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Interviewees who are not to be forgotten — or hired!

By January 20, 2016July 23rd, 2018Human Resources

by Laura Pokrzywa

Last week,interview blog1 our recruiting expert, Derek Ross, presented key steps for finding your best hire. This week we thought it would be fun to step away from the ideal picture and take a look at some outrageous, but real, interview experiences reported in a recent survey by

More than 3,000 hiring managers and HInterview blogR professionals were asked to describe the most unusual things candidates have done during an interview this past year. These are all clear signs that you have not yet found your ideal candidate. Making the Top 10 List this year are the candidates who:

  1. Answered cell phone and asked the interviewer to leave her own office because it was a “private” conversation.
  2. Told the interviewer he wouldn’t be able to stay with the job long because he thought he might get an inheritance if his uncle died – and his uncle “wasn’t looking too good.
  3. Asked the interviewer for a ride home after the interview.
  4. Smelled his armpits on the way to the interview room.
  5. Said she could not provide a writing sample because all of her writing had been for the CIA and it was “classified.”
  6. Told the interviewer he was fired for beating up his last boss.
  7. Declined an offer of food before the interview, saying that he didn’t want to line his stomach with grease before going out drinking.
  8. interview blog2Said she was a “people person,” not a “numbers person,” even though she was interviewing for an accounting position.
  9. Flushed the toilet while talking to the interviewer during a phone interview.
  10. Took out a hair brush and brushed her hair mid-interview.

Though these were noted as the most outrageous moments, employers also reported more common mistakes candidates have made during an interview. These interview blog7included interviewees being inappropriately dressed, speaking negatively about a current or previous employer, and appearing disinterested during the interview. Arrogance, vague answers and a lack of good questions from the interviewee also got candidates rejected.

Interviewees aren’t the only ones who can make or break an interview. As Derek told us last week, the hiring manager and HR professional need to do their part to properly prepare. If you will be participating in an interview, be sure to carefully review the candidate’s cover letter and resume before you meet. Become familiar with the companies and roles listed, if possible. When you first meet, don’t get stuck on your first impression. Though it is often a good indicator, it is not perfectly reliable. Give them a chance to address each of your carefully prepared questions (see Derek’s previous blog for more details).

If you have done your work, and the candidates have presented themselves well, you should be well on your way to finding your best hire. If, however, you run into the unexpected and need a little help with your hiring process, give us a call at 855-873-0374 or email us at

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