How not to get hired: Bring your cockatoo to the interview

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You might have heard an urban legend about a job seeker who goes on a lunch interview with his potential boss. When the meal arrives, the job seeker sprinkles salt on his food before tasting it. Immediately the employer knows she has no interest in hiring this man. The job seeker isn’t flexible but he is presumptuous. No one wants to hire a rigid worker.

If you think about the persnickety habits of employers who don’t have time to waste on unqualified candidates, the story doesn’t seem too outrageous. After all, employers often spend less than a minute reading a résumé and they’ll toss your application in the wastebasket if you have a typo or don’t include a cover letter. Even a handshake can ruin your chances of landing the job. True or not—and in the case of the sodium-loving job seeker, probably not true—the story is a reminder not to give employers a reason to pick someone else. Everything you do is being used to decide whether or not you’re a good fit for the position.

Apparently not all job seekers know this. According to a recent Robert Half survey, job seekers keep making some egregious interview errors that are so outstanding you want to believe they’re joking. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Staffing firm Robert Half asked hiring managers to recount some of the most outstanding interview mistakes they’ve experienced or heard of, and the answers are almost unbelievable.

Some mistakes were peculiar:

  • “The candidate sent his sister to interview in his place.”
  • “One candidate sang all of her responses to interview questions.”
  • “When asked by the hiring manager if he had any questions for him, the candidate replied by telling a knock-knock joke.”
  • “An applicant wore the uniform from his former employer.”
  • “One prospect told me all of the reasons he shouldn’t be hired.”
  • “The candidate said she would really prefer a job offer from our competitor.”

Some were odd violations of interview etiquette:

  • “When asked by the hiring manager why she was leaving her current job, the applicant said, ‘My manager is a jerk. All managers are jerks.’”
  • “One individual said we had nice benefits, which was good because he was going to need to take a lot of leave in the next year.”
  • “An individual applied for a customer service job, and when asked what he might not like about the job, he said, ‘dealing with people.’”
  • “I interviewed someone who had a jawbreaker in her mouth during the entire interview.”
  • “A person came to the interview in pajamas with slippers.”
  • “The applicant told me he really was not interested in the position, but he liked that we allowed for a lot of time off.”

Others mistakes were bold but very misguided:

  • “One candidate handcuffed himself to the desk during the interview.”
  • “After being complimented on his choice of college and the GPA he achieved, the candidate replied, ‘I’m glad that got your attention. I didn’t really go there.’”
  • “A job applicant came in for an interview with a cockatoo on his shoulder.”
  • “The candidate arrived in a cat suit.”

Although job seekers are constantly looking for ways to stand out and impress interviewers, all of the above applicants stand out for the wrong reasons. Here are some basic guidelines to get you through an interview:

Mind your manners
Be polite, give a firm handshake, make eye contact, engage in conversation. Employers want to hire a nice person they’ll get along with, and finding out if you’re that person is one of the reasons they’re interviewing you.

Have innovative ideas
Handcuffing yourself to the interviewer’s desk says nothing about your skills. In fact, it overshadows your skills and experience. Rather than rely on gimmicks to grab the hiring manager’s attention, have some creative ideas to offer. Having some examples of what you’d like to do if you joined the company shows that you’re already thinking like a standout.

Dress appropriately
A cat suit isn’t really appropriate for most professional settings, nor is wearing a bird as an accessory. Few employers will be impressed by loud, flashy apparel unless you’re in a creative industry with a lax dress code. Stick to the industry norm when dressing for the interview. A professional but bright necktie or scarf can show your personality without becoming more memorable than you.

Ask yourself what the employer will remember
Whenever you’re thinking of taking a risk in an interview, whether it’s wearing a cat suit or sending your sister to the interview in your place, just ask yourself if there’s a reason people don’t normally do it. If you can think of one way, or many, that the plan could backfire, reconsider.

How about you, job seekers–have you ever looked back at a past interview and realized you made an outrageous mistake that causes you to cringe even to this day?

      • avatar
        I love The Interracial R-o-m-ance! It is so nice. My boyfriend and i both think so. lol. I know him via (HotBlackWhite).(C0M​) – a nice place for black white singles, to interact with each other…no bounds or extremes in front of true love. . …@love it

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        • Interratial romances happen, they’re OK, they’re been around since the beginning of time. Avatar is a movie, we Americans need to separate fantasy fron the real world or else our heads are clouded by smoke.
          Interracial romances have a downsize: Their children are undefined, unpure, and usually unaccepted by either one’s race. Their selfish parents don’t see this, they’re too involved with their “romance”.

          • WFT? “Unpure” What century are you living in? Are you so sure about your lineage? Bi-racial cildren are not the phenomena you make them out to be. Crawl back into your cave cretin!

          • first of all, there is *only* one race — the human race. All else are ethnicities. Everyone is descended from Africans (Human Genome Project anyone??). Immediate ancestry on mother’s side: German and Polish; on father’s side: Cherokee, Black and Welsh. I am not confused. I consider myself a human being — more than I can say for some ignorant, bigoted “people”. There has been mixing of the ethnicities since time began. It’s going on now and will *always* go on. Get used to it. We are walking among you LOL. As for all the dire predictions re: “children of mixed race”, I am an ex-Playboy Bunny (so, not lacking in the looks dept.) and am CEO of the company where I now work (so, not lacking in the brains dept. either).

          • Albert, don’t spout this crap out on the internet, please.
            That’s Prejudice in the capital extreme.
            Everyone is probably ‘mixed bred’ to some small degree.
            And please keep your conversations to the subject/theme of this website-
            it’s about interviewing for jobs.

          • Umm excuse me… You people are missing the whole point of the article! I am interacial and have seen my share of prejudice in this world. I have had teachers purposely ignore me, kids whose parents won’t let me play with them (the kids), and snide comments made behind my back. In my 14 years of life I learned that people can be mean but instead of telling them that, just do not associate with them.

        • I think this was the person who went to the interview with the cockatoo. similar stupidness so it MUST be the same person

      • Yeah he was thinking this isnt going to help us buy bird seed. I better fly away let this guy find for himself

    • I would love to ask that guy. “What are you some sort of pirate?” Most likely he would reply. “Avast ye land lubbers I am here for ye booty!”

      (And I use the term “booty” in the manner of gold debloons not the new age meening of it)

  1. It’s amazing how similar pettiness in not getting a job is like why marriages end, especially if the stories of the salt on the food or not liking your handshake is true of course.

    I think our country’s ridiculously high divorce rate is affecting the way we do business. Let’s get back to excellence in everything we do and we WILL make it! =)

    • I believe a handshake can be a good sign of who you would be trying to interview. It just makes a good impression for me. I am going to be just a sophomore next year, though where I come from a solid hand shake is about as good of a first impression as you can make.

      -As for salt??? I have no idea.

          • That’s true…I had a guy try to give me a three part inner city handshake for a corporate position. In some settings MAYBE that might be okay. But not for a corporate white collar position….Just my opinion

      • When you put salt on your food before you taste it it shows you have, umm how to say this…. No life in a sense because you dont want to see how it tastes before you add the salt. What if you taste it first and its already salted the way you like, or even over salted… Its just one of those “things”!

  2. I have this thing where employers want “Highly motivated” people in their company or job field. I agree which is all fine and well however….
    Realistically, you DO need a job just for the paycheck. While you’re searching, prioritizing and trying your best to improve your resume to the best standards possible while unemployed to impress employers; You have to keep eating and paying the bills something that doesn’t come to you without having a job. For me, there are “jobs” the ones you use to pay the bills and put gas in the car and a “career” where you are Highly Motivated to go to work each day and worked like hell in college to get a degree in order to get that Entry level job in that career you would love to do for years and years. So my point is you can’t always have “highly motivated” people in a line of work because seriously would be “highly motivated” to work in McDonald’s or Burger King?

    • So well said. I agree with you 100%. I always dreaded that one question that all employers ask, “So why should we hire you?” Everyone, including myself, want to be able to have that intelligent answer to come back with. However, the real reason is “because I have bills and need a Job”. So many times I would have like to say that. But don’t dare.

      • You’re still thinking of why you need the job. To answer that question, think of what the employer needs. What does the employer need in the position you are interviewing for? When you figure that out, then you match your skills to the position.

        For example, if the job requires someone to have high accuracy while working at a fast pace, then stress your ability to work fast while being accurate with attention to detail.
        If the job requires creativity, then tell the employer how you will be creative, show examples of your creativity.

        Employers also like to know how you will save them money, or how you will make money for them.

        • appreciate the useful info as i am hoping to be called in for an interview. I also plan on looking up the company online so as to, at the very least, be a little educated about the company to make a good impression=

        • So true. I recently received a resume from someone who spent a whole cover letter describing what SHE wanted from a job, and nothing about what she could give TO the job. Next, please…

      • I agree with you.However, I do think that if you said this in a “softer” way, using different words, it is still ok, the employers would understand and even respect your honesty. But saying: “because you guys give me a lot of time off…I hate dealing with people..etc”…whiew, that would qualify for a reality show. I wonder if the interviewees are in fact young people who have been watching too many reality shows! After all, a culture of lying, cheating, flashing, and especially being stupid has been around for a decade now on TV. The then teenagers are young professionals today, who knows? Maybe this is more real when we think.

