Here's how to blow your next job interview

Have you ever had a bad job interview? Maybe you showed up late, or couldn't answer a question or stammered too much?

But chances are you didn't set fire to the interviewer's desk or act out your favorite "Star Trek" role. And you probably didn't break out personal photo albums or describe yourself as your own personal hero.

Oh yeah. People actually do that -- even in this fragile job market, where decent salaries and stable employment have been scarce for years.

Those are some of the "worst applicant ever" examples given by thousands of hiring managers and human resource workers in a recent survey from CareerBuilder. The managers were asked to give real-life cases of the most outrageous mistakes candidates have made in job interviews.

Here are some more mistakes that it's fair to bet didn't help the person's odds of getting the gig:

  • Showing up in a jogging suit because you plan to go running later
  • Disclosing you took too much valium, and didn't think your real personality came through
  • Crashing your car into the building
  • Keeping your iPod headphones on during the interview
  • Wondering aloud about your daughter's paternity
  • Asking the interviewer for the cute receptionist's phone number
Those are the types of moves that people remember forever. But there are also more common mistakes that any of us might have made at one point or another.

The most common error a person can make in an interview is to appear disinterested, the hiring managers said. Almost as common is dressing inappropriately or coming across as arrogant. Here are some other common mistakes reported:

  • Talking badly about current or previous employers
  • Talking or texting on a phone during the interview
  • Not knowing enough about the company or the job
  • Not giving specific examples
  • Not asking good questions
  • Giving too much personal information or asking questions that are too personal
  • Not smiling or making eye contact
  • Having a handshake that is too weak or too strong
But here's the key takeaway for any job applicant to note: Nearly half of the hiring managers said they know if a person is the right candidate within the first five minutes of an interview. That's all it takes.

So how can anyone succeed with all of these potential pitfalls and with just five minutes to prove one's worth? The best advice is to get in some serious practice before an interview, according to CareerBuilder.

Leaving your matches, headphones and jogging suits at home will help, too.

  • Kim Peterson

    Kim Peterson is a financial journalist covering business and the economy. She has written for several online and print publications, including MSN Money and The Seattle Times.

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