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The 13 oddest things done by desperate job seekers

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In a competitive job market, candidates are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of getting noticed. For hiring managers, that can be great news if it means receiving personalised applications, great cover letters, and thank-you notes.

But sometimes, job seekers can take it a step too far. An online survey  conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder among more than 2,300 full-time hiring- and human resources managers in the United States shows the lengths some candidates will go to in order to stand out. Below are the 13 most unusual tactics job seekers used:

  1. Candidate had a priest contact the hiring manager and ask for candidate to be hired.
  2. Candidate bought a first class upgrade to sit next to hiring manager on a transatlantic flight.
  3. During the month of October, candidate came dressed in a costume for Halloween.
  4. Candidate’s wife made homemade lavender soap bars for the hiring manager as a thank you for taking the time to interview the candidate.
  5. Candidate asked hiring manager to share an ice cream cone.
  6. Candidate sent a pair of embroidered socks with a note saying he would knock the company’s socks off if hired.
  7. Candidate showed up in his camp counselor attire with some of the children from the camp he worked for to show his leadership capabilities.
  8. Candidate sent a shoe with a flower in it as a thank you after the interview. The note said: “Trying to get my foot in the door.”
  9. Candidate mailed hiring manager money in an envelope.
  10. Candidate arrived to interview in a white limousine, an hour early, dressed in a three-piece suit. The open position was middle-wage and had a required dress code of khakis, company button-down and black shoes.
  11. Candidate kissed hiring manager.
  12. Candidate gave hiring manager a book on a subject he knew candidate manager enjoyed.
  13. Candidate wore a tie that had the name of the company he was interviewing with on it.

“Candidates are realizing that an extraordinary cover letter and resume with strong references aren’t enough, that if you really want the gig, you have to stand out from the competition,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder in a press release. “Unfortunately, what many aren’t realizing is that the catch is making sure you do that in a professional, respectful way.”

If you’re lucky enough to have escaped any truly strange applicants during your hiring process, there’s always the parents to look out for. In a recent survey among senior managers, 35% of them indicated to find it annoying when helicopter parents get involved in their children’s job search.

It seems the survey respondents had had to endure some particularly strange behaviour, with a mother joining the interview via Skype and a father pretending to be a previous employer providing a good reference.

ALSO READ: Would you reject candidates for these reasons?

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