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Job interviews that got away

Want evidence that not being prepared for an interview can do you in? Here are a few sad-but-true tales of interview no-nos.

Annette Hoffman, a career counselor with Career Development Services in Rochester, N.Y., tells this anecdote about the importance of checking on details.

A woman lied to her current boss in order to get the morning off for a job interview in a town an hour away. She claimed she had a funeral to attend. What she didn't find out ahead of time was that the interview was an all-day affair. She ended up having to call her boss in the middle of the day and give additional lies about how distraught everyone at the funeral was and how she was driving some relatives home, and on and on. While this might not have affected the interview, it could have wrecked her relationship with her present employer.

Jennifer Maxwell Parkinson, president of Look Consulting International in New York, advises always planning for the unexpected -- even the weather.

A man was nearly guaranteed a job before his interview. But he didn't prepare for the weather -- and he didn't take a minute to pull himself together in a bathroom before the interview. He was a wet, disheveled mess when he met the interviewer. The potential employer didn't give him a job.

Marjorie Brody, author, speaker, trainer and president of Brody Communications Ltd. in Elkins Park, Pa., relates this tale about not preparing your clothes ahead of time.

A man bought a brand-new shirt for his upcoming interview. The problem is he didn't take it out of the package until he was dressing shortly before his appointment. The shirt was covered in sharp creases. He figured it would work out because he'd be wearing his jacket over the shirt. Unfortunately it got hot at the long interview, and he was encouraged to take off his jacket. He eventually did and watched the reactions to his unprofessional look.

Finally, Brody gives us a great lesson about burning bridges instead of building them.

After receiving hundreds of resumes for an opening in her organization, Brody sent e-mails or letters politely saying "thanks but no thanks" to those she chose not to interview. One fellow responded by e-mail, saying, "I wouldn't want to work for a woman anyway. See ya, wouldn't want to be ya." This rude response will hurt his future job hunting, especially with anyone who might know Brody. Not surprisingly, she is more than willing to reveal the man's name and university to anyone who is interested.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy
-- Posted: May 10, 2004
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