It's a Mystery!

By Robert Goldman

January 23, 2020 5 min read

How can so many potential employers smart enough to invite you to a job interview turn out to be dumb enough to reject you? No doubt, they made a big mistake. Unless, of course, it turns out that the person making the mistakes is you.

"13 Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Job Interview, According To Hiring Managers" is the title of an article by Casey Bond in the Huffington Post (HuffPost to its friends).

Is it possible that you made all 13 mistakes? Maybe not, but you do have to admit — if anyone could do it, it's you.

We don't have space to review all 13, nor do we have the energy to speculate on the exciting new mistakes you will create on your own, but let's look at a sampling. Who knows? There may be some mistakes here you never thought of making.

No. 1: "Pretending you don't have any flaws."

When hiring manager Jon Hayes says, "Nobody is perfect; none of my candidates, none of our team members, not even me," it is clear that he has never interviewed you.

Due to the prejudice against those of us who are perfect, it would behoove you to make up a few flaws, just so the extremely flawed person who is doing the interviewing can relate. Some good flaws are paranoia, petty theft and a touch of pyromania. To cover all three, simply say, "All my co-workers hated me because I stole their lunches, so I burned down the main conference room."

With flaws like these, you're sure to be hired.

No. 2: "Bad-mouthing your old boss."

As we have seen, it's hard work to find something wrong with you. When it comes to your old boss, you have to work even harder to find something right. Unfortunately, after singing the praises of a "sensitive, inspirational leader committed to growing the careers and maximizing the compensation of their direct reports," the interviewer may ask why you are leaving such an ideal situation.

There is only one sensible response: "You have better coffee."

No. 3: "Not bothering to check out the website."

Mark Krenn dings job candidates when they "didn't even look at the website." You could admit it was far too boring to hold your interest, but a much better answer is, "What's a website?"

Relevant follow-up questions are: "What's this 'internet' I've been hearing so much about?" "What's a cell phone?" and "Why is the sky blue?"

No. 5: "Having your own personal happy hour."

Alison Daley used a video interview to vet a candidate for a tech position. "Halfway through the interview," she reports, he "reached to his right and grabbed a pint of beer."

"Is that a beer?" Daley asked.

"Yes, an IPA," the candidate responded.

Wrong answer, obviously. A light beer like an IPA does not go with a job interview. To show your serious side, drink a rich, dark stout or a well-hopped porter. If drinking beer in a job interview is a problem, you're probably going to be working with a bunch of ciderheads, and this is not the right job for you.

No. 6: "Negotiating like a rookie."

Hiring manager Sukhjot Basi rejected a candidate who cited personal reasons to leverage a higher salary. Asking for a $15K bump "because of my bills and upcoming wedding expenses" did not play well with Basi, who believes a candidate should not "involve his personal reasons for needing a higher salary."

I don't agree. The rookie negotiator simply used the wrong personal reason. Instead of bringing up a wedding, when most of us will have two or three, at least, leverage your urgent need for extensive and expensive plastic surgery.

"You're not going to hire me with this nose," you could say, "and you certainly don't deserve an employee who looks like they swallowed a beach ball. I can get all the work done for $50K, tops, but you better increase my salary by $75K because I'll also need a new wardrobe."

No question, a candidate laser-focused on improving themselves is a must-hire.

No. 9: "Bringing a buddy (or your mother.)"

Hiring manager Jon Brodsky was shocked when a candidate turned up at their scheduled meeting "with their mother in tow." We don't know if this candidate was hired. (I suspect they gave the job to the mother.) In any case, if you have to bring someone, bring your therapist.

You might not be able to explain why you should get the job, but a trained Jungian psychoanalyst should get it done.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: styles66 at Pixabay

Like it? Share it!

  • 0

Work Daze
About Robert Goldman
Read More | RSS | Subscribe