      • I agree with you as well; job vs. career, and it is true, we all need money in order to survive and pay our bills, eat, and have a roof over our heads. The biggest obsticle I’ve come up against interviewing (I am currently unemployed) or even searching the web is the ridiculous pay employers/companies are offering for the huge laundry lists of skills they require. I have seen EXECUTIVE positions offering $10/hr! and the list of requirements and skill sets were ridiculous! I know the economy is bad, but really? I believe that where we are at right now in this financial downturn is essentially that they have us by the short-hairs! We need them more than they need us, and they’re paying just over minimum wage for God’s sake! How are honest, hard-working people supposed to survive???

    • McDonalds or BK will still be looking for the best possible people they can hire. If you walked into an interview with them with the attitude that this is just a job to fill my gas tank until my illustrious career gets off the ground you will lose out to an applicant who really wants or needs the position more than you. Which is the point of the article.

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  4. Let’s face it, people are at their interviewers mercy. I while heartedly agree with what Diane said about “highly motivated” people and is a ton of B.S. that goes into any job interview strictly because the interviewers opinion of all that matters. The interview process is 100% subjective which means you have to suck it up and basically do your best to imposes each individual in a way specific to each.

    • Matt,it is heartily not heartedly ,opinion is all tht matters not opinion of all that matters,and impress each individual not imposes which does not even make sense.

    • Whenever I am interviewing someone for an open position, I see a lot of the same thing, over and over again. I do NOT ask why I should hire you, but I DO ask what motivates you to want to work at our company. I see the same thing, time and time again. Stiff, impersonal, rehearsed answers to questions they expect to be asked.
      Once that part is over, I ask the applicant to take off the “interview face”, and TALK to me, just like a regular person, not like I am the one who decided whether you can pay your bills this month or not. It probably sounds like an uncommon way to interview, but I have had a lot of success doing it that way.
      In my 8 year tenure with my company, I have hired 2 people who did not work out. Both lasted less than a month. For the most part, though, the ones that I have hired that way have stayed with the company a minimum of 2 years before being promoted or moving to another location, but are still with the company. I think that is a pretty good track record.
      On the other hand, I do live in Florida. Therefore, I have had people come in to interview in shorts and a tank top, mini skirts and way too much cleavage for an office setting (i guess she thought it was Hooters or something), and even some looking like they just crawled out of bed, or out from under the car they were repairing in their back yard!
      My advice is to try and at least know a little something about the company you are applying to work with, try to be professional and know what you are talking about. But, above all, BE YOURSELF!!

      • I suspect that the vast majority of HR recruiters are douchebags. In my company, HR recruiters who are not even dry behind the ears attempt to bully experienced professionals into complying with a hriing process that was essentially designed for unskilled workers. They also get angry if said professionals do not comply with their recruiting schedules; they seem to have absolutely no clue what professionals do. Furthermore, most corporate HR departments rely heavily on resume search “tools” that regularly reject qualified applicants due to their inflexibility. (Spelling and grammar have very little to do with it). Then they complain that they can’t find any suitable candidates and hire people from India under the h1B program.

    • “Highly Motivated”. Two-edged phrase if I ever heard one.
      One could point out- I am highly motivated to interview for this position because I do need a job therefore, I am motivated to keep it and do what is required. On the other hand, IF it IS a career choice, then I would be even more inclined to be Highly Motivated just because I love what I’m doing.

      I also strongly believe in showing my everyday persona to prospective employers especially since I’m not very good at acting. I’d not be able to keep up a charade for very long so why try? Just show the real you, If the employer or anyone in life does not appreciate the real you, then you were not fitted for that position to be begin with. I may be wrong, however, I’ve been very happy with employers who accept ME and my personality as it is. I’ve also been very lucky my JOB SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, AND EXPERIENCE spoke for me.

  5. My question is what positions were they applying for? I have been in HR for 15 years and never had anyone come for an interview in a cat suit or handcuff themselves to a desk.
    I would say the most common problem is talking yourself right out of the job. Usually they have a great resume but when you meet them in person they either don’t have the skills needed or seem too junior or too senior for the position. Or its a salary issue. So basically this article is just for shock value.

    • Since you have been in hr for 15 years, what advice can you give someone from the hiring manager’s perspective. Also, what do you mean by someone talking themself out of the job. Any help will be appreciated.

      • Hiring Managers are looking a) at your skills and with them your ability to do the job b) your ability to function with a variety of other people in a team and lastly whether you have a spark that makes you stand out and indicates you might add value gto the organisation. Its simple enough to rule out people who dont meet criteria a) and b) but depending on who you are up against it may not be enough without c). At the end of a long day of interviewing, if they have trouble remembering you, you will get ruled out. That is why courtesy, interest and eye contact are important as they are the reason many of us remember people. As for talking yourself out of the job, it is surprisingly easy… The use of “I dont” and “I wont” as in “I wont work weekends no matter what…”, even when weekend work has not been discussed are sure fire ways of talking yourself out of a job. Another favorite is being too verbose with your answers and not giving the interviewer a chance to speak (I once had a candidate spend 40 minutes with a rambling answer to the first question. I finally could not stand it and stopped them, told them it would not work out and left). Good Luck!

        • Great points, Capt. Kirk. Yet isn’t it ironic that your comment is filled with a dozen or so grammatical or punctuation errors that, if they were on your resume, they could have led you to be eliminated from a list of job candidates?

      • Always ask how the company will measure your a success on the job or not. That’ll get the interviewer talking about the REAL requirements, give you a chance to decide whether you really want the job and help you formulate the right questions. The latter is the most important part of the interview – your questions and subsequent discussion show whether you’ve prepared yourself for the interview; a cogent comment comment or two on how you would achieve success would not go amiss; it’s okay to be wrong (because you won’t know how the company does things) but you must back up your argument sensibly. BTW, it’s always good to get the interviewer to talk – he/she will be left with the impression that you’re smart.

      • People disclose too much unnecessary information during the interview. I think it is a common issue that most people do from time to time though, especially during harsh economic times. Another problem is inept hiring managers who should have never been given the responsibility of hiring anyone for anything. In another forum the topic was that very issue and somebody’s reply was, “they do those things on purpose to put you in an uncomfortable situation to see how you will react.” I am sure that is the case sometimes, but more times than not it is becuase the person hiring you should not be there. Another annoying situation is when you are interviewing for an $8/hr job and they treat it lke you might be the next CEO. I had an interview last 2 hours with over 200 pre-made questions about stupidity for a job at a phone retail store.

        • Exactly! I had to fill out a questionnaire to be a cashier at Dollar General. What is crazy is that I did not get the job,and I have a bachelor’s degree and am in graduate school. The people that do work there are not educated to say the least. So, if I did not pass this test, how the Heck did they??? I think it is total BS.

          • There is such thing as being “over qualified”. It costs an employer alot of money and time to get new employees trained. You have college degrees, they are worried you will find a better career and just leave that company.

          • I would guess that they determined that you were over-qualified for the job and if they hired you, you would not stay long. Also, you were probably better educated that the store manager. LOL.

          • On the question test that are: I agree stongly, strongly disagree or no answer how exactly should you answer? What is the employer looking for in asking the same question but in a different form?

    • First, I agree with CB re: this article. Not much content and not too helpful. Most of the people making these replies wouldn’t make the cut either. You need to be clear and write well to communicate in the business world. Getting the interview should be the first step and presenting your talents, abilities, experience and education in a clear manner is second. The chance for a follow-up can almost always be offered.

    • CH & Tricia appear to be H.R. specialist of some kind or the other. Their replies alone show that. And also the obvious problem with almost ALL H.R. personnel. For them it’s all about the power and control, not getting the right person for the job. In most cases, them have no idea how to fill the positions they have posted, or the who the right person actually is for the job. If they called you in for the interview, it’s a dog and pony show from there. Remember “the cup half empty” routine. If you get cup half full questions during an interview, you’re in good position for the job. Cup half empty… get up and walk out, because they’re just wasting your time!

      • Dear Cowboy, From my experince your replies are the most realistic. they really are. you mentioned that your into HR, really i wish we had an HR person like you in our company.

        As for the HR Man, your analysis of the article is so unprofessinal that i’m wondering if you work in our company!?

      • I was talking to an HR director in our company once and her senior recruiter came to update her about an interview they both had apparently conducted for a candidate. She came to tell her that “he” had finally made up his mind and is willing to accept the offer (he kept them waiting for a few days to think about it). The recruiter was so excited for this update that she forgot that I was standing there. She asked the senior director of recruitment “can I call him back and tell him that the offer is withdrawn and that we’ve decided to go with someone else?”. This they decided to do as punishment for keeping them waiting!!!!
        I could not believe what I was hearing. From then on I lost total respect for both of these unqualified women in HR and the whole hiring system in our company!

        • That’s how the business wolrd is. How DARE you keep them waiting when millions of people would jump at the chance. It does seem a bit INSANE to keep a job waiting on YOU to decide. I dont feel bad for anyone these days.

          • Maybe he had to discuss it with his family first, we don’t know what the requirements were for the job. Its things like this that really give interviewers a bad rep.

