Avoid These Job Interview Behaviors Hiring Managers Find “Off-putting”

A job interview is arguably the most important part of the hiring process, as it can make or break your ability to land the job. But there are a few deciding factors hiring managers want candidates to know.

According to a new survey from Paychex, there are several “off-putting” behaviors of respondents that can prevent someone from applying for a job. The survey, which included data from more than 200 hiring managers, found that their biggest pet peeve at 62% was “lack of interview preparation.”

“Lack of preparation and late arrival were the two most detrimental factors to a candidate’s chances of being hired,” Paychex human resources coach Rachel Sweeney told CNBC Make It. “Do your research before the interview. Learn about the company you’re interviewing for and prepare questions to ask the hiring manager in advance.”

According to the survey, here are the 10 main pet peeves of recruiters:

  1. Lack of preparation for the interview (62%)
  2. Arriving late for the interview (61%)
  3. Low listening skills (56%)
  4. Saying bad things about a former employer or former co-workers (42%)
  5. Inappropriate language (38%)
  6. Bragging (36%)
  7. Too confident (33%)
  8. Failing to ask questions (33%)
  9. Hiking (30%)
  10. Lack of eye contact (25%)

Although overconfidence is lower on the list, Sweeney says it’s still a deal breaker for some hiring managers. She advises candidates to take the opportunity to be authentic instead.

“Instead of telling hiring managers what you want to do, show them your accomplishments by providing examples. Also accept the issue of ‘weakness’. This is an opportunity to show your authentic self.”

Sweeney also suggests job seekers take the time to strive for good eye contact.

“Eye contact is an important part of communication, especially when it comes to an interview. Making eye contact before speaking, holding your gaze for 4-5 seconds at a time, and using gestures are a few —some tips that interviewees can use to make sure they don’t miss eye contact when it matters most,” she suggests.

“Also, practice beforehand. Use a site or program where you can record yourself and rehearse your interview responses. When watching your recording, pay attention to your eye contact, gestures, tone and your speed.”

There are also some candidate characteristics that hiring managers consider “very important,” according to the survey. Ninety percent of hiring managers care about a candidate’s skills. Team compatibility (79%), personality (70%) and professional appearance (52%) are also desirable characteristics.

Paychex explains that “professional appearance” may be more flexible now, as many workplaces have changed their culture due to the pandemic.

“This information comes amid a societal shift towards a more inclusive definition of what it means to look professional,” Paychex’s HR team said in the report. “Additionally, remote working has also heavily influenced our concept of professional appearance. With so many people working out of their private living spaces, a more casual style has become accepted in workplaces across the country.”


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