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Doing a cool cover letter worked, but dressing like a clown didn't

What would you do to get hired?

CareerBuilder asked hiring managers and human resource professionals in the United States what people had done creatively to get a job – and whether it worked or not.

Here are the top 10 stunts that worked:

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A candidate contracted a billboard outside of the employer’s office.

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A candidate gave a résumé on a chocolate bar. Yum!

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A candidate showed up in a suit with a red T-shirt underneath a white shirt. The red T-shirt had a message – “Hire me, I work hard.”

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A candidate asked to be interviewed in Spanish to showcase his skills.

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A candidate crafted her cover letter like an invitation (similar to a wedding invitation) to hire her, rather than a request.

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A candidate climbed onto the roof the employer was repairing and asked for a job.

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A candidate performed a musical number on his guitar about why he was the best candidate.

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A candidate volunteered to help out with making copies when he saw that the interviewer’s assistant was getting frazzled.

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A candidate repaired a piece of the company’s equipment during the first interview.

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A candidate sent a message in a bottle.

“Employers typically aren’t looking for the most outrageous candidate, they’re looking for the best fit,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of Human Resources at CareerBuilder.

“Thinking outside the box is great, but the stunts that work best are the ones that showcase your relevant skills and abilities.”

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But stunts don’t always work.

Here are 10 that backfired:

A candidate back-flipped into the room.

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A candidate brought items from interviewer’s online shopping wish list.

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A candidate sent a fruit basket to interviewer’s home address, which the interviewer had not given her.

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A candidate did a tarot reading for the interviewer.

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A candidate dressed as a clown.

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A candidate sent the interviewer some beef stew with a note saying “Eat hearty and hire me.”

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A candidate placed a timer on interviewer’s desk, started it, and told the interviewer he would explain in three minutes why he was the perfect candidate.

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A candidate sent the interviewer a lottery ticket.

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A candidate wore a fluorescent suit.

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A candidate sent in a shoe to “get their foot in the door.”

(Note: This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,076 hiring managers and human resource professionals in May and June.)

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Are you a hiring manager?

What are some of the best and worst stunts you've seen?

Did you ever use a stunt to get a job?

E-mail us at We’ll compile the best submissions and post them.

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