    • If you are in HR and when you meet that interviewee, and you judge on looks, age and your perception of them, then you are guilty of discrimination. I have been the recipient of such behavior. I work circles around people in their 20s and a lot in their 30s but when they see the gray at my temples, the job suddenly is filled but thanks for coming to interview. What?
      When is it fun for me to take time off from work and pay and then be turned down because you think I am too old for the job? I won’t be taking time off for sick kids, won’t have to come in late because of school calling and saying my child is sick or any of the other excuses you get from other younger workers.
      When I was in retail management, my best workers were the older ones, I saw their potential not their faults. You need to be retrained and sensitive.

      • The real problem is that maybe a person has been in HR for 15 years. Well maybe it’s time to move on!

        No, not really. What is happening appears to be that no one really knows what they want other than people that are willing to take a job that pays almost nothing, work ridiculous hours, and be a drone.

        Skilled people are really out there and recruiters keep saying you are either under experienced or over-experienced. They don’t even seem to know what they want.

        If you are over 40 ( the old 40 is the new 60) you are less likely to get the job because you are older and wiser to what the game is. You can be the most experienced and educated person, bu that is the problem.

        Take a bird in on your shoulder, handcuff yourself to the desk or do some other stunt and most likely a SWAT team will be showing up.

        We need real jobs that pay decent wages were we are treated like valued people. Not the commodities that we are being viewed as for now.

    • ok i usually just read what you all say, but this really upset me. to junior or senior? that my dear is discrimination at its best. even we seniors need jobs because we are not at the retirement age yet but yet we go in to apply and all you young people see is some wrinkles not the ability to do the work or the drive we still have. Most of us seniors are a lot more reliable then the younger ones.

  6. If Anthony would have done his homework a little more closely,the story about the employer watching the candidate to see whether they salt their food is certainly Not an urban legend,but a historical fact! Also,the prospective employer was most certainly Not a she,but a He;none other than J.C.Penney! One of James Cash Penney’s tests on prospective hires would be that he would invite them out for dinner,and would observe whether the candidate would taste his food first,before adding salt! During a visit to a store in Des Moines,Iowa in 1940,he also trained a young Sam Walton how to wrap packages,using a minimum of ribbon.

    • Isn’t it presumtuous to assume that about the dinner guest, without asking for an explanation? What if the interviewee was sweating so much, he knew he needed to restore has salt levels? What if he was falling asleep and wanted something to jolt him awake? What if he knows the owner/chef is a follower of Rev. Sylvester Graham, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, or some trendy “health guru” who believes in eating bland foods to control the “dread fever of lust”? Kidding aside, what if he ate that very meal at that very restaurant often enough to know it needs salt? What if they could see the meal being prepared? [At 3 local diners here, the customers can see the grill, and watch as their meals are prepared.]
      BTW, I like eating New England clam chowder at several restaurants here, and I *always* add black pepper before tasting the soup because I *know* it will enhance the flavor for me. Besides, I can see and smell the soup to know it needs pepper. Of course, I usually taste my food before adding any condiment. In fact, I may taste the condiment separately, such as a dipping sauce, to see how much, if any, to use.

  7. This article brings to light some excellent examples of worst-case interviews. I cannot believe that jobseekers have sunk to new lows in attempt to stand out with employers. Unfortunately for me, my speech impediment is a deterrent in my being hired for an adjunct teaching position. There are some employers that need to check themselves as well.

  8. H.R. personnel have become so discriminating and judgemental, that they don’t even realize it anymore. Obviously these were methods intended to find the perfect person for every job. But once it became clear that these tactics were only being used to weed people out, the tactics should have not only been changed but stopped all together. Because after all… all you’re doing now is finding people not to hire instead of getting the right person for the job. If your conclusion after an interview is that someone is either too junior or too senior for a position, sounds like you just discriminated against them solely based on age and appearance. That’s against the law. I once had an H.R. manager hand me a resume and say “don’t hire this person” because of all the jobs listed. Said that person was a job hopper! Well, the person who was hired, only lasted 3 weeks. So I then called the so called “job-hopper!” The job hopper has been with my company 7 years now. The H.R. manager left 6 years ago! Oh, and all those jobs on that resume, covered an almost 30 year period. We almost missed out on all those skills and all of that experience, because a lazy H.R. manager skimmed over a resume. So put your best foot forward on your resume. In an interview, dress professionally and be courteous, because if they don’t like when they first meet you, you don’t have any chance. And if the interview is full of negative questions, just apologize, get up and leave. Why waste your time, when you can be at another interview? Let them bend over and take their own B.S. for a change. You need the job, they know it and they want to make you sweat for it. That’s just not right! And tell them, I told ya so!

  9. Yes the survey results were informative, entertaining and also a true statemenent of off the wall antics people do and say in an interview. After 13 years in HR management I have seen and heard it all. In todays employment arena, your lucky to get past the web application filtering process and get on the recruiters desk. If you prepare for an interview and have the experience and personality for the position available then you have an opportunity to wow the hiring manager or the recruiter. Many HR professionals seek to make their roles easier by interviewing qualified candidates and filling the positions by people who want to perform and progress and not repeat the process every 6 weeks. Turnover greatly affects the performance of companies and the people hired to fill the positions so treat them well and they will reciprocate. Remember they called you.
    To all job seekers, I suggest not using any negative language regarding your past employers, supervisors and managers in an interview. Remember, treat an interview like courtship for a lasting true relationship. They always remember the worst.

    • I always land the interview and always get the half smile, not sure but I like you response and then never a call. I am an attractive, extremely efficient, fast worker who is as smart as they come (in grad school now A student). For all the people who did not hire me for some mousey suck up blend into the wall dork, they made very poor decisions. I never understand how I did not make the cut when I have every qualification an employer could ask for. It seems to me that they make assumptions about the interviewee such as their personal life etc. which would then make that the problem not the person being highly qualified or not. It does not seem fair to me.Just because someone seems they have a social life and a backbone should not be legitimate reasons not to hire, along with jealous women who do not hire attractive women.

  10. All HR people are incompetent, they lacking education and basic skills, not capable of doing anything else for the company, Nepotism is the way of life is not what you know is who you B—. They are only gofers and softeners for already bad situation. But dirty Heeb’s likes it that way so he can make them self look good, and Heeb’s are more incompetent then HR personnel. Not able to tie their own shoe, they have to have a Shuksa to do this for them. Stop lying to people Kelly boys and girls.

  11. I’ve always found articles like this interesting, and often entertaining. Obviously there are going to be extremes from one end to the other in anything, including those being interviewed and those conducting the interview. I’ve conducted many interviews with good and bad decisions made. Basically, an interview should be a time to get to know a person, see what their skills, potential, drive, and desire are, and if/how that would fit into the position and company. As with any good business decision, it’s trying to find the best person for the job at the best price where they are happy with us and we’re happy with them. While we’re always appreciative of a candidate’s interest and time, there are some instances when it’s more quickly determined we wouldn’t be interested in hiring the person (although I’ve never had a costume or animal show up, yet). How interesting some of the comments already made are judging HR professionals for being too judgmental.

    • This is the most educated opinion I’ve read so far on this comment section on what should be discussed and learned from a prospective employee.

  12. There is a lot of discrimination out there. Just because some one does not have a degree does not mean that they can not do the job. Experience is highly over looked these days. Also I have interviewed some people with degrees that did not understand how to react to everyday events due to the lack of experience. I have interviewed some with out degrees but have had the experience, and they have been hired over the degree candidates. These were hard working people that appreciated that they had a job.

    Recruiters don’t have a clue what they are asking, nor do they care. They will hound you daily, and once you apply you don’t hear from them again. I have asked many a recruiter questions about the job and they send me a generic job description, which tells me nothing. Some are rude and demanding. There is no consideration to the job candidates. After an interview or applying with a recruiter, it should be mandatory that their is some sort of response so that your not left hanging.

    Their are many talented hard working people that are being passed over due to the way they look or are dressed. Remember that some people can not afford the clothes to go to the interviews due their current situation. There are companies that specialize in getting suites for job candidates, however job candidates may not know how to contact these companies or that they exist. Granted coming to an interview in a cat suite or hand cuffing yourself to a desk is extreme.

    • Cyndee,
      For future reference, companies don’t provide ‘suites’ for interviewers who don’t have nice clothes, and the person didn’t wear a cat ‘suite’ to the interview. It was a cat suit.
      Sorry, I don’t mean this to be rude, but it reminded me of a nutty friend of mine who asked me why the Comfort Inn had suits!

  13. To Cindi-I agree! When I started in my field of work over 20 years ago there was no certification or “schooling”. It was something you learned by the seat of your pants. Now, everyone is asking for certification. I have been unemployed for 2 months now. I have submitted my resume to multiple offices (online of course) and have only heard back from 2 interviewers and they did the interview by phone! My resume is impeccable (2 employers in 13 years) and was laid off from the last one due to downsizing. I’m thinking that employers are afraid to hire someone with my kind of experience because they can get someone else that is adequate enough at a lower salary. What they don’t realize is that it will cost them more in the long run. Another issue is how to follow-up when you apply online and it doesn’t list any way of contacting the potential employer or even the name of the office? Very frustrating!

    • I have more than 13 years of experience in the Fashion Industry in USA and I worked as a Sales Manager and Boutique Manager, and many times! as a MUA (makeup artist), fashion stylist, wardrobe consultant for our customers! and kept the business open ’till late!!! I now lived permanentely in Australia with my family. Once I settled here, learning ‘how’ to drive on the left side of the road and so, I kept working freelancer in the fashion media, privates events, small fashion runways. I also updated my CV to the australian standars, back in January 2011 and since then I have applied to a number of recruitment companies without any success. The funniest things happened to me about two weeks ago when I got a call from one of the fashion recruitment agencies and the lady asked me ‘What does swarowski crystal means? Can somebody tell me ‘who needs’ a certificate or ‘experience’ to hire professional or passionate people willing to work right now.

    • what cracks me up about the interviewer they were sitting in the same seat being interviewed at one time so some of them need to stop acting like they own the world.

      • I completely agree with you. Interviews suck and they treat you like they are above you a lot of times. They need to quit being jerks and ease up on you, interviews are nerve racking so excuse us for being a little off. I went to an interview and the person came out to interview me late and then called me by the wrong name and I didn’t get the job? They were the one that was a mess.

        • I can totally relate to your story. I went on an interview and as I walked up, the interviewer said to me, “Barbara?”, to which I replied, “No, it’s Beth.” He then asked me if I was sure! It was an easy part-time position filling the greeting card display in a store. The interviewer informed me it was very stressful. I found that to be a strange comment, considering he had my resume. I’d been a tax preparer for a large corporation, an IT tech, and a card dealer working with large sums of money! Somehow, I didn’t feel that putting greeting cards on shelves would stress me out! I didn’t get the job.

  14. What all this really comes down to is if someone who is hiring likes how you look ,how you talk, how you fit in. Qualifications mean nothing. Getting hired has everything to do today with appearence and most importantly age. You could have years of experience and impeccable qualifications but. if you are not willing to accept less and be a brown noser there will always be a younger person who will kiss up. Just ask Mike Patton and the Creative Press crew.

    • I am sorry but I find your statement ridiculous. Does appearance have some tribute sure, you still need to be well qualified. Looking professional for the job you are interviewing for is key.

        • I have to agree with those who say that there is discrimination going on out there, I have multiple degrees, along with a strong employment history, and yet a hiring manager took one look at me recently and blew me out of the interview in less than 2 minutes, in the waiting room the remaining candidates were literally half my age. Once you hit your mid forties landing a position becomes increasingly more difficult, you not only have to overcome age prejudice, but the long list of applicants who are half your age, and who the potential employer, possibly unconsciously, believes will work for a greatly reduced wage because they have less experience.

          • I can tell you that I will interview anyone who is qualified. If they don’t want to accept the offer, so be it, but I always try to get the most qualified person I can. It makes my life easier…. The majority of my team of 25 is over 40, and they do excellent work.

  15. I went on an interview in Italy, my first. I didn’t get the job. I sorta insulted all the women of Italy. It was a large comapny and for me they werent profesional enough. They were late coming back from lunch, they also knew i was coming from another region, four hours by car. My fianceè drove me up,and went for a walk, the woman who interviewed me was more intrested in him. She had made a comment about how American women are always reaching for the top, were as Italian women are happy with staying put, I replied, I know. I thank god I am an AMerican. (humour)

  16. I find it sad that at the end of the day many times the wrong person winds up being hired. I went for a job and was well qualified. The hiring manager needless to say hired someone else. A month later that person pulled a no call no show.. I personally went a let the manager know. If you would have hired me you wouldn’t have to now train another person.

    • that is right but empolyers some times they need to hire some one unqualified in order to reduce the cost .but they do not know that is too costful more than hiring qualified person.

    • I have a question to pose to the HR peeps and anyone else who can give me some good insight. I worked for a company for 5 years, did the work of 4 people and did it well!! Never missed a deadline and never paid full price for anything i was purchasing for the company saving them thousands of dollars. WE had a going away party for 1 of our Astt. Program directors and my Big Boss The Program Director himself Sexually accosted me!! 12 years prior I was drugged and raped by my boss and was diagnosed w/PTSD. It took me some time but he eventually was reported to HR. Investigation was done by a women and He was interviewed first. My job was immediately tainted. How do I put a good spin on that when asked “Why did You leave your last job?” Any input would be helpful. Thanks PS I was NOT HIS 1st Accuser

  17. To find a job is so ridiculous in US. People write books, offer classes to teach how a person should go to an interview. Not enough that a person is having bad time looking for a job, he or she has to learn bullshit way that most employers like to hear. And that stupid trick questions. What the fk? Did the employer knew how to answer that question right himself without reading the answer? Fk that shit! Seriously a person should be polite, wear clean clothes wash his teeth and go to an interview. Why it’s needed all that “power tie” and bullshit. Like that shit is working anyway.
    Isnt enough for an employer to test his/her knowledge and just look at the person to know with who he’s dealing with?
    No, fk now, you and employer must learn a whole fking way of going to/receiving an interview and than in 100% cases no one will care about what you said.

    • I am assuming from your post that english is not your native language and that perhaps you have been instructed by someone who isn’t familiar with refined speech. The frequent punctuation of your message by fk is generally offensive and while to some it may communicate frustration, anger or general displeasure to many others it communicates a lack of ability to express onesself intelligently. I do hope you learn to filter this from your speech as you progress in your fluency in the english language.

  18. I once accidentally farted at an interview. I tried to act like it was the leather chair and moved around some so the chair would make noise. Surprisingly, the chair made noise quite similar to the offending flatulence and I thought I was in the clear, but I had just ate some Doritos shortly before the interview, and man I gotta tell ya…


  19. It is important now days to remember that hiring managers can be douche bags. I went to an interview just a few months back where I met with a nice lady. She told me that I was a shoe in for the job as a telemarketer. I later met with a prick that worked at ACT that soon gave me another interview standing in front of a bunch of people. I asked him where his office was for one reason this made me uncomfortable. His option was to embarrass the hell out of me in the process.
    Needless to say I didn’t get the job working for his sorry punk ass. If he would have put his fuking hands on me while going out the door, I would have broke his wrists. I wish I would have broke his fukin legs now and gave him a slow ride in an ambulance.

  20. I got so tired of the resume-and-interview shuffle, without receiving a job offer, that I decided to hang a shingle online in the freelance field and go for what I MOST wanted to do in life: write for a living. Guess what? I now make more every hour I work ($50/hour minimum) than I ever made as an employee and am my own boss. No commute, no office politics, no HR folks to negotiate just to get to the employer– and I love, love, love what I do! I could do it (and often do) 12 hours a day, seven days a week and I would still love it!

    So if you’ve been knocking yourself out looking for work, and are at a point where you’ll say whatever it takes to land a job even when you know it isn’t what you want, why not stop trying to fulfill other peoples’ “dream teams” and start your own? America was built by small entrepreneurs who believed in themselves and the things they were passionate about doing. It still is!

    At age 60, I may be too old, too over-qualified, too whatever else to pass muster as an employee, but I’ll never be too old to make a difference where I most shine. Without ooverstating it, earning my own way through life is the greatest adventure (and challenge) there is. I get to collaborate with the best and brightest across the globe from a home office, do great work, and smile all day long while doing it.

    In building your own tribe, great things can happen. (Read Tribal Leadership to find out where you are on the continuum: “life sucks,” “my life sucks, ” “I’m great (and you’re not),” “We’re great (and our competitors are not),” or “Life is great!”)

    If you don’t like what’s happening TO you, do something else that works FOR you. It’s all about choices and deciding not to stay stuck in a system that rewards cookie-cutter compliance. You’re not a victim unless you roll over and show your belly to make the cut.

    Two old saws say it all: “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” “Do what you love–the money will follow.”

    Whether you’re job-seeking or making your own way in this high-unemployment environment, go after the kind of work that inspires your best efforts. The spring in your step and the look in your eyes will change dramatically and you’ll become a light in the world instead of just another cog in an all-too-familiar wheel.

  21. Those stories always seemed to me to be so far fetched until I found myself interviewing for a new assistant in my IT department. The position was mostly help desk and a little bit of server administration. The interview went well. He seemed to have a good understanding of the job requirements and a little bit of experience already at his current job. He was quickly being my first choice. As I was walking him out the front door It occured to me that I had never asked him why he wanted to leave his first job? His answer was amazing considering the position he was trying to get. He was tired of dealing with the users there and wanted to work only with the servers. I finished thanking him for spending some of his time with me and promptly went back inside to my office and tossed his resume! To this day, I wonder if he ever realized why he never heard from me.

  22. I hope the interviewee wearing the catsuit was a woman…. If not, that’s an image I don’t need bouncing around in my head…

  23. I got so tired of the resume-and-interview shuffle, without receiving a job offer, that I decided to hang a shingle online in the freelance field and go for what I MOST wanted to do in life: write for a living. Guess what? I now make more every hour I work ($50/hour minimum) than I ever made as an employee and am my own boss. No commute, no office politics, no HR folks to negotiate just to get to the employer– and I love, love, love what I do! I could do it (and often do) 12 hours a day, seven days a week and I would still love it!

    So if you’ve been knocking yourself out looking for work, and are at a point where you’ll say whatever it takes to land a job even when you know it isn’t what you want, why not stop trying to fulfill other peoples’ “dream teams” and start your own? America was built by small entrepreneurs who believed in themselves and the things they were passionate about doing. It still is!

    At age 60, I may be too old, too over-qualified, too whatever else to pass muster as an employee, but I’ll never be too old to make a difference where I most shine. Without overstating it, earning my own way through life is the greatest adventure (and challenge) there is. I get to collaborate with the best and brightest across the globe from a home office, do great work, and smile all day long while doing it.

