Survey results offer some shocking insights into what job seekers say about how they prepare for interviews and how hiring managers act.
You might be surprised what happens during job interviews, according to a new survey. Some eye-opening responses suggest that you may need to rethink how you conduct interviews and train others involved in hiring.
Of nearly 2,000 workers surveyed, 88% say they believe their appearance can influence how others perceive their competence, and 63% think they’ve benefited from their appearance in an interview. Over half (54%) say they worry that some aspect of their appearance could cost them a job offer; so it’s not surprising that respondents say they spend over an hour thinking about and/or shopping for an outfit to wear to an interview.
Both men and women are concerned about their appearance, although most women are worried about weight (25%), and men are most concerned about clothing (38%). Nearly a quarter of men (24%) are concerned about weight, and 18% of women have anxieties about their clothes. Other worries are about makeup (16% of women), frumpiness (9% of women and 11% of men), and looking too sexual (12% of women and 9% of men).
Here is where some of the responses are a little shocking and should concern employers. One in five respondents say they’ve been flirted with during a job interview. If that isn’t disturbing enough, 58% of women and 71% of men say they have flirted back.
Nearly two-thirds (59%) of respondents say they’ve been asked about their personal life, and one in three have been questioned about their relationship status. Worse yet, many say that interviewers have brought up topics considered inappropriate or even illegal. For instance, 37% of women and 27% of men say they’ve been asked about their plans to have children.
In a time when people are used to oversharing on social media, people are surprisingly comfortable discussing personal information in interviews. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of men and 57% of women say they don’t mind talking about their personal life with a hiring manager. However, while they may not mind being asked about their private life, they may not be honest in their answers. One in three respondents say they’ve lied about their personal life or hidden something on social media.
While job candidates may worry about looks and personal issues, survey results suggest that they want to impress hirers with their abilities. A vast majority (86%) of respondents say they’d rather be seen as competent than likeable.
These survey results suggest that managers and others involved in interviewing job candidates may need some additional training and reminders about appropriate—and inappropriate–lines of questioning. Consider some role-playing and other interactive exercises. These will be particularly helpful in identifying comments, questions, or actions that people don’t even realize are inappropriate or might be misconstrued.