Wearing Pajamas to an Interview Is a Bad Idea

Express Franchisees Detail the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Résumés and Interviews

RL10-22-2015Express Employment Professionals recently released new survey results detailing some of the cleverest things people have done to get jobs, as well as some of the worst mistakes job applicants have made in interviews.

First, the survey asked Express franchisees to name some of the “cleverest ways someone submitted a résumé.” Responses included the following:

  • Typing the résumé out like a movie script
  • Attaching the résumé to a light bulb (“It’s a bright idea to hire me!”)
  • Delivering the résumé in a box via UPS
  • Presenting the résumé as a menu
  • Leaving the résumé on a car
  • Putting the résumé on a CD along with video, still shots and music
  • Presenting the résumé as a radio commercial
  • Delivering the résumé with a box of doughnuts

Franchisees were also asked about the “cleverest things you’ve ever seen someone do to get a job.” Responses included the following:

  • Bringing a portfolio and giving a brief presentation of their work
  • Bringing lists of potential clients and other ideas for the position
  • Creating a business plan
  • Offering to work a period for free to demonstrate their value
  • Providing referrals from someone known to the employer
  • Writing a press release announcing their hiring
  • Researching the company and their interviewer

COM15AE_10-21Release_USUnfortunately, not every job applicant delivers that level of creativity. Franchisees report plenty of mistakes in the application process, particularly in interviews.

Survey respondents were asked to name the “top five worst things an applicant can do during an interview.” The following responses topped the list.

These aren’t hypotheticals. Express franchisees report witnessing these mistakes firsthand. When asked to name the “worst thing you’ve ever seen someone do in an interview,” respondents produced the following real life examples:

  • Answering the phone
  • Asking to step out for a smoke break
  • Asking at the end of the interview, “What am I interviewing for?”
  • Badmouthing their former employer and sharing that they have a pending lawsuit against them
  • Bringing a baby and changing its diaper
  • Bringing a child that sits in their lap
  • Bringing a pet
  • Bringing their mother
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Disclosing they are interviewing just to keep unemployment benefits
  • Falling asleep
  • Listing their own cell phone number and posing as their own reference
  • Listening to headphones
  • Vaping
  • Wearing pajamas

“When you’re competing to win a new job, it can pay to be creative. The ability to stand out can be the difference between a job offer and a rejection, provided you’re standing out for the right reasons,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

“Even if you’re not creative, though, you must be competent. It never ceases to amaze me the way some people ruin their prospects with unforced errors in interviews. Your interviewer should have your undivided attention. If you can’t make it through an interview without answering a phone, texting a friend, smoking a cigarette, or tending to your children, I can pretty much guarantee you that you won’t be landing the job.”

What’s the craziest tactic a job applicant used to get your attention? Did it work? What are some of the worst interview behaviors you’ve witnessed from a job seeker? Let us know in the comments section below!

4 Responses to Wearing Pajamas to an Interview Is a Bad Idea

  1. Marlene November 3, 2015 at 10:08 am #

    Bringing a coke can and then looking for a place to set it down before he can shake hands.

  2. Diana November 3, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

    An applicant showed up wearing cut off shorts and flip-flops, proceeded to plop himself down in the chair, rock back on the back legs, and put his feet up on my desk.

  3. Charlie November 5, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    Candidate showed up with his uncle, who explained that he was there to interpret for his nephew because he did not speak English… at all.

  4. Troy Weatherspoon December 15, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    I had an applicant arrive at a interview with the T-shirt it looked like he slept in. I expected him to dress much more appropriately for a two week probationary period but he failed there as well.

    I also had an applicant bring his 16 year old son with him to interview, I asked if the boy would be with him during work hours and he couldn’t definitively tell me NO. Kinda weird but true.

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