    In building your own tribe, great things can happen. (Read Tribal Leadership to find out where you are on the continuum: “life sucks,” “my life sucks, ” “I’m great (and you’re not),” “We’re great (and our competitors are not),” or “Life is great!”)

    If you don’t like what’s happening TO you, do something else that works FOR you. It’s all about choices and deciding not to stay stuck in a system that rewards cookie-cutter compliance. You’re not a victim unless you roll over and show your belly to make the cut.

    Two old saws say it all: “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” “Do what you love–the money will follow.”

    Whether you’re job-seeking or making your own way in this high-unemployment environment, go after the kind of work that inspires your best efforts. The spring in your step and the look in your eyes will change dramatically and you’ll become a light in the world instead of just another cog in an all-too-familiar wheel.

    • Kristine,
      I have always wanted to be a writer also and have spent the last ten months making a decent living as a freelancer. The quote you mentioned is what actually inspired me.
      I worked at a great company for almost 20 years, the last 8 years in IT. Sadly, the department was outsourced. I began looking for another job and soon realized there weren’t a lot of great jobs out there. I couldn’t find anything close to the salary I had been making, and I found I was either over-qualified or under-qualified for about 95% of the jobs. The ones I could get wanted to pay me about a third of what I’d been making, and many of the companies seemed very unprofessional.
      I picked up a book one day and saw the quote you mentioned …”Do what you love and the money will follow.” I truly believe that’s the key to success and happiness in a career–doing what you love; and when you enjoy your work, that passion and joy spills over into everything else you do.
      It just makes sense if you do something you love, you put more time and effort into it, and therefore, succeed.
      I wish you the best of luck!

  24. This is just plain lulz funny. To me it seems those candidates wanted to show their passion. And in a diverse culture that does not halt progression. How could an interviewer not even be the least bit interested in a candidate with a cockatoo on his/her shoulder!! Jp…

    I have a story similar to the jawbreaker example. After an interview that I felt I had micro-managed well, received the “tips for future interviews tip.” I had good eye contact, concise answers, decent off topic enagements, and most importantly slim to no body lanaguage errors. Even the gum I was chewing did not become complete paste. Both the interviewers explain the position a second time and reply it’ll be a couple days before a decision is made.

    First day on the job one interviewer spots me and requested for me to go into their office. Small talk and congratulations ensue, but…. the interviewer gives me a piece of advice. Do Not CHEW GUM! Their words not mine, “throughout the whole interview I was completed distracted the whole time you spoke. That’s not good”

    =/ my bad…

  25. Actually that was all right about this,i think in the interview you do not need to pretend to be some one else in order to get the job because later on you will be your self and employers may see how you changed and fire you.question why should we hire you is really question where will let you speak more about who you are and you might come to the point of being self proud.

  26. Spelling is desirable in your resume. Some of you should really work on that! I wouldn’t hire anyone who doesn’t use correct spelling and grammer. Or at least look like they tried in their resume. Really people, texting is going to be the downfall of a nation here. Madman.

    • These comments are not resumes or any other document being submitted to a prospective employer. Those of you who are criticizing spelling errors in chats are missing out on information and ideas that could actually help, because you’re too busy sweating small stuff! There is a time for accuracy and there is a time for listening to valuable experiences people are trying to share to help eachother. So cut it out! There are plenty of teaching jobs out there if your passion is the correct use of the ABC’s. Undercutting someone’s offering over a mispelled word just makes YOU sound like a nerdy little A**!

    • The post summarizes the entire debate here: this person, an HR person, says they would never hire a person who doesn’t use proper spelling and grammer. Grammer? Really? Grammer?
      Isn’t it nice to know that person would not hire herself, yet sits pretty filling a job she doesn’t qualify for, and has the power to lord over others!

  27. i don’t want to sell t-shirts i am not applying to sell t-shirts…and i will not sell t-shirts since i filled for social security…strarts in november

  28. I find it sad how many people write ‘your’ when it should be ‘you’re,’ and then they wonder why they didn’t get the job, especially since they have such ‘good attention to detail.’ LOL

    Also honey, it’s ‘suit,’ not ‘suite.’

    I guess I can understand why some people here are having such difficulty getting hired. Mistakes like this are what HR people live for, because it makes people so easy to screen out, and when a company gets 1000 responses to one job listing, there’s a lot of screening out to be done.

  29. After graduating Summa Cum Laude in [let's just say it was a long, long time ago] from a prestigious university with an A.B. degree in Latin and Greek, I discovered to my dismay no one was hiring classical scholars. However, there was an engineering firm in town with a help-wanted sign, so I went down there for an interview. I’m sure the boss thought someone was playing a joke on him when he saw my curriculum vitae, but he must have decided to play along to see what was going to happen. He placed a small drinking glass on his desk, poured water in to about the half-way mark, and asked me to expound for 5 minutes on whether the glass was half-full or half-empty. I desperately tried to avoid laughing as I very seriously opined that the glass was too large for its contents, and there was a lot of unused capacity which should be avoided if possible as too much unused capacity would hurt the firm’s profits. I was hired immediately and spent the next several years saying “no” to people who acted as if they were “god’s gift.”. I left to work on my Ph.D. in classical literature.

  30. I was once interviewed for a job in the security field.
    The interviewer started off by asking me if we had ever met before; he was sure that we had. I replied that we had not, but that we had mutual acquaintances etc.
    He asked me what did I know of him. I replied not much, other than I had heard that he had no idea how to use a knife and fork and that he could slurp a fried egg off a plate from 10 feet!

    (I’ve no idea if it was true, but that’s what I had been told…).

    The interview went rapidly downhill from that point!!

  31. in the interview also empolyers some times they need you to answer questions to their expected answers other wise you will not be hired, i did an interview withing the company i work, for another post and was been asked question about the work and i did not answer the same so later one when the person was incharge of that post left they told me to do the work and latter on they realised i was more suitable than who was working bfore me. therefore is not measurement to get the same answer you need to hear from candidates. also as i’m not english person i had been asked in one interview about word that i never used or not common in my community so when i did not answer i was send away from the interview and did not get the job.

  32. Hey Bernie. Before you tell people about all of their grammatical errors, You might want to check your own. Grammer? It is grammar.

    • Thanks again. I’ve been advised already. Besides, I was referring to the way people do not even use spell check or have someone proof read for them before they turn in their resume. And some sentances are just hard to follow and do not make sense. I’m sure you’ve been reading some of the thread here. It’s amazing but some people’s resumes don’t look much different! lol.

  33. I’ve been in Corporate HR for 30 years; I’ve handled high volume recruiting and have interviewed over 20,000 candidates. I agree the article is written for shock value. My guess is one out of a million would bring a bird to an interview. Candidates don’t realize that we are under pressure to hire staff. It’s a time consuming, arduous process and we would want nothing more than the first candidate to be the perfect fit. If you get the interview the job is yours to lose because your resume demonstrates you have the basic qualifications and HR wouldnt waste your time or theirs with an interview. All that said, it’s important to make a connection with each person that interviews you (you’ll interview with multiple managers at one company to get hired). Use the job description or ad to determine what the company is looking for and prove that you have the skills, experience, and demeanor to fit in; job descriptions often list required competencies like team work, being detailed etc. Final points are: be an excellent listener, read your audience, and practice interviewing ‘before’ that important interview. You wouldn’t expect an athlete to play a big game without practice.

  34. On retiring from the Air Force after 20 years, I wwent for many an interview where I was “over qualified”.

    On one occasion they had obviously only skimmed my CV enough to see what experience I had as one of the first questions they asked by the person that was to be my time leader was “Can we ask why you have applied for this job as you have more supervisory experience than I have?”

    It was obvious that the rest of the interview was going to be just going through the motions so when the next question she asked was “I notice you smoke. We operate a strict no smoking policy here, how will that affect you?”

    I replied with “Well you’ve obviously read my CV for my supervisory experience, you may also have noticed that I’ve spent the last 20 yrs working with explosives and we tended to operate a strict no smoking policy with that as well!”

    Not suprisingly, I heard no more from that company.

    • hi mac, i relate to this story. if they have people like her Hiring candidates (the gate way to the company) then this should tell you about the level of people in the company. You’re better off somewhere else….at least you’ve shown me that i am not alone in this world.

  35. I haven’t made any really outrageous mistakes but I’ve seen some wild things from interviewers. I had one who spent the whole interview with his feet on the desk, practically in my face. The most amazing was an interview in my home state but about a 10-hour drive from my community. The interviewer asked where it was, “It’s right on the ___ River, right?” I explained it was actually about 100 miles from the river, whereupon he proceeded to try and argue that it really was by the river! As if I didn’t know where I lived! I was offered both jobs but accepted neither!

  36. I haven’t gone for many job interviews as I was a full-time mother for 20 years. I succumbed to a gambling addiction and had to get a job to repay a very large debt. I inverviewed for a job in a customer service role. When the interviewer asked if there was anything else I wanted to know or wanted to tell him about, I took a deep breath and decided to be honest. I told him I had made a bit of a mess of my life with gambling, I was attending a 12-step fellowship, I owed a lot of money that I needed a job to pay back and the police may yet be coming for me. He looked thoughtful for a moment, thanked me for being honest, then asked what my response would be if he told me they were looking for people to start on Monday (this was Thursday). I told him I would be there with bells on. I walked out with a job starting Monday. At the time I was 38 years old, 3 children still at home, one of whom was multiply disabled, my previous work experience was 11 months 10 years earlier, I had no references or business contacts and no further education…. Honesty is the only way to go. Yes, I may not have got the job with another interviewer, but I was hired on my own merits, with no false expectations. I still work at the same business 6 years later….

