With nerves and hopes running high, interviews are the setting for some seriously awkward moments. Like the candidate who mistakenly asked the hiring manager how many weeks into her pregnancy she was (yes, it happened). Or that other candidate who laughed after every response he gave.
4 Awkward Interview Moments and What They Say About a Job Candidate
Awkward interview moments make for great rainy day stories, but they also provide telling details about the individual you are interviewing and their candidacy for a position.
1. The dreaded moment of silence
You’ve asked the candidate a question, each of you is waiting for the other person to speak, and what is a matter of seconds feels like hours.
Best case scenario, the candidate just didn’t hear you correctly, so repeat or rephrase the question. If you’re still not getting anywhere (or worse yet, you’re getting one-word responses), the candidate could be unprepared, lack good communication skills, or not have the experience to speak to the question—and quite possibly for the position.
2. The candidate’s phone rings
We’ve all been there: a phone rings during a big meeting. Oops! Even worse: an interviewee with a ringtone belting out Kanye Wests’ new single, profanities and all.
First off, the candidate’s phone should obviously have been silenced. Failing to do so shows a lack of preparation and a degree of carelessness. More importantly though—how do they respond to the unexpected phone call? If they actually answer it or even if they ignore it without apology, it shows a poor sense of professionalism and respect.
3. The uncomfortable eye contact
A candidate who spends more time looking at the floor than at you may not have the confidence or focus to take on the position. A full-blown staring contest would be just as awkward, but there is a middle ground. In fact, 67 percent of hiring managers agree that poor eye contact is one of the biggest body language mistakes jobseekers make. Good eye contact conveys that the candidate is listening, interested, and engaged.
4. The candidate swears
In the middle of discussing a recent project, the candidate drops an f-bomb. Yikes! Swearing doesn’t mean the candidate is unqualified for the job and perhaps it’s a result of their passion for the topic. Nevertheless, cursing during an interview conveys a lack of self-awareness and poor judgment.
Awkward moments, like those listed above, shouldn’t be the sole basis for hiring decisions. However, understanding subtle behavioral cues can help validate your decision, especially if you’re on the fence between two great candidates.
If hiring isn’t your strong suit, consider placing this important task into the trusted hands of the experts at ALTRES Staffing. We have the largest, most experienced staff of specialists in the industry who spend their entire workday focusing on recruitment, testing, and evaluation so that our clients don’t have to.