Taking cell call tops list of job interview blunders

By Sandra M. Jones
Posted Jan. 12 at 8:24 a.m.

If you receive a cell phone call or text message during your job interview, don’t answer it. Doing so ranks as job candidates’ most common mistake in an interview, according to a survey of hiring managers.

Indeed, 71 percent of managers surveyed named it as the top blunder, according to a report out Wednesday from online career site CareerBuilder. Other common mistakes: dressing inappropriately and appearing disinterested, each cited by 69 percent of managers, followed closely by appearing arrogant at 66 percent.

Rounding out the list of what not to do is speaking negatively about a current or previous employer at 63 percent, chewing gum at 59 percent, not providing specific answers at 35 percent, and not asking good questions at 32 percent.

“The good news is that the number of open jobs continues to improve month over month; however competition will remain high for some time to come,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. “Even though the job search process can be frustrating, candidates should stay positive, focus on their strengths and be prepared on how to best sell their skill set.”

Harris Interactive conducted the survey for CareerBuilder among 2,482 U.S. hiring managers between Nov. 15 and Dec. 2. Tribune Co. owns a stake in CareerBuilder.

When asked the most outrageous blunders they have encountered when interviewing job candidates, the hiring mangers came up with a long list from hugging the hiring manager at the end of the interview to eating all the candy from the candy bowl. At the top of the list of no-no’s: wearing a hat that said, “Take this job and shove it.”

Tribune Co., publisher of the Chicago Tribune, shares ownership of CareerBuilder with Gannett Co., McClatchy Co. and Microsoft Corp.


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  1. rod paulson Jan. 12 at 9:43 a.m.

    this is hilarious—thanks for the laugh…:)

  2. Chris Tobbe Jan. 12 at 10:26 a.m.

    I represent a concrete floor repair product called RAPID RESTORE. It is not an epoxy and sets up to traffic in 15 minutes. It is among the easiest repair products to install on the market. We are always looking to help businesses keep their floors safe and productive. I am hoping to contact the person responsible for maintaining your floors. I thought this may be better then sales calls. Usually we work with the Plant Mgr., Safety Mgr., Facilities or Maintenance Mgr. Any help you could provide from forwarding my information or sending me the contact person and contact number would be greatly appreciated.

    More information is available through our website http://www.rapidconcrete.net

    Thanks and I hope you can help.

  3. Marion Mims Jan. 12 at 10:43 a.m.

    And as a further courtesy, turn off your phone’s ringer and set the phone
    to vibrate.

  4. JG Jan. 12 at 12:42 pm

    Turn your phone to vibrate? No – turn your phone off. There is no reason to have your phone on during a job interview where 100% of you concentration needs to be on the interview at all times.

  5. Carvel Grim Jan. 12 at 1:41 pm

    No, no, no!

    Download the “Gimme Back That Filet-O-Fish” ringtone, and set your alarm to ring every three minutes.

    And that will show that you have a sense of humor.

    Guaranteed – you WILL get the job.

  6. PDamian Jan. 12 at 2:18 pm

    My all-time favorite job applicant: a young lady who showed up in a white leather miniskirt that rode up when she sat, so that she spent an hour talking about her qualifications and experience to me (a woman) and two men while flashing us her white-with-red-hearts underwear. She might have been the most qualified applicant, but all any of us noticed about her was the panties. She didn’t get the job.

  7. John Dough Jan. 13 at 9:39 a.m.

    I wish one of my applicants would come in like that

  8. Jodi Jan. 17 at 12:01 pm

    I recall reading about a young lady who came into a professional job interview wearing a Catwoman outfit. Way to stand out! And way to not get the job.