  37. I have been on job interviews quite a lot (I love a change).This one job offer looked tempting and I applied. When I arrived at the company I almost turned back right away. I didn’t like the company on first sight, so I tried very hard to be not-chosen. But as it is I always get the job. Not only because I’m skilled (ahem), but mostly because I react on what the person opposite of me wants to hear from me and it’s hard not to play along. That time I did summarized all the reasons they shouldn’t pick me (in a diplomatic fashion), but they still picked me. They said they liked my honesty and self convidence. I cursed all the way home for getting that job. It was a managers position, but in a very very stressed enviroment. I worked there for five years (when I’m done I move along).

  38. I find it ridiculous when an applicant feels it’s ok to bring a friend / relative with him / her to an interview. Dressing ‘inappropriately’ is also a big no-no in my book!

    • I see all of these comments about dress properly and suck up to the people asking the questions etc etc and I have to laugh. Many years ago before I started my own business I went to an interview for a network admin position, the recruiter who contacted me about this position at GTE was freaking out about the interview more than I was and she called me the day of the interview with a list of what to wear, how to look and how to address the questions. I told her I dont own a suit and I dont kiss butt to anyone and hung up.

      I went to this interview wearing a t-shirt, jeans, tennis shoes and a pony tail that hung almost to my waist. I noticed when I arrived there was about 15 others there waiting for an interview and all of them had nice clean suits, freshly cut hair and their little brief cases, they had the whole corperate look going on lol. I watched as they escorted each one out of the interview room with that closing line “Thanks for stopping by we will call you later this week when we make our decision”.

      I was finally called into this room with 2 women and 3 men sitting there in what looked like $500 suits, gold watches etc and they all just looked at me as I grabbed a chair and sat down not even shaking any hands. I answered every question they fired at me without any real emotion and basically just sat back in my chair staring at them as they asked these questions, then that one question came about “why should we hire you?”. I looked right at the guy asking it and said bluntly “I have been building and repairing computers for 15 years and I have 13 computer certs including MCSE and Cisco, how many certs do you have?”

      He broke eye contact with me then and looked down at his desk and my application and said “I notice you did not list any education past high school, why?” so my next blunt reply was “I dropped out at 16 and taught myself computers, I also spent 10 years working at a local University taking care of their network, computers and teaching a computer class 3 nights a week and the one thing I noticed was that all you have to do in order to get a diploma is pay lots of money and show up to class but that diploma does not mean you learned anything. My certs were paid for out of my pocket and I actually had to know something to get them. How many certs do you have again?”

      They all 5 left the room and told me they were taking a short break and to make myself comfortable. They returned about 15 minutes later with an older gentleman who they introduced as the CEO of the company. He shook my hand and laughed saying that in his 30+ years in the corporate field he has never seen anyone like me in an interview and he would like to extend an offer of employment to me right then. I accepted and started 2 weeks later. I spent 5 years at that company before leaving to start my own business and to this day I still dress the same even though I run my own company now.

      I have contracts with some big companies in my area and everytime I go to meet their managers I am the only person in that conference room wearing plain clothes and hair past my ass, but the thing is I know my stuff and honestly I do not need to hide behind an expensive suit because thats not me. I bought a house on the coast and by heart I am a beach bum, I constantly get asked why I dont dress like the rest of the people in the IT field and my reply is still the same, I do not own a suit. My closet is full of concert t-shirts, faded jeans, flip flops and ball caps. I have even attended some very high class dinners with my clients and you guessed it I wear my t-shirts, faded jeans and flip flops. The funny part is I probably have more in my bank and savings than my clients do because I do not spend my money on fancy clothes.

      I splurged on a beach front house and 2 nice cars to drive and thats it, the rest I just put in the bank because I enjoy the simple way of living. So the moral of this story is be yourself and do not let those jerks doing the interview make you sweat. Be confident of yourself and what you can do and in my opinion that will get you much further than dressing and acting like somebody that you are not. If you cannot be honest in that interview then how are you going to an honest employee? If that company still believes in judging people based on looks then ask yourself if thats a company you want to work for, I bet most of you will find the answer is no.

      And for the ones on here saying they are in HR and they judge people by how they dress let me ask you this. Would you prefer to have some guy who has no clue what he is doing but looks good in a suit working on those computers that hold all of your company data or some guy who looks like he came straight from the beach but knows those computers inside and out and could repair them in his sleep? Are you looking for an employee to actually do some work or a puppet that makes your company look good?

      • Luckily for you, the hiring team realized that the job position required a skill set few people possess, and they did not rule you out without giving you a fair chance. The majority of technical jobs require more Substance than Style, so it’s best that the interviewers have a decent grasp of the underlying technology. Many other job positions require little skill, or skills that can be easily developed on the job — these allow HR personnel to wield the “Style over Substance” hammer with disregard.

  39. Here is the jist of what you need to do. In some cases the interview begins before you arrive. I had an interview where they had to meet me to bring me into the facility. I actually was lost in an area I didn’t know. The first question I was asked was did I find it okay, I blushed and said Once you arrived to lead me here Yes. We both blushed and smiled at this question. I was given math questions during the interview. Once I was pitted against a calculator to evaluate my adding skills I came up with the answers before the interviewer had the numbers put into the computer. I was hired on the spot for that one. The company has since closed. Temporary employers can be helpful I worked for Robert Half for a while and landed an excellent job building night vision goggles for the military. They have down sized since then but all in all it was a great job and I was hired on permanently. As far as interviews go. I have a condition of nervousness which causes me to giggle or chuckle when I am stressed. Its a lot more pleasant then screaming. I have been told I interview well. This by employers who actually hired me. So remember these things. First meetings , Your interview is a first meeting like your signature… put your best one out there. Be honest. Remember all positive things before you go into the interview. I have worked in production most of my life but cross trained it to secretarial.. yes you can see it here. So I am crossed trained to do the office work, computer work, front office reception area work as well as forklift operator, production line, machine operator, pick, pack, warehouse basics to include MSDS and Hazmat. And right now I am a personal shopper for an online concern. (keeping company names out of this for professional reasons) I am currently a temp, at a major company, Yet… I am employed and am currently in my second seige with this company.

  40. Could I please get some advice on handling a common interview question?

    I was fired from my last job for being late -one time cite, no prior warnings, write-ups, etc. There were other issues at play, but I do not feel it’s proper to bring those up in an interview as that would be coming off as negative, etc.

    I was asked why did I leave my previous job. I honestly answered I was terminated. Of course they asked why and I stated I was late once. That is the official reason given on termination papers.

    I had an incredibly successful track record at this sales-oriented position, average 40% over goal in three years. Clearly the fact given for being terminated would be questioned. Again, I do not think it is correct to go into a back story that involves being written up while on FMLA and, of course, it had to be rescinded.

    Because I’m pretty certain this would be found out anyway, I thought it was better to concisely state the reason…just the reason given on my official paperwork.

    I have been called back, then immediately frozen out—terse communication. I was given a lame reason–it wasn’t even that they found a more qualified candidate just that they would not be extending me an offer. When I asked if there was anything to prove the value I would bring to the company, answer was blunt “no.”

    How should I handle this in the future? I didn’t badmouth previous organization or boss.

    • Angela, 3 questions I think every candidate should be prepared for are, “Why did you leave your last position?” “What would you consider to be your worst qualities?” and “Do you have any questions for me?” If you were fired on a single late arrival, your interviewer will suspect there were other problems, and the boss was just looking for an excuse. Think about what the real reasons might be, then distill those reasons into a short answer, followed by your worth to the company, such as “I was terminated for being late to work one day. Unfortunately, it was right after returning to work when my baby was born. Perhaps they had forgotten that I had consistently exceeded sales goals in my department.” In other words, sound like you forgive them for their mistake, but want to make their mistake into the new company’s gain.

      • Thanks, Nora. I appreciate the suggestion to say, “perhaps they had forgotten that I had consistently exceeded sales goals in my department.” I have a better idea now how to word it.

        It was a frustrating situation for everyone and I would never bring it up in an interview.

        A previously undiagnosed neurological condition reeked havoc in my life. I made mistakes before I was diagnosed and owned up to them as they happened. I can understand though that, due to the nature of the condition, it had to affect their trust in my ability to perform.

        Everything is under control now, but this is
        hard to overcome.

        Thanks, again. I appreciate it!

        • Your advice was spot on, Nora. At a few job workshops I’ve attended, the facilitators iterated this factor:  always turn a Negative into a Positive (regardless what the circumstance be.)

  41. In reading most or all the comments made on how to conduct yourself during and interview, I found it quite intersting that discrimination is running rampted through out the United States. I agree with the lady that stated she feels that she didn’t get the job because of the gray around her temples. Gee…how many young people out there have premature gray temples????

    Experience and job knowledge is highly overlooked during most job interviews. My experince has been, most interviewers don’t take the time to read your resume throughly. They are taught to pull out “key words”, that are in alignment with what they deem the job requirements are.

