Top Ten Things Not to Do During a Job Interview


Everyone wants a job. To have money for Twizzlers, takeout coffee, and cars.

The only hitch is you have to go through an interview to get one. It's a nasty gauntlet, competition out there is brutal, and no matter how well you feel you've prepared, within five minutes of the sit-down you are sweating like a musician writing a check.

But with a little research online and off you can easily brush up on the rules and etiquette governing the interview process and arm yourself with sure-fire ways to convince the interviewer that you are, indeed, "the one."

Truth be told, it's amazing how just by not doing the simplest of things you can get an instant leg up on most of your fellow applicants.

To wit, here then are my Top Ten Things Not to Do During a Job Interview.

1. When asked your favorite recreational activity, do not mention entering the Annual Open Throat Beer Drinking Contest in Daytona every March break for the past 11 years.

2. Do not slip a five dollar bill into the interviewer's palm when you shake it. (Make it a C-note or nothing.)

3. Men, refrain from asking the female interviewer: "So, are you married or what?"

4. Do not scratch at yourself throughout the proceedings, complaining "I've been so frickin' itchy lately."

5. When asked about personal achievements do not mention the time in grade three when you took a classmate down to Chinatown after she called you a suck-up.

6. Do not ask "Does anyone else finds it hot in here?" before stripping down to your sports bra.

7. Do not list among your weaknesses your practice of gunning it past Taco Bell's drive through windows without paying, shouting "See ya, suckers."

8. Do not list among your strengths that you once watched the movie "Air Bud" all the way through and did not weep openly, not even once.

9. Do not ask, at any point: "How much longer do you think this is going to take?"

10. Do not ask, just before leaving, "Is there anywhere I can get a beer around here?"

This rundown of what to actively avoid interview-wise comes from a friend of mine in corporate HR, a veteran in the trenches, who simply has to vent about the horrors she faces daily across her desk from job hopefuls. She begged me to include these oft-repeated debacles.

1. a) Do not arrive late. b) Do not arrive naked. (Swears she's witnessed both.)

2. Do not call your friends from reception saying how bored you are.

3. Do not walk unannounced into the HR office, glare at the person on the phone, and bark: "Are you going to be much longer?"

4. Do not announce as your opener: "I forgot my resume but here are my ideas to fix this company."

5. Women: Do not ask in conspiratorial tones, "Are there are as many men here as, like, say, in the Navy?"

6. Do not grab and read papers on the interviewer's desk with the comment: "Let's see what kind of rip-off operation you are running here."

7. Do not bring your mother with you into the interview. (Again, friend swears.)

8. Do not ask how the interviewer got his job and then say through a snort that you "won't bother doing all that."

9. Do not bring a box of pizza into the interview room, announcing: "Hope ya like extra chopped onion!"

10. When told your hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. do not ask if that means "every day."

Now go get 'em.