Bunny Slippers, Swearing and Bringing Mommy: Job Seekers’ Worst Interview Habits

Job Seekers Also Report Surprising Employer Behaviour

Comedians Tripp and Tyler Parody Best Practices

TORONTO, July 10, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Unemployment may be low, but so, too, is the behaviour of some job applicants. A new survey by Express Employment Professionals of business leaders reveals the shocking and bizarre behaviours witnessed during job interviews.

“A lady showed up wearing bunny slippers.”

“I was interviewing a registered nurse who ate through the entire interview,” wrote one respondent. “First, a banana...then, a jar of peanuts...then, an apple! All while I was asking her questions. At the conclusion of the interview, she handed me her banana peel, apple core and empty peanut jar to throw away.”

Certainly, such behaviour is the exception, not the rule. But there are plenty of unprofessional behaviours that interviewers witness regularly.

Express asked respondents, “Which of these behaviours have you witnessed from a job candidate during an interview?” Respondents were able to choose multiple answers.

•    85% report a job candidate “showing up late.”
•    83% report a job candidate with “inappropriate clothing.”
•    49% report a job candidate with “inappropriate language.”
•    48% report a job candidate “eating or chewing gum.”
•    39% report a job candidate “responding to text messages.”
•    37% report a job candidate “answering a phone call.”
•    31% report a job candidate “bringing a child into the interview.”
•    31% report a job candidate “bringing a friend into the interview.”
•    26% report a job candidate “bringing a parent into the interview.”
•    24% report a job candidate being “under the influence” of drugs or alcohol.

Comedians Tripp and Tyler parody how to improve interviewing for jobs on behalf of Express, but these tips aren’t just applicable for job seekers. Shocking interview behaviour is a two-way street. Express also surveyed job applicants, and they report some surprising behaviours from interviewers as well. Respondents were also able to choose multiple answers.

•    63% report an interviewer “showing up late.”
•    58% report having an interviewer with a “lack of preparation.”
•    51% report an interviewer “answering a phone call.”
•    39% report an interviewer “oversharing.”
•    30% report an interviewer “asking discriminatory questions.”
•    28% report an interviewer “wearing inappropriate clothing.”

Express experts have witnessed many of these bizarre behaviours in their careers. 

“It’s shocking how many job applicants answer their cell phone or text during an interview,” according to Jessica Culo, an Express Employment Professionals franchise owner in Edmonton, Alberta. “Some job applicants bring their parent or spouse into the interview and even let them answer questions. One person wore a shirt that said ‘F*** You’ on it.”

“It is surprisingly common to hear job applicants use foul language during an interview,” said Shane DeCoste, an Express franchise owner in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “One of our staff was even asked out on a date during an interview.”

Verbal aggression and irritation are also surprisingly frequent.

“When asked what the reason was for leaving their last job, several job applicants have answered ‘None of your business!’ or ‘Why does it matter?’,” DeCoste said.

Express experts offer a few basic and simple rules for job applicants to present themselves professionally during a job interview, including: showing up early, dressing appropriately, doing some research on the employer and turning off your cell phone.

Also, a simple follow-up after an interview, whether an email or a call, can help a job applicant stand out and show an employer they really want the job. Further, preparing and tailoring answers for the specific job is important.

“Be prepared to get specific and do not answer questions generally,” Culo advises. “Share specific challenges, accomplishments and recognition received.”

Job seekers also need to be aware that the interview starts the minute you enter the building or call the office, so treat everyone professionally and with respect.

“A common mistake I see job applicants make is being rude or unprofessional with the front desk person, thinking that only the observations of the hiring manager are important,” DeCoste added. “In many businesses, the front desk person is a key employee with a valued opinion and employers will often ask them what they thought of a candidate.”

Job applicants—and interviewers—must remember that in an interview, everything will be scrutinized. Express provides Job Genius, a free video-based program for students, to help the future workforce with everything from interviewing etiquette to soft skills for career success. 

“An interview is an opportunity to show your future employer your full potential,” said Bill Stoller, CEO of Express. “If you don’t show you care about the interview or respect the time and influence of the person who will hire you, no one will believe you’ll care about doing a good job. If you answer a phone call during an interview, you might as well tell the caller you didn’t get the job—because it’s a pretty safe bet you won’t. Interviewers need to be self-aware, too. In this tight labor market, the smallest thing could turn off a qualified candidate, and that’s not something you can afford.”

The survey of 310 business leaders and decision makers was conducted in June 2019 through the Express Refresh Leadership blog. The survey of 212 job seekers was conducted in June 2019 through the Express Job Journey blog.

If you would like to arrange for an interview to discuss this topic, please contact Ana Curic at (613) 858-2622 or email ana@mapleleafstrategies.com.

About Bill Stoller
William H. "Bill" Stoller is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has more than 800 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Since its inception, Express has put more than 7.7 million people to work worldwide.

About Express Employment Professionals
Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated $3.56 billion in sales and employed a record 566,000 people in 2018. Its long-term goal is to put a million people to work annually. For more information, visit ExpressPros.com.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/a5b087aa-5660-442c-bb97-50e793fe8efc

Worst Job Interview Habits