- Candidate is caught lying about something: 69 percent;
- Candidate answers a cell phone or text during the interview: 68 percent;
- Candidate appears arrogant or entitled: 60 percent;
- Candidate dresses inappropriately: 50 percent; and
- Candidate swears: 50 percent.

Preparing for an interview takes a lot more than Googling answers to common interview questions. 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 following three tips can help to ensure a successful interview:

Do your research. Research the company before the interview and learn as much as possible about its services, products, customers and competition. That will give you an edge in understanding and addressing the company's needs.

Interview yourself for the position. Before the interview, ask yourself: "Why am I a good fit for this job?" Then practice answering typical interview questions with a friend, colleague or coach.

The most common questions include:

- Tell me about yourself: 55 percent;
- Why do you want this job? 50 percent;
- Why did you leave your last job? 50 percent;
- What is your greatest strength and greatest weakness? 49 percent; and
- Describe a difficult work situation and how you overcame it: 48 percent.

Be positive. Plan to answer all questions positively and with enthusiasm. Never say anything negative about your prior employers or bosses, no matter how bad the situation may have been.

Rosemary Haefner is the chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder.
Sourced from CareerBuilder.

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