    Webster Dictionary is full of words that mean the same, but if you don’t have the “key words” they are looking for you are doomed.

    While the internet is the only way to apply for most positions, it doesn’t matter how good your resume is or cover letter is written. You are just a number, and if you are lucky enough to get a response, well guess what…you just won the lottery.

    In today’s world, it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know. It is a proven fact that if you apply for a job with a company that you have a friend or neighbor working at the same company, your chances of getting that position are higher than if you didn’t know anyone at all…..

    • You are dead on, Terry – esp regarding the actual resume reading… Oh, how many joke interviews I’ve had; the Interviewer (usually male) who was either handed mine, last-minute or just didn’t bother, period… proceeds to inquire about my education…(ahem) it’s right there – top section – bold print. A blind person could see it…
      Sadly, much of it is an absurd numbers game.However, with the still high unemployment rate, not very uncommon. Job seekers remain a dime a dozen…it’s still an employers market. Most every job “fair” you attend these days is nearly packed with hapless (job) seekers. And even then you feel ‘blessed’ to get just one follow up interviewing interest.
      Last two job fairs I attended were a joke. Of the 55 company’s present, only about a dozen were “normal” employers (not temp agencies, outsourcing, or military recruiting). Way sad.

  42. I have found this to be the case more times than not. HR personnel are clueless when it comes to filling technical positions. They are impressed by paper certifications irrespective of whether the person can actually perform the job or not and their technical limitations do not allow them to tell a fully capable person from resume padder.

    I was working at a job fair once and on a break when around to other company’s stands to see what was on offer and ran across a job for a C++ programmer that required 6+ years of C++ experience. I had to turn around quickly to hide my laughter because at that time C++ had only been around for two years at the most and had not even had ANSI certification yet. How on earth could someone honestly apply for that job? The bigger question is what moron wrote that particular experience requirement? The HR person can only look at the requirement and compare it to the resume. Even if you had been working with C++ for its entire existence that two years would not be enough to get you in the door for the interview.

    • Reminds me of an interview a good friend had at a Tech place I’d worked, back in the 90′s. She knew Word Perfect well, but hadn’t learned enough Excel nor Lotus just yet. During the interview, she’d slipped badly when asked about her computer skills and stated how she enjoyed doing Lotus software spreadsheets and performing framing graphics hardware in Excel.Ouch! She’d clearly gotten her tech knowledge all lopsided.
      My boss was pleasant enough after she’d left. And obviously my friend was not hired. But I felt horribly for her  -  wondered how many other interviews she’d flubbed, in this same respect…

  43. As a manager when we have an opening I am looking for a cheap peone that will work overtime for nothing, never complain, never be sick, smile and be happy all the time that I can vent my frustrations on, and first of all has a beautiful wife that I can pork…. still looking

  44. sometimes I wonder if the person doing the interview is looking for the right person. I recently was asked a question over an incident that occurred 5 years ago in a different state. Like I am going to remember all facs pertaining to something unrelated to me. So i BS through the question. I feel they should stick to now and me and what I am all about. If you want to ask something not pertaining to me. Let me read the incident as I am sitting there then ask for a response.

    • I once had the interview exp you describe. The HR even went as far as to try and kid after asking me about the incident. I politely chuckled back and somehow finished the interview. Needless to add I did not return their 2nd interview phone call offer..
      Please don’t beat a dead horse, or even joke about it. Sadly, some Hiring people are just very poorly prepared, or have nothing better to do.

  45. Don’t overlook the fact that people receiving unemployment benefits are required every couple weeks to show that they at least attempted to find a job

    I’d bet most of these “inept job-seekers” were deliberately trying to sabotage their getting hired

    Some advice for anyone else who wants to wants to certify that they interviewed for a job but just weren’t offered it = show up for the interview drunk

    • Sandra, you’d be surprised!
      I once did one of those horrid group interviews (cattle call) – for a call center position. One of male candidates; young post-HS kid, not only wore Bermudas (yah – shorts to an interview) and a printed tee shirt, but also had his ipod with him.
      The HM (hiring manager) had to tell this kid TWICE to put the ipod away (he even played it during a computer testing session!)  Then, he took a text.. I as dead amazed that HM didn’t just excuse the kid. Before the ‘interview’ session wrapped, the kid asks HM if ‘we were all done yet, his ride was here’…

    • Sandra, you’d be surprised!
      I once did one of those horrid group interviews (cattle call) – for a call center position. One of male candidates; young post-HS kid, not only wore Bermudas (yah – shorts to an interview) and a printed tee shirt, but also had his ipod with him.
      The HM (hiring manager) had to tell this kid TWICE to put the ipod away (he even played it during a computer testing session!)  Then, the kid took a text.. I was dead amazed that the HM didn’t just excuse the kid.
      Before the ‘interview’ session wrapped, the kid asks HM if ‘we were all done yet, his ride was here’…

  46. What about that “handshake” that makes you want to drop to your knees and cry UNCLE!! I’ve had men squeeze my hand so hard and I find that offensive.

    • I’ve had that happen to me…omg why do they want to break your hand lol…is it supposed to be a sign of aggression to come? I worked for that guy for 3 months before I could find another position…He did prove to be a jerk almost immediately (he had a terrible potty mouth at meetings and in general (he also referred to women as ‘bitches’ in general conversation – perhaps sexist?) – very aggressive, nasty man.

    • I interviewed once with a young college grad who appeared near anorexic (guess she just naturally was THAT thin. Prob weighed less 80 lbs.) Her ‘handshake’ (if you could refer it so) was almost nothing; barely the very tips of her very thin, manicured fingers…

  47. While conducting and interview via Skype. The person I was interviewing came to the camra in a tee-shirt and on the shelf behind him was a 3 foot tall bong. The interview ended quickly and he was not hired…

  48. To all those people who are bashing the HR person, I’m an HR person. Trust me, I interview the hiring manager before I recruit to be certain that I understand the job requirements almost to the point of being able to do the job myself. And I read EVERY resume. at least to the point where I know that the candidate is either potentially qualified or completely unqualified.

    If you read the comments on this blog you can see what the problem is. Candidates who can’t spell or use poor grammar. Candidates who have an “attitude” where they are more concerned for themselves and really don’t care what the employer needs from the relationship. Or candidates who think they know mroe than the interviewer.

    Now for the amusement: I have on more than one occasion had a candidate in an interview who not only had their cell phone ring but who also interrupted the interview to take the call! But I’m certain that’s also what they do everywhere else. No doubt this person will be taking personal phone calls all day at work. And no doubt this person places themselves first and everybody else, including their employer, last. NEXT!

    • I completely agree with what you are saying. I am a little older myself and I remember graduating from college (yay!). I bought special paper and envelopes to mail to potential employers with my resume. It was an ordeal getting an interview. In those days you wore suits and pearls to an interview, and you brought your BEST game. No interruptions. And the resume better be a publishable piece lol.

      • Lol Kathy…
        I think some actually miss those ‘good ol days’ of the fancy paper resume. With technology submissions, I’ll bet the old paper mill workers miss their former jobs! :)

  49. As far as salting his food goes, can we assume that he’s eaten in restaurants before, and finds, in general, that he prefers more salt than the cook provides? Is he presumptuous, or self-assured? Personally, I can’t stand ketchup; would HR expect me to slather it on my French fries, scrambled eggs, rib steak, to re-verify this every time? If so, would I seem indecisive, insecure?

    • I seriously cannot fathom any Interviewer nitpicking over such an unimportant detail. If it were high blood pressure or deeper health concern with the Interviewer, that’s a tad understandable. But it being a frown against the Candidate? Ludicrous. So the candidate likes salt. So what?
      When I consider a few lunch interviews I’ve had (as the Candidate); wine was offered, and consumed…present parties SALTED their food…Big deal!
      I’d be seriously reconsidering the Interviewers attitude AND mindset…

  50. Im curious about the guy that handcuffed himself to the desk and the guy that showed up in a catsuit… I would SOOO do that xD

  51. Here is another piece of advice for anybody that is searching for a job and needs to inquire about a job. Never let anybody else call for you about the job. If you do, employers don’t take it too kindly especially those employers that are very corporate.

    I remember one summer when I was applying for camp counselor job at 17 years old I figured that since I was so busy at school that my mother would inquire about the job for me. Well the person that answered the phone in the end of the conversation said, “She should have made the call.” I think this is the reason why I was not hired back for the following summer and the fact that I was treated like crap while I worked there that previous summer.

    It doesn’t matter what job you are looking for if you are relying on others to do the work for you, the employer will think you are not capable of working on your own. Do yourself a favor and do the work yourself.

    Thank you

    • That should really be a common sense rule.
      I once was witness, while awaiting my ‘turn’ in a Temp office, to a phone call (the reception area was very small) of your description. While the desk gal was polite (and civil), she stated very clearly to that caller that she had no information for him, that his friend (the Candidate) should have called and NOT HIM.

  52. I did a phone interview with a woman for a position involving the use of a relatively new technology. She had no experience with the technology (it’s new, so it wasn’t a requirement), but she did have experience with other similar technologies. I brought her in for an in-person interview a couple days later. I asked her if she had researched the new technology at all, and she said she hadn’t.

    Two days is plenty of time (especially when you’re unemployed) to find ten minutes to visit a wikipedia page. This showed lack of motivation, and she was not hired.

