March 13, 2008 / 3:20 PM / 12 years ago

Answer the phone? Sniff armpits? Top 10 interview gaffes

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Hear the one about the job candidate who brushed her hair during an interview? Or the man who sniffed his armpits on the way into the interview room?

They may sound like jokes but these are two of the top 10 gaffes to feature in an annual survey of the most outrageous interview mistakes by candidates compiled by online job site

The list, based on a survey of 3,061 U.S. hiring managers and human resources professionals by research company Harris Interactive, found the top 10 most outrageous mistakes were:

- Candidate answered cell phone and asked the interviewer to leave her own office because it was a “private” conversation.

- Candidate told the interviewer he wouldn’t be able to stay with the job long because he thought he might get an inheritance if his uncle died — and his uncle wasn’t “looking too good.”

- Candidate asked the interviewer for a ride home after the interview.

- Candidate smelled his armpits on the way to the interview room.

- Candidate said she could not provide a writing sample because all of her writing had been for the CIA and it was “classified.”

- Candidate told the interviewer he was fired for beating up his last boss.

- When an applicant was offered food before the interview, he declined saying he didn’t want to line his stomach with grease before going out drinking.

- A candidate for an accounting position said she was a “people person” not a “numbers person.”

- Candidate flushed the toilet while talking to interviewer during phone interview.

- Candidate took out a hair brush and brushed her hair.

As well as asking about the most unusual blunders, employers were also asked about the most common and detrimental mistakes candidates made during an interview.

More than half — 51 percent — said dressing inappropriately was the biggest mistake a candidate could make in an interview.

Talking negatively about a current or previous employer came in second at 49 percent and third in the list at 48 percent was appearing disinterested.

Other mistakes included appearing arrogant, not providing specific answers, and not asking good questions.

“If a candidate is overly negative, plays the blame game, is easily frazzled or doesn’t come prepared, it usually sends up a red flag for employers, “ said Career spokeswoman Rosemary Haefner.

Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Patricia Reaney

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