How often do you see candidates bomb their interview because of a single big mistake during the interview?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from more than 220,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How often do you see candidates bomb their interview because of a single big mistake during the interview?

  • All the time: 10.2%
  • Frequently: 33.9%
  • Sometimes: 41.4%
  • Rarely: 12.8%
  • Never: 1.6%

Interviews are stressful. These are high-risk situations for a candidate. It’s not surprising that 85% of you see a candidate make a catastrophic mistake that tanks the interview. While common interview mistakes like candidates checking their phone or watch are bad, bigger mistakes like poor answers to common questions are definite interview-enders. Your job as an interviewer is to make the conversation as relaxed as possible. You’re looking to really get to know this person. If you can reduce the stress level surrounding the discussion, you’ll get better responses from candidates and ultimately make better hiring decisions.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."