  53. I had a person working for a competitor come to an interview with examples of papers he had written. It was great work. The problem was that the papers had a large watermark across them that said “CONFIDENTIAL – For Internal Use Only”.

  54. Even when I did not want to work for a particular company, but needed that “job” as stated above, to pay the bills, I still dressed the professional part, even to go fill out the applications. It makes me shake my head to see some people that come in my present place of employment! I am NOT in HR…but as you walk by the reception area and see a husband, wife AND kids sitting there I cringe. Seriously, if you are INSISTING your spouse apply you could probably still wait in the car with the kiddos. It is discouraging to know companies have lowered their starting pays while the directors, manangers, and ceos have not taken a cut.

  55. Always, “Be Yourself”. If you’re happy with who you are, honest and sincere, that will come through in your interview.

    I do need do make a comment abou some of the people working in HR. Some of them have the notion that they are much further up the company ladder than they actually are. Funny thing is, if they were to interview the company’s CEO for a position, would they get hired?

  56. I am sure that there is discrimination out there as some individuals on this comment board have stated. However, I must say that overall the negativity and the excuses that have come up could be an indicator as to why you didn’t “get the job [you] deserved” and were “more qualified” than anyone else. You will be amazed at what you can pick up in an interview by recruiters and managers, as someone previously noted – the job is yours to lose. And you may have been a perfectly qualified candidate with stellar skills, but in this economy there are about 100 people (if not more) for every position that is available. So perhaps you were not the most qualified for the salary they were looking to hire into. You have no idea what other candidates walk through that door, so instead of wasting your time figuring out all the reasons for this “injustice” perhaps take a peek at what you can improve on for your next interview.
    And for all of you who criticize the recruiting process, obviously it’s not perfect but then again it is a process and recruiters and managers look at a total package not just one aspect. So, while you may be qualified as far as experience and skill set, however if you bring an attitude into an interview as well as torn clothes then I am sorry you have a few things to learn. It is not only about your skills, it is about cost effectiveness (saving money on training, benefits, etc). It is also about appearance – not because we care about your labels of clothing – but that you care enough about your appearance and desire for the job that you make an effort and iron your shirt. This does not need to be an expensive endeavor. There are plenty of thrift stores and discount stores that have professional dress for cheap prices. You are representing yourself and your company so professional dress and behavior is a desirable when you’re interviewing – regardless of the type of company you’re applying to.
    And just so you all know – employers read job boards, Facebook, twitter, and the like as well. So for those of you who don’t think that we are – be warned – these places can help or hinder your employment search as well.

  57. In re: “One candidate sang all of her responses to interview questions.”
    I wonder if she had a fluency disorder – therapists do teach people to sing if they are unable to communicate. Remember Mel Tillis?

    • Unless she was a singer (like the legendary Tillis) and applying for such an applicable job, it would have been interesting to see how she would handle her duties if hired… :)

  58. Well my company had an opening in purchasing, and the manager hired a man, because he was “cute” and appeared to have the skills for the job. On his first day, he showed up unkept, and smelling of pot. One hour after he started we were told by our screening company he had failed his drug test. During his first and only hour, during his orientation he informed the manager that hired him that he thought he would be out in the field not at a desk in the office. Let me remind you the job was in the purchasing department ! LOL

  59. I had an extremely frustrating experience in applying for a job. I applied for a data management position at a local hospital. I received notice that they had narrowed the selection down to two candidates, me and a woman I’ll call “Beverly”. The hiring manager opted not to conduct interviews, and simply went with Beverly due to her 20 years of experience versus my 5 years (she is also about 20 years older than I am). She also has multiple friends in the department, I did have one connection that I’m sure got me as far as I did.

    Now, 6 months later, I’ve heard from my friend who works there that hiring Beverly was a big mistake, because she does not understand Excel well enough and has had to have extensive training in the basics. A simple interview would have quickly separated our skill sets from each other and I would have actually had an opportunity.

    Networking is great for getting the company to at least look at you, but the companies should remember that just because someone is a friend, it doesn’t mean they’re the right fit.

    • And you are so not alone in your frustrations. I’ve met countless candidates who’ve been ‘passed over’ for great opps  with any number of excuses, including company/hiring familiarity. While no one is perfect, Assumption should be a deadly sin.
      My dad owned a biz when we were teens and narrowed a job opp down to two young guys; the one, my bros knew well. The other, a mere acquaintance. Sure the friend had experience, and the other was an ‘intern’ but appeared very serious. Dad took the ‘friend’, of course. He didn’t turn out so great. Dad let him go and called the ‘intern’ and apologized. New guy not only was a great worker, but the contractor upped the bid, giving them even more $$.
      Don’t we just love it when common sense is allowed over ride?
      Familiarity should never assume “right fit”

  60. “When asked by the hiring manager if he had any questions for him, the candidate replied by telling a knock-knock joke.”

    I’d hire that guy.

  61. I’m surprised no one has brought up the fact that unemployment is so high that where there used to be 20 candidates to a job, now there are 50. Sometimes you don’t get the job due to the numbers! I used to get a guaranteed offer for nearly every job interview (I am in IT and have specialized skills.) Not anymore! Things are better for me now as I have managed to obtain skills in several different industries within IT.
    Story 1: I had an interview where the interviewer told me it was his experience that state employees never work hard. I was working for the Port Authority at that time and thanked him for saving me time on my job hunt and I left.
    Story 2: There was an interviewer who asked me if I was a flower, what kind of flower would I be?
    Story 3: How do you spell Java? (He saw it on my resume and thought it was mispelled — I dunno, maybe he thought it needed two v’s.) I didn’t not accept a callback interview as this was the IT manager and I thought it boded badly for working with him.
    Story 4: My two interviewers were so friendly and comical, they got me laughing at the start of the interview and it continued all the way through. And I thought it would be a wonderful place to work. After a totally enjoyable 45 minute interview, Beth said to Elliot “I like her! She laughs at my jokes!” and Elliot agreed, I got an offer before I got home, and it was one of the best places I ever worked! My one fashion faux pas? Never wear heels to a steel mill!

    • True! Everyone keeps blaming the shortcomings of the HR managers for not getting hired, but when you have 100 applicants for 1 job (not uncommon anymore), they have to make selections somehow, and to me that does sometimes mean having to be petty when you have several great possibilities.

  62. I just got a great job – I dressed conservatively, no perfume, showered, shaved and brushed/flossed that morning. I paid alot of attention to getting my hair straight, neat and shiney. My makeup was very minimal – just enough to cover flaws, a litttle mascara (no eyeliner or shadow) and a light gloss for the lips with a hint of pink – very natural looking. I wore a pair of silver stud earrings and no other jewellry. My shoes were flats. The interviewer was very nice, and the interview was relaxed – there was a dog there who came in during the interview and jumped into my lap, so I petted him while the interviewer gave instructions to the dog’s owner on how she wanted the carpets to be replaced. She apologized about the dog, but I was like, “I’m an animal person – no problem” (I am an animal person in fact). I think that was when she decided to hire me lol.

  63. With only a few exceptions, it’s a darned good thing most of the commentors to this post never had to write anything to get a job. Is punctuation no longer taught in school? How about the difference between “their”, “there” and “they’re”? And perhaps my recent favorite, “should of” in place of “should have” or even “should’ve”.
    I’m not a personnel or hiring manager, but I can see why they’re frustrated. If you want to see why you don’t get hired, look at yourself harder. Of course there’s discrimination. Of course there are unfair decisions and set-ups. But it’s pretty hard to argue that you deserved a job more than another when you didn’t bother to use spell check before sending a resume and cover letter.

  64. Greg, that’s a good point, but these are just comments posted quickly under an article. I want to take a minute to comment on the HR bashing that’s been going on. It’s a two way street. There are bad HR people who won’t conduct an interview fairly, are vendetive, bored with their jobs, and just don’t care as much as they should. Then there are the HR people who find someone better than a seemingly perfect candidate, but still get a bad wrap for rejecting them. There are bad interviewers, and then there are bad interviewees. You can’t judge them all based on one bad experience. I think people should have an open mind. When you go into an interview, try to be as honest as you can without being as blatent as “I need the cash,” even if it’s true. They’ll appreciate that. Try to communicate that you are willing to work to keep the job, and that you are flexible. Eye contact is important, but don’t seem like you’re looking down at them. And above all, DO NOT do ANYTHING that was mentioned in the above article! I found it pretty amusing, but obviously an interviewer would not. Good luck to everybody who is looking for a job, I sincerely hope you succeed.

  65. Pingback: Even more things you shouldn’t say or do at an interview | Career Services Blog

  66. I have been professional, well dressed and groomed for all of my interviews but, two.  This was long before the current employment situation.
    Did not want either  job and was only there under pressure from a Spouse.
    At one of these, the interviewer, Director of Credit, asked how I liked working for so and so his protege. Told him I didn’t and thought the Man was a total ass.  Well, didn’t get that one Thank God.  The other interview, the person was asking highly personal questions and reminded him it was not essential to determing my capabilities.  The facts proved my worth.  His last question, which was really silly was, if you were a tree, what kind would you be?  I told him a Peckerwood.  That ended the conversation and mission accomplished per the plan.  Note, all other interviews I have had in life were , very well received.  Did not have to do many in order to win the positon.

  67. Pingback: Even more things you shouldn’t say or do at an interview | Online Career Tips

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