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10 Crazy Job Interview Mistakes People Actually Made

Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks

Learn from these interview mistakes.

Answering cell phone calls and appearing disinterested are surefire ways to make the wrong impression during a job interview, but new research shows that's just the tip of the inappropriateness iceberg when it comes to how some job-seekers are missing their mark.

In addition to highlighting the most common interview mistakes, which include texting during the interview, dressing inappropriately, chewing gum and talking badly about past employers, a new CareerBuilder study also reveals some of the most unusual interview experiences reported by human resources professionals. Among them:

  1. The candidate brought a "how to interview" book with him to the interview.

  2. The candidate asked, "What company is this again?"

  3. The candidate put the interviewer on hold during a phone interview. When she came back on the line, she told the interviewer she had a date set up for Friday.

  4. The candidate wore a Boy Scout uniform and never told interviewers why.

  5. The candidate talked about promptness as one of her strengths after showing up 10 minutes late.

  6. On the way to the interview, the candidate passed, cut off and flipped his middle finger at a driver who happened to be the interviewer.

  7. The candidate took off his shoes during the interview.

  8. The candidate asked for a sip of the interviewer's coffee.

  9. When a candidate interviewing for a security position wasn't hired on the spot, he painted graffiti on the building.

  10. Candidate was arrested by federal authorities during the interview when the background check revealed the person had an outstanding warrant.

  11. Candidate told the interviewer she wasn't sure if the job offered was worth "starting the car for."

"It may seem unlikely that candidates would ever answer a cellphone during an interview, or wear shorts, but when we talk to hiring managers, we remarkably hear these stories all of the time," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder.

Lucky for interviewers, she notes that standing out from the crowd – in a good way – is typically a bigger issue for most job-seekers than avoiding a big mistake.

Haefner said a successful interview is a presentation that marries the job-seeker's personality and professional experience to the needs of the hiring manager and the company. She recommends the following interview tips:

Do your research

Before the interview, research the company online by looking at their press room for recent company news, the "About Us" section for information about the company culture, and the list of products and services so you are familiar with all they do.

Keep it upbeat

During the interview, stay positive and avoid bad-mouthing previous employers.

Prepare examples and ideas

Bring your resume to life by practicing specific anecdotes that highlight your accomplishments and the ways in which you dealt with challenges in your past roles. Be prepared to share ideas of what you would bring to the position.

The research was based on surveys of more than 3,000 hiring managers and human resources professionals.

Image Credit: fizkes / Getty Images
Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks
Business News Daily Staff
Chad Brooks is a writer and editor with more than 20 years of media of experience. He has been with Business News Daily and for the past decade, having written and edited content focused specifically on small businesses and entrepreneurship. Chad spearheads coverage of small business communication services, including business phone systems, video conferencing services and conference call solutions. His work has appeared on The Huffington Post,,, Live Science, IT Tech News Daily, Tech News Daily, Security News Daily and Laptop Mag. Chad's first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014.