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Employers fail the interview test

By Simon Hooper for CNN

Job applicants were unimpressed by being kept waiting ahead of interviews.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- The job interview is traditionally an opportunity for candidates, clutching their CVs nervously, to impress prospective future employers.

But new research suggests interviewees are turning the tables on the bosses.

More than two thirds of workers have rejected job offers because they were unimpressed by a company's conduct during the interview.

In the survey of 4,400 job hunters, conducted by employment consultants, 85 percent felt it was important that organizations also made an effort to make a good first impression.

And two-thirds had accepted a job based on a positive interview experience with some workers even chosing a lower-paid job over more lucrative offers.

In 43 percent of those cases, new employees said they had been attracted to a job by a really good office environment.

A third said they had taken a lower salary because they felt their new boss was someone they wanted to work for or because they liked the sound of the team they would be working with.

But many companies are failing to interview so well.

Hit by a bomb

"You wouldn't buy a car from a showroom where you were kept waiting, the staff didn't treat you with respect or that looked like it had been hit by a bomb," said managing director Dan Ferrandino.

"A job may not be for life but it is far more important than buying a car or anything else. It is only right to expect employers to make the effort to gain your confidence."

The most frequent complaint of interviewees was that they had been kept hanging around, often without apology in kitchens or waiting rooms, for as long as three hours.

Poor preparation -- discovering that a room had not been booked and being interviewed in a storeroom or busy open-plan office for instance -- and poor presentation -- scruffy interviewers and untidy offices -- also scored badly with prospective employees.

Job applicants were also infuriated if they felt their interviewer had not looked at their CV properly beforehand or appeared distracted. In some cases employers took phone calls, while others felt it appropriate to eat during an interview.

Inappropriate questions -- one women was asked if she still had "an active womb" -- and bad language or insulting behavior were also considered turn-offs.

Flirting was another problem mentioned, with one candidate complaining that an interviewer "kept staring at my body, openly driving the conversation sex."

"With unemployment hitting a 30-year low demand for skilled workers and talented staff is now at a high," said Ferrandino.

"It is still true that job hunters need to work hard to impress employers. However by the same token potential employers need to impress if they want to attract and employ the best talent."

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