By Eric B. Meyer
I heard this story once about a law-school graduate who was looking for his first job out of school. He applied to several local Philadelphia-area law firms, and ultimately received an interview from one of them.
The job interview was with two seasoned partners.
According to this recent Career Builder survey, when it comes to a job interview, the first few minutes may be the most crucial. Nearly half (49 percent) of employers know within the first five minutes of an interview whether a candidate is a good or bad fit for the position, and 87 percent know within the first 15 minutes.
This interview started off well.
When two law partners do a job interview …
But, less than 15 minutes into the interview, the focus shifted. You see, as most lawyers do, the partners eventually spent more of the interview time talking about themselves, than learning about the law-school graduate.
Indeed, the “conversation” devolved into the lawyers complimenting each other on their legal acumen and many accomplishments:
“John here, just represented a multi-billion dollar conglomerate in an asset purchase of la-di-dah.“
“Well, Ron, here, just won his three-week-long qui tam such and such in federal court.”
“But John, here, also sits on the board of blah blah blah“
How the applicant handled it
You get the idea. It reached the point where the law-school grad was unable to get in a word edge-wise. That is, until he politely interjected:
“Would you gentlemen like for me to leave the room so that the two of you may have some alone time together?“
How I wish I could have been a fly on the wall at the precise moment that the partners’ brows furrowed and the “what the f**k did he just say?” look formed on their faces!
Hey, I would have hired that spunky law grad on the spot! But, from this employer’s standpoint, it was a pretty big interview blunder.
Memorable interview blunders
With that, here are other memorable ones shared with CareerBuilder as part of its most recent employer survey:
- Applicant warned the interviewer that she “took too much Valium” and didn’t think her interview was indicative of her personality.
- Applicant acted out a Star Trek role
- Applicant answered a phone call for an interview with a competitor.
- Applicant arrived in a jogging suit because he was going running after the interview.
- Applicant asked for a hug.
- Applicant attempted to secretly record the interview.
- Applicant brought personal photo albums.
- Applicant called himself his own personal hero.
- Applicant checked Facebook during the interview.
- Applicant crashed her car into the building.
- Applicant popped out his teeth when discussing dental benefits.
- Applicant kept her iPod headphones on during the interview.
- Applicant set fire to the interviewer’s newspaper while reading it when the interviewer said “impress me.”
- Applicant said that he questioned his daughter’s paternity.
- Applicant wanted to know the name and phone number of the receptionist because he really liked her.
I think my story tops ’em. And below (and here) is another one that didn’t make the survey. It’s not safe for work, but it blows checking Facebook, hugs, and jogging suits out of the water. #Truth
This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.