Much like a highly-anticipated first date, a job interview can go from pure potential to pure disaster in mere minutes.

While there’s a lot of advice out there about what you should do to have a successful job interview, here, we look at the flipside with this list of wacky real-life interview blunders.

facepalm oh no ugh

What not to do during a job interview

Employers across the US shared the most memorable job interview mistakes candidates have made in response to three annual surveys from job search site CareerBuilder.

According to the nationwide survey reported in 2015, 49 percent of employers know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good fit for a position. By fifteen minutes in, that number reaches 90 percent.

Strange but true job interview fails

Inexperience with proper interview etiquette or the pressure to make a lasting impression on a prospective employer can sometimes cause workers to show surprising errors in judgment.

To illustrate this point, hiring managers provided real-life examples of the most peculiar behaviors they witnessed in job interviews.

The job candidate…
  1. … introduced himself by name, then said, “But you can call me Tigger! That is the nickname I gave myself.”
  2. … tried to Google the answer to a question.
  3. … being interviewed asked to be paid “under the table.”
  4. … attempted to secretly record the interview.
  5. … commented that he would do whatever it takes to get the job done, legal or not.
  6. … said he didn’t like getting up early and didn’t like to read.
  7. … said he didn’t want the job if he had to work a lot.
  8. … wouldn’t answer a question because he thought they would steal his idea and not hire him.
  9. … said he had to quit a banking position because he was always tempted to steal.
  10. … gave the reason for leaving the previous position as “kicking someone’s butt that really needed it.”
  11. … sat in a yoga pose during the interview.
  12. … wanted to know the name and phone number of the receptionist because he really liked her.
  13. … asked how much money everyone else makes.
  14. … popped out his teeth when discussing dental benefits.
  15. … used the term “off the boat” in answer to a question about diversity.
  16. … called his wife to see what they were having for dinner.
  17. … kept her iPod headphones on during the interview.
  18. … kept fidgeting and repositioning his duffel bag, which turned out to have a dog inside.
  19. … denied that he had a cell phone with him, even though it could be heard ringing in his briefcase.
  20. … called himself his own personal hero.
  21. … checked Facebook during the interview.
  22. … reached over and placed a hand on the interviewer’s knee.
  23. … said that he questioned his daughter’s paternity.
  24. … asked if he could offer religious advice to the employees.
  25. … asked to postpone the start date so she could still get holiday gifts from vendors at her current job.
  26. … acted out a Star Trek role.
  27. … answered a phone call for an interview with a competitor.
  28. … arrived in a jogging suit because he was going running after the interview.
  29. … set fire to the interviewer’s newspaper while reading it when the interviewer said “impress me.”
  30. … brought personal photo albums.
  31. … asked for a hug.
  32. … hugged the president of the company.
  33. … called in sick to her current employer during the interview, faking an illness.
  34. … asked if his wife, who worked at the company for which he was interviewing, was cheating on him.
  35. … brought about 50 ink pens to the interview and proceeded to spread them out on the table.
  36. … crashed her car into the building.
  37. … emptied the employer’s candy dish into her pocket.
  38. … warned the interviewer that she “took too much valium” and didn’t think her interview was indicative of her personality

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About The Author

The Myria Editors

Myria, originally launched in 1998, strives to deliver more conversation, and less gossip. More intelligence, less eye-rolling. More acceptance, less judgment. And throughout the site: more needle, less haystack. Through life's ups, downs, and everything in between, we want to encourage you, support you, and help guide you. The team behind Myria understands that status updates and selfies never tell the whole story, and that we all have stuff to deal with, and that's nothing you need to hide here. Beyond "been there, done that" - every day, we're still there and still doing it. That's how we know: You've got this.


About: The surveys referenced within were conducted online within the US during 2012, 2013 and 2014 by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder.

Photo credit(s): Facepalm photo thanks to jazbeck

Original publication date: Jan. 9, 2013, Jan. 16, 2014 & Jan. 15, 2015

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