By way of Man of the House comes this column on “9 Things Not to Say to a Coworker.” A couple of them are pretty hysterical. I thought I would extend the column’s premise to our discussions. What should you never say to someone who is interviewing for a position or anyone who is interviewing you for a position? I’ll start:
On either side of the table:
- Any complete sentence in Latin. Or Esperanto. Or Klingon. (Unless, of course, you are involved in interviews for positions in classics, linguistics, or are wearing a cast of Lt. Worf’s forehead you picked up at a recent convention.) Mind you, I have dictionaries for all three in my office, but see George Orwell’s classic essay “Politics and the English Language” if you need an explanation.
Candidates should not say:
- “Favorite book? Does my current scrapbook project count?” This is particularly true if the position is in the humanities.
- “When I’m the president of this place, … .” Um, please let us hire you for this visiting-instructor position first.
Interviewers should not say:
- “One of the other candidates told us that she brings food to her current department every Friday. What would you bring us?” Since your department probably forgot to provide the candidate with a break for a snack or water, you probably shouldn’t mention food during the interview.
- “The last two candidates turned us down; please tell us that you won’t be our third strike.” Yeah, this reminds me of the high-school guy who asks a prospective date, “You don’t want to go out with me, do you?”
Your turn: suggestions?