Jobseekers sometimes do some unusual things to get noticed.
A recent CareerBuilder survey unearthed a number of unconventional tactics hiring managers have seen — including a candidate:
Coming to an October interview dressed in a Halloween costume
Purchasing a first-class plane ticket to sit beside a hiring manager
Arriving in camp counselor attire with children from the camp the candidate worked at to illustrate his leadership capabilities
Sending a pair of socks with a note saying the job candidate would knock the company’s socks off if hired
Mailing money in an envelope to the hiring manager
Handing out homemade lavender soap bars his wife had made as a thank you
Wearing a tie with the company’s name on it to the interview
While many of the above examples may induce a grimace, with a high number of applicants in some industries, candidates’ desire to stand out is somewhat understandable.
Some interview-related moves — such as a job candidate sending a hiring manager an envelope full of cash — are clearly a warning sign. Others, though, may not indicate a person is a poor candidate who would be a bad hire. Special consideration may be needed for candidates who:
Don’t immediately exude innate managerial talent
Hiring a good manager is important. Gallup estimates managers account for at least 70 percent of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units. If a managerial candidate without the right aptitude for the job is hired — which Gallup found companies do 82 percent of the time — performance indicators such as profitability, productivity and quality can be affected.
One in 10 people, according to Gallup’s research, possess the talent to manage. However, another two in 10 have some basic managerial characteristics — and can potentially function at a high level, with coaching and development.
If a job candidate possesses some of the needed attributes — the ability to focus on individuals’ needs, excite workers and increase efficiency, for example — investing in additional training may help transform them into an effective manager.
Are self-taught, instead of self-assured
A 2011 study conducted by a University College London assistant professor and a Harvard social psychologist found people said they felt training was more important than talent; yet when asked to rate two classical musicians, participants, according to the Harvard Business Review ranked the one identified as having a natural musical ability over the musician who was said to have put in significant work to develop her skills.
The same principle held true for business. In an entrepreneur-based study published in 2015, participants again said they preferred the person with natural talent over the hard worker, identifying a business proposal from the businessperson said to be innately talented as higher quality than the hard worker’s, despite the fact both proposals were actually the same.
Study participants said the entrepreneur’s passion, confidence and their own intuition, with other factors, had influenced their decision.
In interviews, someone who walks through the door with a significant amount of experience may not get the same amount of credit as a job candidate who radiates confidence and ease, particularly if the experienced candidate is shy, humble or just nervous. It’s up to the hiring manager to put the person at ease and probe his background and traits. Watch out for potential interview bias to ensure you don’t overlook qualified, beneficial candidates.
Come off better in person than on paper
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, according to Business Insider, likes to ask candidate what items they weren’t able to list on their resume. Given the space constraints, job candidates can’t go into significant detail about what’s included — and they may not include hobbies, volunteerism or other activities that could involve relevant organizational, leadership or other skills.
Weaving Branson’s question in with the other behavioral interview questions you should ask may help you get a clearer sense of the candidate’s experience and whether or not the person would be a good fit for your organization.
For more on interviewing and the challenges hiring managers face, check out our blog posts on interview and hiring trends, interviewing process steps you should never skip and using big data to help with hiring.