Falling asleep - and other ways to mess up a job interview

2006

Most people going for a job interview will strive to be eager, motivated and upbeat. Most, but not all. In fact, some job seekers seem to go out of their way to rule themselves out of contention.

Research by U.S. temporary staffing firm Accountemps has found that some job seekers appear to go out of their way to rule themselves out of contention for a new job, despite going to the trouble of applying and then turning up for an interview.

A total of 150 executives were asked to describe the most inappropriate comments candidates had made during employment interviews.

Responses ranged from an applicant who had declared she did not want to work hard to the person who argued the job requirements were all wrong, and then promptly fell asleep.

The employers told of one candidate who swore during interviews, another who turned up 25 minutes late and then became upset when the executive expressed annoyance and another who invited the interviewer out for a drink.

"An applicant stated that there was nothing I could tell him he didn't already know; he said he knew everything about our business," pointed out one of the executives polled.

"Job seekers should take a moment to compose their thoughts before they speak and focus their comments on the specific knowledge and experience they can bring to the position," advised said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps.

"Interviews provide an opportunity for employers to become more acquainted with applicants. Hiring managers are looking for candour, professionalism and a glimpse into the candidate's personality."

Some applicants, though, are simply too candid, respondents made clear.

Said one: "The candidate told me that she did not want to work hard."

"One prospect told me all of the reasons he shouldn't be hired," added another.

"An individual applied for a customer service job, and when asked what he might not like about the job, he said, 'dealing with people'," pointed out an executive.

"The applicant told me he really was not interested in the position, but he liked that we allowed for a lot of time off," was another response.

"The candidate said she would really prefer a job offer from our competitor," concluded one of the executives polled.