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Hiring Managers Often Put Off by Late, Distracted Candidates

Job interviews can be a minefield. From choosing the right outfit to answering difficult questions with confidence, they can be a stressful experience for job seekers. Yet, while hiring managers can tolerate a few pre-interview nerves, there are plenty of behaviors during the hiring process that can kill a candidate’s chances of securing a role.  

Ringover, a cloud communications company, surveyed 1,200 people with remote and in-person interview experience, across a range of sectors and age ranges, to find out which behaviors give hiring managers the ick.  

When it comes to interviewers, there is almost no excuse for a late arrival. Nothing flags red to recruiters more than a candidate that can’t keep track of time, particularly in roles where deadline management skills are essential.  

Among the candidate behaviors that are the most off-putting for hiring managers, being late for an interview (35.8%) tops the list, followed by not researching the company before an interview (30.7%), getting the name of the company wrong (28.4%), not dressing appropriately (28.2%), discussing personal topics (25.4%), using filler words (25.3%), rearranging an interview on the day (24.7%), making a joke or using banter (24.5%), getting the name of the interviewer wrong (24.4%), and not asking questions at the end of the interview (20.3%).  

Navigating through in-person interviews can be challenging, yet it remains the primary choice for businesses, with 95% of respondents saying they prefer to sit down in-person with candidates. With so many established and unwritten rules on etiquette to learn – which vary based on the industry and hiring manager’s preference – establishing that all-important connection from the start is vital.  

Among the in-person candidate behaviors that are the most off-putting to hiring managers, arriving late (38.4%) tops the list, followed by avoiding eye contact (33.7%), not being polite to other staff (30.8%), not dressing appropriately (29.6%), not bringing copies of resume (26.4%), not taking care of personal appearance (25.6%), bad breath (25%), overpowering perfume or cologne (24.6%), smelling unpleasant (23.8%), being unwell but still attending interview (23.2%), and asking for a hot drink with two or more sugars (20.7%).  

It’s important for candidates to make a good impression with everyone int he business, not just the hiring managers on the day of their interview. Columbia University’s careers department suggests several important techniques to remember for candidates, from communicating clearly to confident body language.  

According to Gartner, as many as 89% of organizations moved to virtual interviewing processes for recruitment during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it appears that its ease and convenience has caught on in the years since. Research shows that 82.2% of respondents continue to interview candidates using platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.  

Joining a virtual call late (32%) is the most off-putting behavior for hiring managers, followed by speaking to someone else while on the call (30.1%), having their camera switched off (30%), having something inappropriate in the background (27.1%), someone appearing in the background (25.9%), not dressing appropriately (25.5%), not taking care of personal appearance (25.4%), interviewing while in a coffee shop (24.8%), interviewing while in a park (24%), candidate having technical difficulties with call (23.9%), and putting themselves on mute during their turn to talk (23.2%).  

Phone interviews can be daunting. With the absence of eye contact and body language cues to build rapport, introverts and extroverts alike struggle with their demands. Yet, they are often used to streamline the recruitment process and save time and resources when hiring for a new position. Candidates can explain their resume in an informal setting before having their experience scrutinized in person. In fact, 81.8% of respondents have used a phone call to interview a candidate.  

Interrupting before an interviewer finishes a sentence is the top off-putting behavior for hiring managers (33.8%), followed by using speakerphone (33.1%), interviewing while driving (32.1%), hearing other people in the background (31.9%), eating or drinking during conversation (30.8%), audibly yawning (30.3%), not answering the first time (29.9%), and not talking with authority (28.1%).  

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