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Career Corner
How NOT to impress

( -- The employment interview is a critical step in the job search process, but it's not always smooth sailing.

A survey recently asked hiring managers to describe the most unusual occurrences in interviews they had ever heard of from clients and colleagues. The findings reveal just how important first impressions can be for job seekers.

Managers were asked: "What is the most unusual thing you have ever heard of happening in a job interview?" Here are some of their responses:

* When asked how he liked working with customers in his past position, the interviewee replied, "I don't like it when people hassle me."
* When asked about her proficiency with software programs, the candidate pulled out a photo of herself standing next to a computer and said, "This shows my familiarity with today's office equipment."
* When discussing why the candidate had been fired from several jobs, he said his previous employers had conspired to place a curse on him, and he was conducting his own secret investigation.
* When asked about formal education, the candidate replied, "I don't need any. I'm certified by the school of real life."

In other cases, the candidates' actions spoke louder than words:

* A candidate waiting in the lobby opened a large bag of cheese crunchies and began to eat them. When the interviewer greeted him, he extended a hand covered with orange dust.
* A candidate tilted his chair back and put his feet on top of the interviewer's desk.
* An entry-level candidate became so animated during an interview that his clip-on tie fell off.
* The candidate walked into the hiring manager's office with a brown bag and proceeded to eat lunch during the interview, saying she was "multitasking" during a long day of interviews.

(c) 2002

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