Every job seeker wants to stand out from the competition, but some candidates go about it all wrong.
“It’s hard to say why a candidate would do some of these things,” Rosemary Haefner, chief human-resources officer for CareerBuilder, tells Business Insider. “Maybe he or she is nervous, thinks an employer would find it funny, or perhaps the candidate simply has no boundaries.”
“Regardless,” Haefner says, “it could cost the candidate the job, so funny or not, it’s likely not worth risking it with these actions. Your nerves can make you freeze up under the spotlight, and that’s normal. How you handle that is what matters.”
More than 2,600 hiring managers and employers shared with CareerBuilder the most memorable job-interview mistakes candidates have made. Here are 25 of the most unusual things that happened:
• When asked what the candidate’s ideal job was, they said “painter of birdhouses,” even though they were interviewing for a data-entry clerk position.
• A candidate said her hair was perfect when asked why she should become part of the team.
• When asked why he wanted the position, a candidate replied, “My wife wants me to get a job.”
• A candidate said he wouldn’t be willing to wear slacks because they don’t feel good.
• A candidate stated that if the interviewer wanted to get to heaven, she would hire him.
- Flickr / Nathan Jones
• A candidate asked to step away to call his wife to ask her if the starting salary was enough before he agreed to continue with the interview.
• A candidate brought his childhood toys to the interview.
- Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
• A candidate started screaming that the interview was taking too long.
• A candidate ate a pizza he brought with him (and didn’t offer to share).
• A candidate said her main job was being a psychic/medium and tried to read the interviewer’s palm, despite their attempt to decline the offer.
• A candidate invited the interviewer to dinner afterwards.
• A candidate started feeling the interviewer’s chest to find a heartbeat so they could “connect heart to heart.”
• Interviewing for a job at a hotel, a candidate asked if it would be OK to also live in the hotel.
• A candidate asked where the nearest bar was located.
• A candidate asked the interviewer why her aura didn’t like the candidate.
• A candidate put lotion on their feet during the interview.
• A candidate took a phone interview in the bathroom – and flushed.
• A candidate ate crumbs off the table.
Just plain bizarre
- Keith Bedford/Reuters
• A candidate spread confetti around during the interview.
• A candidate took a family photo off of the interviewer’s desk and put it in her purse.
• A candidate sang her responses to questions.
• A candidate brought a pet bird with them.
- Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
• A candidate shared a story about finding a dead body.
• A candidate said she didn’t want to leave her old job, but her boyfriend really wanted her to work for the company she was interviewing for so she could get a discount on products.
• A candidate bragged about the fact that they were in the local newspaper for allegedly stealing a treadmill from an older woman’s house.
Jacquelyn Smith contributed to an earlier version of this article.