What not to do in a job interview

I interview people regularly. Most of my interviewees (whether for student jobs or regular jobs) are very well-behaved and charming. Some are nervous, naturally, and I always make allowance for that; I’m a terribly nervous person myself (although I control it with various medications), and I understand when people are jittery in new and/or unfamiliar situations.

But there are things that just go beyond the pale.

Let’s list some of them, shall we?

Chewing gum during the interview. You should at least offer me some.

Taking a phone call during the interview. I understand that cellphones are ubiquitous, but – really?

Eating during the interview. I’ve never had anyone this rude, but I’ve heard of this happening. I can hardly believe it, but then again, I have seen a little of everything.

Challenging the interviewer’s skills. Some time back, on “Jeopardy!”, a contestant recounted how he’d prepared for an interview as a proofreader by acquiring a couple of issues of the company’s publication and proofreading them. Problem: the person interviewing him was the person who’d proofread those very issues. Uh-oh!

Speaking badly of former employers. You may think you’re being terribly entertaining when you tell me how awful your current boss is, but you sound creepy. Cut it out.

Condescension. I especially like it when people look at me with that look that says: Really? You’re interviewing me? I should be interviewing you! Except, hon, that you’re not. So get over it.

I was looking for something to tie this blog together when I found the perfect thing: a dialogue written by the always-funny Anthony Giffen (AKA wellthatsjustgreat on Tumblr), describing his dog Ducky going on a job interview.

I’d hire this dog. He knows how to poop, and how to look disappointed in human beings. Those are powerful skills.

Interviewer: So Mr…Ducky, is it?

Ducky: Yes.

Interviewer: What are your three greatest strengths?

Ducky: Oh, I’d say I’m pretty good at communicating when I’m hungry and when I need to poop. And if I had to name a third strength, I’d say I’m great at looking thoroughly disappointed in humans.

Interviewer: And three areas of possible improvement?

Ducky: Um, I wish I could figure out how to open the container with my food.  And the treat one too. Does that count as two or just one?

Interviewer: That can be two.

Ducky: OK. Well, I guess I’d like to be able to spread my legs out just a little further at bath time. I swear, I think two more inches would make it impossible to get me in that tub.

Interviewer: Thanks for coming in. We’ll be in touch.

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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