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I’m in HR – this is what makes me instantly reject a candidate during a job interview


HR experts at top companies have revealed the details that make them instantly reject a candidate – and it goes deeper than typos in resumes.

Several recruiters came together on Reddit to list the bizarre interview experiences they have had including job seekers who actively use artificial intelligence like ChaatGPT to answer the questions.

Others named poor hygiene, having distinct body odour, and bragging about drinking on night outs as undesirable traits.

Recruiters also rejected candidates who brought their parents into interviews because it showed a lack of independence.

It was also previously found that a third of recruiters rejected candidates after looking at their social media profiles – despite the act being frowned upon. 

Professionals who work in Human Resources at top companies have revealed the details that make them instantly reject a candidate

Professionals who work in Human Resources at top companies have revealed the details that make them instantly reject a candidate

One shared a ‘wild’ experience with someone who used AI

‘I did a video interview with a lady who, after a few questions, made it painfully obvious that she was just feeding the questions into ChatGPT and reading back the answers,’ he said.

‘Her answers were rambling essays defining a key word in the question rather than answering it. I asked her about her proudest accomplishment and she said “some things that people often feel a sense of accomplishment about include…”

‘This told me she either knew nothing about the position, or had so little confidence in her skills that she would need to be constantly shadowed rather than being able to eventually work independently. Both are instant “no”.’

Apart from not using AI to answer questions, proper etiquette during Zoom interviews is also important. 

‘My boss once had someone show up to a Zoom interview not wearing a shirt. How in the world do you get by in life if you’re the type of person to be shirtless for an interview?’ a man asked.

Others shared that a strong smell – whether positive or negative – also impacted their hiring decisions. 

‘If you stink from across the table, it’s an instant “no” from me,’ one said.  

‘One woman had an extremely strong rose perfume. It hit like a ton of bricks when you were within five feet of her. I couldn’t focus on the interview,’ another shared.

While a boss revealed an incident that made her reject an intern.

‘Young intern candidate came in, didn’t realise there was a desk behind a short wall where one of us got an earful of how much partying, drugs, and drinking he did all weekend and faked being sick to get out of work,’ she said.

Another shared that a candidate pulled a flask out of their briefcase and took a long sip during the interview.

‘Any level of parental involvement in the interview, especially someone who brings their parent to an interview, is a no,’ a recruiter said. ‘Parent calls to schedule or reschedule the interview? Pass. Brings parent to the interview? Immediate pass.’

Several others shared relatively standard reasons they reject candidates such as empty resumes, not meeting the minimum requirements, and not having the right to work or needing visa sponsorship. 



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