Survey: Unusual Behavior, Body Language Can Influence Hiring

Dan Cook’s January 21 article on reports on a CareerBuilder survey that reveals much about first impressions and the job interview.

Would you hire a prospective employee who brought 50 ink pens to the first interview, and spread them out on the table before him? The pen man would be an asset if the job’s main requirements are organization, preparedness, and hand-written thank-you letters.

This is just one of the first interview “most unusual behaviors” reported by 2,100-plus respondents to a CareerBuilder survey that focused on the interview process. The report says that 49 percent of those in the survey said they knew within five minutes of that first interview whether someone could cut the mustard or not. After 15 minutes, that number jumped to 90 percent.

But, as Cook points out, the fun stuff from the survey came in the responses to the question about unusual behaviors encountered during an interview. Here’s a sample:

The candidate sat in a yoga pose during the interview.
The candidate tried to Google the answer to a question.
The candidate asked if his wife, who worked at the company for which he was interviewing, was cheating on him.
In answer to a question about diversity, the candidate used the term “off the boat.”
The candidate asked if he could offer religious advice to the employees.
The candidate asked how much money everyone else makes.
The candidate gave the reason for leaving the previous position as “kicking someone’s butt that really needed it.”
CareerBuilder asked these respondents to check the boxes next to body language actions that weren’t helpful to the candidate’s cause. Here are the responses:

Failing to make eye contact: 65 percent
Failing to smile: 36 percent
Playing with something on the table: 33 percent
Having bad posture: 30 percent
Fidgeting too much in their seat: 29 percent
Crossing their arms over their chest: 26 percent
Playing with their hair or touching their face: 25 percent
Having a weak handshake: 22 percent
Using too many hand gestures: 11 percent
Having a handshake that is too strong: 7 percent

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