As an ex-corporate recruiter, I have more stories about candidates than I would ever be able to write about . Maybe one day, Bill Cosby will say, “Candidates say/do the darnedest things”. We want to share with you today a few stories that stick out in our minds to this day. While we will not share any identities, the reason for this article is because this is NOT the way you want to be remembered.
As we have written in many previous articles, having a successful interview is all about leaving a good lasting impression on the company. When you leave the interview, you want the company saying, “Wow. We need (insert your name here) to work for us”. Here are a few stories to share with you and things you should NEVER do.
- The Key-Twirler: In one interview, the candidate was greeted and was shown the way to the interview room. It was a bit of a walk so there was some small talk. In that small talk, a lot of good things were learned about her and the first reaction was, “Wow, this person is perfect”. Once in the interview room and settled, she took her keys out of her pocket and put them on the table. Now this wasn’t just a car key or two, they had about 30 keys. The interview begins and everything seemed fine until she stuck her finger in the key ring and begin twirling the keys around and around…and around on the table top. Can you imagine the annoyance and distraction??
- The Runaway Interviewee: This one is a personal favorite of mine. After a GREAT interview for a Senior .NET Developer, the candidate had to take a coding test to prove she could build a few databases and such. She was left in an interview room with a computer and told to call when done. When finished, she was asked to stay in the room while the Director of the department came for the next interview. I get a phone call 3 minutes later from the Director asking, “Where is the candidate?” I go to the interview room and the candidate is gone! After 5 minutes of searching, I find her buried deep into the office aimlessly walking around the corridors. When asked what she was doing, she says, “I just wanted to get a feel for the company.” I then said that you cannot simply walk around the office by yourself. What if we could not find you, how would you continue your interview. Her response… “I don’t know.”
- The No Manners Candidate: One of the first rules of interviewing is to always mind your manners. These are very similar to the manners you were taught as a child when sitting at the dinner table or at a fancy restaurant. It was a snowy winter day when this candidate arrived. Once properly greeted, he was escorted to the coat room. His response once there was, “No, thank you. I would like to go to the interview now.” Odd…but, okay. We go to the interview and sit down. About 10 minutes into the interview, he still had his big puffy winter coat on. I asked if he was cold and his response was, “The winter coat helps me with my nerves.” Needless to say, that interview ended in just a few minutes! The only thing I could think of during the interview was, “Would he need to wear the winter coat if he had a meeting with the CEO?” 🙂
- The Clueless Candidate: During an interview for a Correspondence Processor, the interview began with a simple question, “Why do you want to work for (company)?” The answer: “I don’t know”. “Okay”, I thought. A little weird, but lets truck on. The next question, “What do you want your career to be” and again he responded with another, “I don’t know”. So at this point, I’m wondering, what does this person know. I try one more time, “Why are you here today”…response… “A job”. I then thanked the individual for coming in and said “Sorry, you will not be considered for the position.” They then responded with, “Thanks for the great interview. Hope to hear from you soon.”
- The Owner’s Wife: A highly qualified candidate was interviewing for an Administrative Assistant position. She had all of the necessary credentials and qualifications and the job was essentially her’s to lose…until the interview. During the interview, she was asked, “What brings you to this interview today”. She then began quite a long-winded story. She explains how her husband owns his own company and she supports him, but she can no longer work for him because he is a horrible boss. That conversation then continues into how she is having marital problems and does not know if their marriage will survive and what they will do with the kids.
Unfortunately, all of these stories are true! At the end of the day, an interview is for one thing, to showcase your skills and prove how you can help solve the company’s problem. Every interview should remain strictly professional and nothing else. We recommend that you go to our services tab and try a mock interview with us. We will conduct a real live interview with you and then, together, we will provide you with feedback and tailor the appropriate responses so you can have the best interview possible.