One of the normal things of life that most of us uniformly hate is the job interview. It requires us to be at our best, and we never know if our best will be good enough.
We fret about what to wear and what to say.So it is likely that we will be very nervous and make some mistakes - especially if the job is very important to us.
If we're lucky, most of us would never make the same mistakes that a lot of other people make - at least according to a recent survey of executives by Robert Half, founder of Accountemps, the world's largest temporary personnel service for accounting, bookkeeping and information systems.
Executives from 200 companies nationwide were asked the following question:
What is the most unusual thing you have ever witnessed or heard of happening during a job interview?
The responses reveal that a number of people behave in bizarre and unconventional ways when being interviewed for a job. Here are some of the most interesting ones:
- "Said if he was hired, he'd teach me ballroom dancing at no charge, and started demonstrating."
- "She returned that afternoon asking if we could redo the entire interview."
- "Apologized for being late, said he accidentally locked his clothes in his closet."
- "Took three cellular phone calls. Said she had a similar business on the side."
- "Applicant walked in and inquired why he was here."
- "After a difficult question, she wanted to leave the room momentarily to meditate."
- "Candidate was told to take his time answering, so he began writing down each of his answers before speaking."
- "Shortly after sitting down, she brought out a line of cosmetics and started a strong sales pitch."
- "Man brought in his five children and cat."
- "Said that if I hired him, I'd soon learn to regret it."
- "Wanted to borrow the fax machine to send out some personal letters."
- "Applicant indicated that if he wasn't hired, the future of the company would be jeopardized for confidential reasons."
- "Arrived with a snake around her neck. Said she took her pet everywhere."
- "Brought a mini-tape recorder and said he always taped his job interviews."
- "Left his dry cleaner tag on his jacket and said he wanted to show he was a clean individual."
- "Applicant handed me an employment contract and said I'd have to sign it if he was going to be hired."
- "She sat in my chair and insisted that I sit in the interviewee's chair."
- "When asked about loyalty, showed a tattoo of his girlfriend's name."
- "Woman brought a large shopping bag of canceled checks and thumbed through them during the interview."
- "After a very long interview, he casually said he had already accepted another position."
It is not surprising that Half would observe that "far too many job seekers ignore the fundamental rules of interview behavior."
Half adds that "interviewers look for candidates who are enthusiastic, businesslike, well-spoken and ask pertinent questions about the company."
What a shocker.
So if you are in the market for a job and you get an appointment for an interview, leave the cat, snake, kids, cellular phone, mini-tape recorder, cosmetics and canceled checks at home.
Say as little as possible.
If your behavior tends to be unsual or bizarre in public, then for crying out loud, use some restraint - just this once.
And whatever you do, don't dance!