Wacky things job candidates do to get noticed

If you’re applying for a new gig, the following tactics will get you noticed by a hiring manager -- but not necessarily in a good way.

According to a CareerBuilder survey of 2,300 hiring and HR managers, job candidates have done everything from donning a Halloween costume at the interview to having a priest contact the company on their behalf. 

“Candidates are realizing that an extraordinary cover letter and resume with strong references aren’t enough, that if you really want the gig, you have to stand out from the competition,” Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder’s chief human resources officer, said in a statement. 

But trying too hard can backfire.

“Unfortunately, what many aren’t realizing is that the catch is making sure you do that in a professional, respectful way,” Haefner said.

Here are some of the odder tactics hiring managers reported in the survey:

  • Candidate bought a first class seat upgrade to sit next to a hiring manager on a transatlantic flight
  • Candidate asked a hiring manager to share an ice cream cone
  • Candidate sent a pair of embroidered socks with a note saying he would knock the company’s socks off if hired
  • Candidate showed up in his camp counselor attire with some of the children from the camp he worked for to show his leadership capabilities
  • Candidate sent a shoe with a flower in it as a thank you after the interview. The note said: “Trying to get my foot in the door”
  • Candidate arrived to interview in a white limousine, an hour early, dressed in a three-piece suit. The open position was middle-wage and had a required dress code of khakis, company button-down and black shoes
  • Candidate kissed hiring manager

Instead of sending footwear or stalking a manager on a plane, Haefner shared some more conventional ways to stand out -- in a good way:

  • Give examples of how your past experience can be utilized in the new role
  • Use social media to showcase your knowledge of the industry
  • Prepare good questions for the interviewer
  • Showcase facts, figures and data that help promote yourself
  •  Don’t forget to send an appropriate “thank you” note to the interview