Quirks are distractions.
Unfair as it is, for job interviews, this is categorized as “fit” for the employer. Snorts, squeaky chuckles, and unusual sneezes can be scrutinized just as misspelled words on a resume, or inappropriate attire for a job interview.
There are quite a few quirks that friends and family tolerate, but employers are not having it. Dealing with these distractions can provide a clear marketing message to an employer that you’re ready to take on responsibilities with focus and determination to succeed.
I worked with someone who did not like the smell of perfume (it was a woman) and was visually upset when someone on her team wore it. During interviews, she would ask if they would mind NOT wearing perfume. This annoyed all of the managers, but it was her team. Not right, not wrong, it was a quirk.
Quirks are personal but could say several things about you:
- You lack the discipline to squash it for an hour of interview time
- Other personal assumptions are scrutinized
- Visible quirks can distract from what matters—best attributes
1. Emotional baggage
People like to laugh and cry, but no one wants to witness this uncomfortable behavior. Telling sad stories and jokes constantly wears thin on everyone including loved ones, but particularly employers. Yes, I have seen someone come to tears in an interview.
2. Halitosis, Hygiene
Ask for a second opinion if you are constantly told, “Your breath stinks!” Or if everyone wants to say when a lack of soap manipulation is evident. This also applies to the girl or guy with too much cologne or perfume on his or her person.
What you do, not the words, could be the reason for a lack of success:
- Speaking too fast or slow is a communication problem. Practice! Practice! Practice!
- Is that rain coming from your mouth?
- Saying “huh?” “What?” “Eh?” is a sign of hearing loss or the inability to listen.
- Too loud or too soft-spoken? Either extreme is a problem.
- Do you burp a lot? Yes, that’s a problem too.
Do you test well? Do you get nervous waiting or being questioned? Do you tap on the desk, shake your legs, or suck your teeth. There are 10 others waiting to be interviewed, let them be anxious.
5. Too friendly or unfriendly
No one likes someone who carries a conversation with themselves and often offer too much information. Conversely, your potential coworkers dismiss anyone who does not say “Hi” or “Hello” either.
6. Lack of eye contact, or too much
There is staring that comes across very strange. Then there is no eye contact that makes anyone…uh…suspect.
7. You have to sit where?
The coaching I received at the time when I was learning how to interview was to allow the job candidate sit near the door. That is what we practiced as much as we could until you get the person that needs to sit facing west. Strange? Yes. You guessed it. Not a fit.
8. I must sing your name, laugh when I’m nervous, and have the last say on every point
You have to be there to understand it but all of these compensate (totally unscientific proof) for being nervous. This behavior doesn’t take long to overcome all of the good things you bring. Somebody in your life has told you that you get on their nerves. The interviewer just won’t call you back.
Many find critique the hardest part of the job search and perfecting interviewing skills, but an effective network brings the best out of you. You know why? Because they are honest in their critique and they care. Use your network to practice interviewing, greeting, and meeting people to sharpen your presentation skills.
Have someone be nitpicky down to the buttons on your blouse or shirt and even your personal quirks. Everything leaves an impression on a potential employer.
Did I miss some other quirks that are distracting? Please share below in the comments section.
About Mark Anthony Dyson
I am the "The Voice of Job Seekers!" I offer compassionate career and job search advice as I hack and re-imagine the job search process. You need to be "the prescription to an employer's job description." You must be solution-oriented and work in positions in companies where you are the remedy. Your job search must be a lifestyle, and your career must be in front of you constantly. You can no longer shed your aspirations at the change seasons. There are strengths you have that need constant use and development. Be sure you sign up to download my E-Book, "421 Modern Job Search Tips 2021!" You can find my career advice and work in media outlets such as Forbes, Inc., Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, Glassdoor, and many other outlets.