Employers’ Top 5 ‘Instant Deal Breakers’ for Job Candidates

Half of employers know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good fit for a position. Here is how to make the right impression.

Job candidates can spend hours preparing for interviews, but 50 percent of employers know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good fit for a position.

That’s among the findings of a recent CareerBuilder survey. Harris Poll conducted the survey of more than 2,500 hiring managers and human resources managers, of whom more than 2,300 work in the private sector.

Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder, says in a news release issued Thursday that preparing for an interview requires “a lot more” than doing an Internet search for answers to common interview questions:

“Candidates have to make a great first impression appearance-wise, have a solid understanding of the target company, know exactly how to convey that they’re the perfect fit for the job and control their body language.”

The survey also reveals the most common interview mistakes that job candidates make, which CareerBuilder describes as “instant deal breakers, according to employers.” They are:

  1. Getting caught lying: cited by 69 percent of survey participants
  2. Answering a cellphone or text message during the interview: 68 percent
  3. Appearing arrogant or entitled: 60 percent
  4. Dressing inappropriately: 50 percent
  5. Swearing: 50 percent

The most common interview body language mistakes, which CareerBuilder reports can also foil a candidate’s best efforts to prepare for an interview, are:

  1. Failing to make eye contact: cited by 67 percent of survey participants
  2. Failing to smile: 39 percent
  3. Playing with something on the table: 33 percent
  4. Having bad posture: 30 percent
  5. Fidgeting too much in their seats: 30 percent
  6. Crossing their arms over their chests: 29 percent
  7. Playing with their hair or touching their faces: 27 percent
  8. Having a weak handshake: 21 percent
  9. Using too many hand gestures: 11 percent
  10. Having a handshake that was too strong: 7 percent

Haefner recommends three tips for job interviewees:

  • Research the company beforehand, learning as much as possible about its services, products, customers and competition.
  • Interview yourself for the position. In other words, ask yourself common interview questions or practice answering them with someone else.
  • Be positive. That includes answering questions positively and with enthusiasm as well as not speaking negatively about prior employers.

What is the biggest job interview blunder that you’ve ever made? Share your experiences below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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