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Interview and Body Language Mistakes That Can Cost You the Job


Almost half of employers (49 percent) know if a candidate is a good fit for the job within the first five minutes of an interview. That’s according to a new survey by CareerBuilder that asked employers about the most memorable interview mistakes candidates have made.  These employers had plenty to say about the sometimes hilarious, often cringe-worthy things candidates have done or said during an interview.

Unusual Interview Blunders

The survey asked hiring managers and human resource representatives about the oddest or most bizarre things candidates have done during an interview and their answers are pretty entertaining:

  • Candidate did not have the skills to do the job and stated, “Fake it until you make it” as his personal philosophy.
  • Candidate asked interviewer if she was qualified to be doing her job.
  • Candidate asked for a cocktail.
  • Candidate asked to taste the interviewer’s coffee.
  • Candidate called a government job “something government-y.”
  • Candidate came to interview wearing slippers.
  • Candidate wore a Darth Vader outfit to the interview.
  • Candidate spent a lot of time quoting Dwight D. Eisenhower, which had nothing to do with the position he was interviewing for.
  • Candidate leaned far forward with his head down during the first five minutes of the interview.
  • Candidate offered interviewer pumpkins and said they transfer good energy.
  • Candidate pulled out a bag of drugs with his keys.
  • Candidate broke out in song in the middle of the interview.

Instant Deal Breakers

No one expects you to be perfect in an interview. But there are a number of things employers say are instant deal breakers:

  • Candidate is caught lying about something: 71 percent
  • Candidate answers a cell phone or texts during the interview: 67 percent
  • Candidate appears arrogant or entitled: 59 percent
  • Candidate appears to have a lack of accountability: 52 percent
  • Candidate swears: 51 percent
  • Candidate dresses inappropriately: 50 percent
  • Candidate talks negatively about current or previous employers: 48 percent
  • Candidate knows nothing about the job or company: 45 percent
  • Candidate has unprofessional body language: 43 percent
  • Candidate knows nothing about the industry or competitors: 35 percent

Biggest Body Language Blunders

From the handshake when you meet the hiring manager to the way you sit during the interview, your body language can communicate a lot about you. Here are some body language blunders that employers say can tank your chances of landing the job:

  • Failure to make eye contact: 68 percent
  • Failure to smile: 38 percent
  • Playing with something on the table: 36 percent
  • Fidgeting too much in his/her seat: 32 percent
  • Bad posture: 31 percent
  • Crossing their arms over their chest: 31 percent
  • Playing with hair or touching one’s face: 26 percent
  • Handshake that is too weak: 22 percent
  • Using too many hand gestures: 13 percent
  • Handshake is too strong: 8 percent


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