An interesting insight into the wonderful world of interviews. Statistics taken from CareerBuilder’s recent interview mistakes survey.

Interviews can be incredibly stressful for job seekers. Often when an interviewee makes a mistake, it’s merely this nervousness showing through. However, there are some job seekers whose behaviour is so strange that it’s hard to chalk it up to nerves.

As part of CareerBuilder’s recent interview mistakes survey, employers shared the biggest mistakes or most unusual things job candidates have done during the interview process. Some of the highlights (or lowlights) include:

  • When asked what his/her ideal job was, candidate said “painter of birdhouses.” (Company was hiring for a data entry clerk.)
  •  Candidate said her main job was being a psychic/medium and tried to read interviewer’s palm, despite interviewer’s attempts to decline the offer.
  • Candidate started screaming that the interview was taking too long.
  • Candidate took a family photo off of interviewer’s desk and put it into her purse
  • Candidate sang her responses to questions.
  • Candidate put lotion on his/her feet during the interview.
  • When asked why he wanted the position, candidate replied, “My wife wants me to get a job.”
  • Candidate started feeling interviewer’s chest to find a heartbeat so they could “connect heart to heart.”
  • Candidate had a pet bird in his/her shirt.
  • Candidate took phone interview in the bathroom – and flushed.


Less obvious, but just as damaging to a candidate’s prospects are body language mistakes. The most common of these, according to employers, include:

  • Failing to make eye contact: 67 per cent
  • Failing to smile: 39 per cent
  • Playing with something on the table: 33 per cent
  • Having bad posture: 30 per cent
  • Fidgeting too much in their seats: 30 per cent
  • Crossing their arms over their chests: 29 per cent
  • Playing with their hair or touching their faces: 27 per cent
  • Having a weak handshake: 21 per cent
  • Using too many hand gestures: 11 per cent
  • Having a handshake that was too strong: 7 per cent


Minor body language mistakes don’t always spell doom for a job seeker. However, there are some things most employers simply won’t put up with. The following behaviours were identified as instant deal-breakers:

  • Candidate is caught lying about something: 69 per cent
  • Candidate answers a cell phone or text during the interview: 68 per cent
  • Candidate appears arrogant or entitled: 60 per cent
  • Candidate dresses inappropriately: 50 per cent
  • Candidate swears: 50 per cent

By: Matt Tarpey on January 14, 2016. Matt Tarpey writes for CareerBuilder’s employer and job seeker blogs, covering everything from employment trends and talent acquisition to job-search strategies and career management.