careers

Want to get hired? Don't hug your interviewer

Jan. 17, 2014 at 8:14 AM ET

Next, don't blow the interview by hugging the hiring manager. First impression is key.
MIKE SEGAR / Reuters
Next, don't blow the interview by hugging the hiring manager. First impression is key.

Asking for a hug, acting out a Star Trek role, requesting the name and phone number of the office receptionist – these are just a few of the outrageous ways that job seekers shocked their potential employers during an interview.

That's according to the findings of a new survey of the most memorable interview blunders by human capital solutions firm CareerBuilder, published on Thursday, which polled over 2,200 hiring managers and human resource professionals in the U.S.

Among the unforgettable blunders, there's one that takes the cake: an applicant who set fire to the interviewer's newspaper when the interviewer said "impress me."

Oh, and of course, there was the candidate who warned her interviewer that she "took too much valium" and didn't think her interview was indicative of her personality.

The key message to job seekers from the survey: first impression is key.  

Half of all employers know within the first five minutes of an interview whether a candidate is a good or bad fit for the position, and nearly 90 percent know within the first 15 minutes, the survey showed.

"Employers want to see confidence and genuine interest in the position. The interview is not only an opportunity to showcase your skills, but also to demonstrate that you're the type of person people will want to work with," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources at CareerBuilder.

"Going over common interview questions, researching the company, and practicing with a friend or family member can help you feel more prepared, give you a boost in confidence, and help calm your nerves," she said.

The three most detrimental blunders candidates make during interviews are: appearing disinterested, dressing inappropriately and acting arrogant.

Additionally, CareerBuilder says don't underestimate the importance of appropriate body language.

"Communication involves much more than simply words and forgetting that during an interview could harm your chances," it said.

Failure to make eye contact and smile, along with bad posture are among the most detrimental mistakes made by candidates. 

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