Bizarre Interview Tactics to Land the Job


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — With the national unemployment rate bobbing at 7.4% and fast food workers clamoring for a hike in minimum wage pay, it's not surprising that some job-seekers are so desperate for work that they will sing for their supper.

A 2013 CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals nationwide revealed that candidates had worn clown suits and printed their resume on a chocolate bar just to stand out from the crowd and snag a job.

"Thinking outside the box is great but the stunts that work best are the ones that showcase your relevant skills and abilities," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

Techniques that worked to curry favor among employers included contracting a billboard outside of a potential employer's office, sending a message in a bottle, asking to conduct the job interview in Spanish to showcase language skills and performing a musical number on the guitar.

"The focus of the interview should be why you would be a great addition to the team and not what you're willing to do to get noticed," Haefner said.

Still, other candidates repaired equipment during the first interview, climbed a roof the employer was repairing to ask for a job and crafted a cover letter similar to a wedding invitation.

"It's understandable in this economy that a few job seekers would go to some extreme, creative and clever ways to get attention in order to secure a job opportunity, but I think they are better served upgrading their skills because the job market is constantly changing," said Professor Curt Grimm, economics professor at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business.

Attention-seeking methods that didn't work were doing back-flips into the interviewer's office, bringing gifts from the interviewer's online shopping wish list, fruit baskets to the interviewer's undisclosed home address, reading the interviewer's future with tarot cards and demanding three minutes with a timer before allowing the interview to begin.

"Employers typically aren't looking for the most outrageous candidate--they're looking for the best fit," said Haefner.

Still others mailed lotto tickets, wore florescent suits and delivered a shoe to get their foot in the door.

"Don't get desperate," says Glenn Freedman, new talent development manager at WinterWyman, a recruitment firm. "What's often missing is a thoughtful interview strategy that helps the interviewer choose you over other qualified candidates."

Job Interview Etiquette

  • 1. Reference recent news about a company. "It not only shows you did your homework but that you applied the research in a way that sells you as the premier candidate," said Freedman.
  • 2. Don't dominate the conversation. "The interviewer hires someone who makes them feel comfortable both personally and professionally," said Freedman. "The interviewer wants to know they can interact and work with you in both settings."
  • 3. Mirror the body language of the person interviewing you. The interviewer will, without realizing it, feel more connected with the interviewee.
  • 4. Put your best foot forward "Be well dressed, speak clearly and look them in the eye," said Hank Walshak, a communications expert and publicist.
  • 5. Follow up with a post interview thank you

--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet

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