updated 10/8/2007 5:37:59 PM ET 2007-10-08T21:37:59

The pressure of an interview just gets to some people. The next thing you know, they're bringing their mothers in to answer the questions of a prospective employer. Or they're breaking into song about why they should be hired.

It's ridiculous. It's nervy. And unlike the urban legends of the candidates who supposedly conducted their entire interviews using a sock puppet or ventriloquist's dummy, these actually happened.

In a national poll conducted by the staffing and consulting firms RHI and Accountemps, 150 senior executives, including those from human resources, finance and marketing departments, were asked, "What is the wackiest or most unusual pitch you've heard from a job seeker about why he or she should get the job?"

You might not believe the answers, unless you're the one who has said you wanted the job because you're trying to get away from people.

Dawn Fay, manager of professional staffing services at RHI, agreed that even a creative team of researchers would be hard-pressed to make up such absurd answers as, "I'm allergic to unemployment."

"Some of the responses we find to this question are said because people are nervous," Fay said. However, she questioned if anxiety could prompt anyone to deliver his resume in a brown paper lunch bag, which again, has happened.

"Other people think it's good to weave in humor."

That's not to say one shouldn't temper the seriousness of a conversation with a joke or two if it's fitting. Just don't overdo it by drafting your own press release welcoming yourself as the newest member of the company.

Being that the main goal of any staffing agency is to help people find work, the survey offers hints on interview preparation — in particular, how to answer the staple question, "Why should I hire you?"

Apparently, plenty of job seekers are still in need of this advice.

"A lot of people will stress out before an interview," Fay said. "This is the one question you should be prepared to answer."

According to Accountemps, a job candidate should "look on the bright side," meaning don't view any question as an obstacle. Remember, you're on an interview to talk about how you can become an asset to the company. Also, Accountemps says, make sure you tailor your response appropriately, always show enthusiasm and above all else, "prepare, prepare, prepare."

© 2012


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