How To Mess Up An Interview

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  • Hi Sean,

    I'm not sure that I agree with your analysis on the appropriate (or inappropriate) use of language at an interview. I think that it is safer not to second-guess what is appropriate language based simply on what one interviewer may have said. The problem being that other interviewers present may not share this person's choice of language. Be safe and don't swear (or curse) would be my take on this.

    I do agree with you about not using 'God Bless' or other similar phrases when communicating with non-believers, even though God's blessing (known as common grace) is showered upon all who are alive on this Earth, believers or non-believers! There are other ways to share the Good news, and the interview is not the place to start.

    Paul Mu


  • If saying God Bless You and God Be With You and the like is wrong, is saying May The Force Be With You wrong?

    Cheers,CrispinI can't die, there are too many people who still have to meet me!It's not a bug, SQL just misunderstood me!

  • I think that would be fine Crispin.  Apparently during the 2001 census in the UK 16% of the population stated they had no religion, this included people putting down heathen, agnostic, atheist and of course Jedi Knight.  There was a small movement to try and get Jedi recognised as a religion!

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional

  • Hello Sean,

    I really enjoyed your take on cursing: I think cursing, like everything, has its place and time. I have worked with people who cursed all the time and, although I am not a puritan, it did get to my nerves after a while.

    Incidentally, your last sentence:

    "don't use dang, or shucks, or monkeytrucker, or the like… it's really gay. Curse and be proud..."

    may offend more susceptible readers with a different sexual orientation.

    Be well,


  • That's an interesting take on the use of language. I hadn't thought about that angle much but when I read your article it made me think about the language I use in the workplace. When I am working onsite at a client's location I tend to use milder language but I still curse when necessary. It helps me change thought processes and look at the problem in a different way. There may be more constructive ways to do it but cursing can be a little more fun that some other things; it's also a lot faster than a game of solitaire which can cause trouble if someone pops into the cubicle at the wrong time!

    The moral of my story is that it is important to find a job that fits you and the interview is a two-way process. I will be on the lookout for that if I ever need to interview again.

    Thanks Sean!

    [font="Tahoma"]Bryant E. Byrd, BSSE MCDBA MCAD[/font]
    Business Intelligence Administrator
    MSBI Administration Blog

  • I found your comments on religious statements should have more brief and to the point. I agree that there is no place in an interview to make such statements. However your paragraph on the subject may also offend people, and it seemed more like and attack then advice. 

    I do agree that practicing your answers out load is a very good idea. Hear it, do it.

    Cursing is never a good idea in an interview, or in business for that mater. If you are comfortable doing it while while working with your team you may just say it in front  of a client or customer and that is not expectable.

    Always take the high road any you will have a lot less to apologize for.

    Stacey W. A. Gregerson

  • Interesting, Sean, 'God bless you' is offensive but cursing is sometimes okay?! This is more like "How to Mess up an Article about How to Mess up an Interview".

  • This article is really a joke, isn't it? Is anybody really taking this guy seriously? He is obviously talking to the drunks out over the right field wall I guess. Does he really think it is Ok to swear in an interview, but not Ok to use religious language? How is religious language more offensive than foul language? He even advocates religious discrimination by endorsing the fact that a woman was "canned" for her religious expression. And who can take a person seriously that uses the term "it's really gay"?

    This article is very unprofessional. And, I will not be reading any more of this guys advice.

  • Sean, I agree with one point - team player concept. That aside, I find your approach to be clearly "anti" anything that you perceive as not part of "YOUR" team as being the wrong thing to do. Therefore, your advice is absolutely lame when applied in a different environment. Suppose the job you are interviewing for is in a Christian owned business??? Or perhaps a "family friendly" environment such as a children's hospital or some similar postiion where you will work with people of ALL points of view and not just your own. You will definately NOT get that job, and from your attitude - you wouldn't want it anyway.

    The bottom line is that your advise will only work in certain VERY LIMITED situations and not in all situations and therefore it is not good advice. In fact - you advice is offensive and cost you this interview.

  • I am with Darrell, this article seems more of a joke than anything else.  How can one take advice from a guy who says that we should not do anything that is "really gay"? 

    I am surprised this article even got published here.  Makes me wonder how seriously one should take this website.

  • Good idea about practicing before an interview...if nothing else, I go through my resume to see if I still remember any details on projects I worked on 5 years ago...and yes - it is so important to gather your thoughts into coherent strings so you don't end up stuttering and stammering...

    As for the cursing...I can't help but think it's better to play it safe and desist - "Curse and be proud..." is more advice for the macho male than the female...I am no prude but I would not curse in an interview however much the interviewer (even if it is a woman) thinks it's okay to use any of the more popular swear words - Like Everardo I too have worked with developers who almost consider it a flaw in their nature if they don't curse loudly and frequently - in fact, one of them invariably accompanied his f...s with thumping on the table with much manly vigour - it would startle the heck out of me everytime and I found that I was always on edge wondering when the next thump-swear-thump would happen and couldn't really focus on my work at all...

    I could also never understand why it's okay to say cr*p but not s&*t - do they not mean the say thing ?! Why is one considered more euphemistic over the other ?! This is definitely one time when I would echo Sean's advice about "Curse and be proud..." instead of hiding behind an innocuous oh shoot!..

    I must confess to being equally annoyed by people who are constantly asking me to have "a blessed day"...quite frankly that's when I do feel like swearing the most...and I can't help but wonder whether these same people are not the ones who are secretly sticking pins into dolls stashed in their bedroom closet...!!!!

    **ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSI !!!**

  • c'mon folks!

    ...all of this advice requires that as an interviewee, one must actually be observant and at least a bit in tune to the interviewer(s)...use your heads! (yeah,'s a "People Skill"...a foreign concept to too many IT folks)

    ...if you're so rigid that you can't rehearse to give a solid self-presentation AND be able to observe and respond on the fly (as appropriate), then maybe you're not ready for an interview anyway!

    great article!

    Arlan W. Dean

  • What bothers me is I can't figure out what curse starts with "ch"...

  • ...thanks for reminding me...I too couldn't figure that one out and meant to ask...

    **ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSI !!!**

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