Crazy Candidate Tactics

Updated on: 17. November 2023

A couple of weeks ago we posted an article on Impossible Interview Questions, some of the brainteasers that have been reported over the last year were just outright bizarre and…

A couple of weeks ago we posted an article on Impossible Interview Questions, some of the brainteasers that have been reported over the last year were just outright bizarre and quite honestly, made you feel a bit sorry for the poor candidate in the interview seat. This week however, we’re going to take a look at some of the crazy candidate tactics that people are using to stand out from the crowd – It might just make you feel a bit sorry for the interviewers…


Top 10 Crazy Candidate Tactics

This year Careerbuilder undertook a survey asking 2,076 hiring managers and human resource professionals, to divulge the most memorable things that candidates had done to stand out during interview. Here are the top 10 crazy candidate tactics of 2013:

  1. Candidate back-flipped into the room.
  2. Candidate brought items from interviewer’s online shopping wish list.
  3. Candidate sent a fruit basket to interviewer’s home address (which the interviewer had not given her).
  4. Candidate did a tarot reading for the interviewer.
  5. Candidate dressed as a clown.
  6. Candidate sent interviewer some beef stew with a note saying “Eat hearty and hire me.”
  7. Candidate placed a timer on interviewer’s desk, started it, and told interviewer he would explain in 3 minutes why he was the perfect candidate.
  8. Candidate sent interviewer a lotto ticket.
  9. Candidate wore a fluorescent suit.
  10. Candidate sent in a shoe to “get their foot in the door.”

Candidate Tactics That Work

Needless to say, none of the above went down particularly well with their respective interviewers, the following candidate tactics however succeeded in making the right impression – even if they were a little unconventional. Here are the top 10 techniques that worked:

  1. Candidate contracted a billboard outside of employer’s office.
  2. Candidate gave a resume on a chocolate bar.
  3. Candidate showed up in a suit with a red T-shirt underneath a white shirt. The red T-shirt had a message – “Hire me, I work hard.”
  4. Candidate asked to be interviewed in Spanish to showcase his skills.
  5. Candidate crafted the cover letter like an invitation to hire her rather than a request (similar to a wedding invitation).
  6. Candidate climbed on a roof the employer was repairing and asked for a job.
  7. Candidate performed a musical number on the guitar about why he was the best candidate.
  8. Candidate volunteered to help out with making copies when he saw interviewer’s assistant was getting frazzled.
  9. Candidate repaired a piece of company’s equipment during the first interview.
  10. Candidate sent a message in a bottle.

The Top 10 Candidate Blunders of 2013

However, Careerbuilder didn’t just stop there – they went on to release a survey on the most outrageous candidate mistakes of 2013…

  1. Candidate answered cell phone and asked the interviewer to leave her own office because it was a “private” conversation.
  2. Candidate told the interviewer he wouldn’t be able to stay with the job long because he thought he might get an inheritance if his uncle died – and his uncle “wasn’t looking too good.”
  3. Candidate asked the interviewer for a ride home after the interview.
  4. Candidate smelled his armpits on the way to the interview room.
  5. Candidate said she could not provide a writing sample because all of her writing had been for the CIA and it was “classified.”
  6. Candidate told the interviewer he was fired for beating up his last boss.
  7. When applicant was offered food before the interview he declined, saying that he didn’t want to line his stomach with grease before going out drinking.
  8. A candidate for an accounting position said she was a “people person,” not a “numbers person.”
  9. Candidate flushed the toilet while talking to the interviewer during a phone interview.
  10. Candidate took out a hair brush and brushed her hair mid-interview.

Crazy Candidate Tactics – why?

Apparently it’s not just the employers throwing curveballs, in today’s competitive job market it seems like everyone is looking for new ways to stand out from the crowd. There seems to be a fine line between what crazy candidate tactics work, and what doesn’t – but at least we now know that it’s never a good idea to admit to beating up your ex boss…

What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to further the discussion in the comments section below.

Image Reference – Flickr Xianrendujia

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