My editorial this past week had to do with a great uproar on the interviewing piece that ran Monday. I felt I should apologize a little in not editing as much as I think now I should have for the article. But I didn't want to censor the style or thoughts of someone else. I am certainly not the most knowledgeable person on interviewing, but I've had my share of them and I think I have learned a few things.
First on the cursing thing. I curse, not all the time and certainly not
uncontrollably, but in the heat of crisis or emotion, I have been known
to drop four letter bombs here and there. But in an interview I think
you should completely avoid it. I have a couple of good reasons here
and it certainly doesn't mean that you have to maintain a G rated mouth
if you get the job.
One reason is somewhat job specific. If you are interviewing for any
sort of client facing job, internal or external clients, you want to
present a non-offensive and professional image, which would be no
profanity. Even if the client curses, you should avoid it. If I were
interviewing you and you cursed, it would seriously hurt your chances.
Another reason is that even if the person interviewing you cursed, that
doesn't mean they want you to. I have been know to "bait" people in an
interview, just to see what they will do or how they will react. That
might be happening to you.
Second, on the religious aspects. Everyone has the right to their faith
and their beliefs. That means everyone, meaning, don't push yours on
them. I'm an atheist, but I don't bother anyone with my beliefs, or
lack thereof in this case :). I'm not offended by someone saying "God
Bless You", "Praise Allah", etc., but it does bother me and makes me
look at them a little funny. Whenever I receive an email with a
signature referencing God or someone makes a statement it colors my
view of them, especially if I don't know them that well. Religion is a
very personal thing and you should keep it close to you. Not in the
business world. And especially not in an interview.
The exception here is contextual. I had a friend go interview at the
Catholic Hostpital for a position. A reference to God there would not
be inappropriate. In fact it might help, but don't say it if you don't
mean it (more on that later). The point is that religion should be kept
in the appropriate settings.
I think a personality fit is critical to a good hire and so I urge you
to be forthcoming and honest and present yourself in a manner
consistent with how you will behave if you get the job. I had another
friend interview at Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. I
laughed when he told me because he is one of the most foul mouthed,
shortest tempered people I knew and I couldn't belive he thought he
could fit in. But he needed a job and this was a good career
progression for him. He even got the "pastoral reference" that he
needed despite the fact that his wife usually attended church with
their children without him. He interviewed and was offered the job, but
turned it down because he'd found another job in the meantime. That was
just as well because I firmly believe he would not have lasted more
than a few months there.
The best advice I can give you is to be honest so that you can ensure that both you and the employer make a good decision.
Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest