Entries in Job Interview (4)


Asking to Be Paid 'Under the Table' Among Job Interview Blunders

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Making a good impression during a job interview will undoubtedly improve your chances of landing a position, while committing a blunder will probably result in a lost opportunity. 

Asking to be paid “under the table” seems to be a bizarre request, but that’s what one candidate actually did during a job interview.  That’s just one blunder uncovered by a recent survey of 2,600 hiring managers and 3,900 workers.

Here’s a rundown of some of the real-life interview blunders uncovered in the survey:

  • Candidate said he had to quit a banking position because he was always tempted to steal.
  • Candidate denied that he had a cell phone with him even though it could be heard ringing in the briefcase beside him.
  • Candidate emptied the employer's candy dish into her pocket.
  • Candidate said he didn't like getting up early and didn't like to read.
  • Candidate asked to be paid "under the table."
  • Candidate reached over and placed a hand on the interviewer's knee.
  • Candidate commented that he would do whatever it takes to get the job done, legal or not.
  • Candidate hugged the president of the company.
  • Candidate called his wife to see what they were having for dinner.
  • Candidate asked to postpone the start date so she could still get holiday gifts from vendors at her current job.
  • Candidate called in sick to her current employer during the interview, faking an illness.
  • Candidate said he didn't want the job if he had to work a lot.
  • Candidate wouldn't answer a question because he thought they would steal his idea and not hire him.

The survey also asked hiring managers to identify six fatal interview errors that job candidates make:

  • Appearing disinterested.
  • Answering a cell phone or texting.
  • Dressing inappropriately.
  • Talking negatively about a current or previous employer.
  • Poor body language: Failure to make eye contact or smile, bad posture and a weak handshake.
  • Not providing specific examples.

The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


‘Creepy’ Eye Contact: Avoid This Job Interview Blunder

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to doing your best at a job interview, you might already know the basics -- dress the part, learn about the company and industry beforehand, ask questions and, of course, make eye contact.

Lauren Ferrara of Creative Circle Staffing told ABC's 20/20 that eye contact and a smile are the first things she looks for when meeting with job applicants.

It’s “as simple as that,” she said.

But not all eye contact is created equal -- and for some, this seemingly simple, non-verbal form of communication can be easy to botch.

Job interview coach Pamela Skillings listed, “Thou shalt make non-creepy eye contact,” as one of her “10 Commandments of Job Interviews.”

Skillings wrote that maintaining “steady, natural eye contact conveys confidence and sincerity.”  But what you don’t want to do is fire up an “intense, over-compensating stare.”

Other eye contact don’ts include: shifty looks, staring down, cleavage glances and eye rolling.

So how does one, so to speak, keep their eye on the prize?  As with anything else, Skillings recommended practice.

“[I]f you tend to be nervous or shy with people you don’t know,” she wrote, practice with a friend.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- How much toilet paper would you need to cover Texas?  How many vacuum cleaners are made a year?  Can you swim faster in water or in syrup?  How would you weigh your head?

If your answer to these questions was, "who cares?" your chances of ever working at Google, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, most of the Fortune 500, or, increasingly, the corner shoe store, are slim.  Offbeat, brain-teasing questions are all the rage right now with interviewers.

So says science writer William Poundstone, author of the new book, Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?  Its daunting subtitle: "Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You Need to Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy."

Anywhere?  Yes, pretty much, Poundstone tells ABC News.  The reasons, he says, are several.

First, there are more people than there are jobs.  A potential employer can set the bar to entry high and still be assured of a waiting room full of desperate souls.  

Second, "HR departments are running scared, asking themselves, 'How can we make sure our questions have predictive power for how well someone will do on the job?'"

There's not absolute proof that the new questions work, Poundstone says, but there's abundant evidence (including a Harvard study) that the old ones don't.  Most hiring decisions, researchers have shown, have more to do with an applicant's appearance or manner of speech than they do with his or her intellect.

Many of Google's questions, says Poundstone, are intentionally open-ended.  Example: "How would you devise an evacuation plan for San Francisco?"  In most instances, there is no single correct answer.  The interviewer's goal is to see how the thinking process of the applicant works, and to gauge his or her creativity in problem-solving.

Google declined an ABC News request for comment.

The book's most useful features include "A Field Guide to Devious Interview Questions," which divides questions into categories (e.g., classic logic puzzles, lateral-thinking puzzles, insight questions, tests of divergent thinking, etc.), then offers strategies and tips for answering each type.

Another feature is useful whether you interview with Google or any other employer: "Salvaging a Doomed Interview" offers advice for how to buy yourself time to think and how to make a good impression on your interviewer, whether you know the answer or not.

The second half of the book gives answers to the teasers cited in the first -- although which of these you ever might be asked is tough to say.  Questions, Poundstone explains, have a shelf life of their own.  Some ("Why are man hole covers round?") escape the shops of their creators and become part of company or industry folklore, such that more and more applicants come prepared to answer.

Interviewers at Google, for this reason, invest effort coming up with ever-newer and more devious questions.  It's more valuable for the applicant to understand the strategy for answering a given type of question than to have a canned answer ready.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


CareerBuilder Posts Worst Interview Mistakes of All Time

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- It's no secret the jobs situation in this country is dismal, so if you're lucky enough to land an interview, suggests you don't ask for a sip of the interviewer's coffee.

Believe it or not, an applicant actually did that during an interview.  That mistake and others are part of a new list compiled by the online jobs site, based on real-life encounters of hiring managers.

Among the obvious mistakes cited by experts are being late to interviews or appearing cocky.  Some less-obvious first impression flubs that hiring managers have seen?  Texting or taking a cellphone call during an interview, inexplicably wearing a Boy Scout uniform, or telling an interviewer the offered position, "isn't worth starting the car for."

Here's the full list of the most unusual interviewing mistakes, as compiled by

-- Candidate brought a "'How To Interview' book" with him to the interview.

-- Candidate asked, "What company is this again?"

-- Candidate put the interviewer on hold during a phone interview. When she came back on the line, she told the interviewer that she had a date set up for Friday.

-- When a candidate interviewing for a security position wasn't hired on the spot, he painted graffiti on the building.

-- Candidate was arrested by federal authorities after a background check revealed the person had an outstanding warrant.

-- Candidate talked about promptness as one of her strengths after showing up 10 minutes late.

-- While driving to the interview, the candidate passed, cut-off and flipped his middle finger at a motorist who happened to be the interviewer.

-- Candidate referred to himself in the third person.

--Candidate took off his shoes during the interview.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio