How To Mess Up An Interview

  • My main problem with this article is that I, like several others, had trouble deciding whether the writer was serious or not. 

    If serious (which is my personal opinion since his first point, practice, is both practical and correct), then his 'cursing' advice is way out of line.  I don't consider cursing during an interview Ok under any circumstances: you simply haven't earned the right to be that 'familiar' with the interviewer.

    If tongue-in-cheek, that fact should have been made A LOT clearer.

    As for the dog/peanut butter/gay comments, those pretty much ensured that I wouldn't pay much attention to his advice.

  • Articles like this should be IN MY OPINION Banned from this site. A comunity is built with understanding and usefull advices, not with very personal opinions that speak derogatory loads of the rest. 

    * Noel

  • May be so, but to be honest, one could argue that artificial keys over natural keys is simply a personal opinion, albeit one a bit more applicable to the subject matter than peanut butter.

    I think he was trying to inject humor into the article, and like all things funny, some people got it, some didn't, and some got offended.

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    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2022 Query Performance Tuning, 6th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
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  • LOL. This is a joke, right? You must be in a northern/eastern IT shop. If anyone curses in an interview here at any shop I've worked (in Texas), they're "darned" unlikely to get the job. It says a lot that an article devoted to interview skills focuses on whether to curse or not. LOL - it was entertaining reading though!

    John Scarborough

  • noel - I think the article's main purpose is to convey that "when in Rome, do..." - it's a question of adapting to the situation and "going with the flow" more than - "it's okay to curse..." etc.. that everyone seems to have picked up on!!!

    The bottom line is - regardless of what Sean or anyone else says - there're very few (hopefully few enough to be zero) people who're going to take his advice literally & start swearing like a sailor at interviews...

    Again, it's a question of interpretations and perceptions and it's interesting to see the marked dichotomy that this article seems to have provoked...

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

  • I've seen interviews conducted to "set the prospect up" in a pressure situation, or the language situation you mentioned.  The employer's objective is to watch how the candidate reacts during these times, and decide if their style under pressure or if caught by surprise fits in with the company culture.  It may be best to always take the high road, and if hired you can then evaluate elements such as acceptable language.  Just a thought...

    For all responses: There is no implied warranty. Use at your own risk. Kindest Regards,

    Doug B

  • Exactly, he's not tell ing you to go out at talk like a drunken sailor. Feel for the interviewer and play out accordingly.

    A for the CH word, he had 3 dashes, making it a 5 character word, so Christ wouldnt fit. Damn, that is killing me. I know of one word that would fit, but its more of a durogatory word directed at a certain nationality, not a general explitive to be blurted out.

  • Excellent point Doug.  It's the same concept as taking a candidate out to lunch and ordering a drink to see if the candidate starts pounding them down.  People should remember that as IT Professionals, we have to enforce policies and deal with irate customers.  A candidate who sinks to the lowest common denominator is that kind of employee who can seriously damage the reputation of your department.

    “If you're not outraged at the media, you haven't been paying attention.”

  • I know this was a controversial article and while I don't necessarily agree with the advice, as the editor I try not to censor people's opinions. We are giving a voice to Mr. McCown without judging his works. One of the great things about the US, my country, is the freedom to express opinions.

    There are people that feel both ways on the topic of religion and cursing. Face it, lots of people feel strongly about both and whether they are appropriate in an interview is something you have to decide. Obviously lots of people posting here feel that the advice in the article is wrong. That's why this forum is here and no one should take code, advice, etc. out of any article without checking the forums to see what others think.

    Incidentally, Mr. McCown is a guest columnist, not a regular.

  • I've been in interviews where the interviewer would embarrass Sam Kinnison.  Interestingly, she didn't keep her technical staff, and I've had recruiters call me about once a year asking me to interview with her again.  Not a chance.  I've also had a coworker who would sing hymns in his cube, dedicate every congratulatory comment he got to the "Glory of God".  He got and kept the job because of his religious stances, not because of his skills.  When his manager was replaced, so was he. 

    I just want coworkers and team members who can do their jobs.  If one of them gets offended by a certain word one of us uses, then they tell us, we apologize, and we don't use the word in their presence again.  It's common courtesy.  If they want to witness to us and live their lives for the glory of God, that's great, but if it interferes with the smooth operation of the company database apps, then God can't be happy with them making him look like He can't design a database.

    Ultimately, the development group needs to work as a team.  The candidate with the best skills but is also grandstanding loner is not going to get the job.  I can train up a mid-level guy who works well with others.

    BTW, "Ch---" is "Choad" (I think).  Look it up for yourself.  Or it might be "chalupa" or "chihuahua" (based on the peanut butter reference).  As far as the "that is gay" comment, I interpret that as an example of questionable terminology, not a direct use.

    Anyway, carpe carp.

  • As far as the "that is gay" comment, I interpret that as an example of questionable terminology, not a direct use.

    Well, yeah. Questionable terminology ... just questionable ...

    Everett Wilson

  • OK. This must be a joke. People who want to stand on a soap box should go to a political meeting or a revival meeting. This stuff does not belong in a professional site. Errrrr. This is a professional site, isnt it ??


    Plus, he should rehearse his wrting skills....seriously.

    Stick to the topic please...

  • My bad.

    Topic: The practising the interview answers concept was a great idea.

    Topic: swearing during an interview is a question to be dealt with as the reader sees fit. 

    Topic: Ability to work with the group you are interviewing for is important, and if one person gets offended really easily, then the group cohesion might suffer from thin skin.  The interviewee being able to fit the group is just as important as their skills.

    Topic: Religious zealots will find a way to get offended by you taking offense at their zealotry so avoid them at all costs.

    Topic: not all homosexuals use peanut butter with their dogs, so I can see how people would have thought that comment was out of place in the article... but it was funny.

  • Does that mean humping his and or her leg wearing only one sock, covered in peanut butter, while screaming "I'll be your favourite pez dispenser, I promise!!!,  I'll be your favourite pez dispenser, I promise!!! I'll be your favourite pez dispenser, I promise!!! " is out?

    Personally, I'd hire them on the spot.... again. 


  • The article on “How to Mess Up an Interview” by Sean McCown was great, and had me actually cheering, until the end where he referred to people who use words like shucks, etc as “gay.”

    I work in an IT environment where cursing is a given, and it doesn’t phase me.  I also don’t use words like “heck” and “shoot” but, more than that, I always refrain from calling something “gay” as an insult.  Perhaps it’s because I live in California, perhaps it’s because I have friends and relatives who ARE gay, or perhaps it’s simply that I understand (being an intelligent human) the difference between homosexuality and idiocy.

    So, maybe someone can tell Mr. McCown to cut out that kind of insult – it’s kinda….well….redneck?  (My apologies to the sunburned population out there).

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