Monday, May 03, 2010

Cardinal rule for job interviews: There can't be anything negative!

Last week AOL had a piece on “5 things not to say” in an interview, and I lost track of it. But the big tip was, never say anything negative. The paper referred to rude gaffes or comments about the company, the interviewer or other people, but also be very careful about what you say about yourself!

I recall an “incident” in 1971 when I was going to be laid off by the RCA Operations Career program (the only layoff in my career until the end of 2001), when we were trying to set up interviews with distant areas of the company. Some of these were connected to defense, requiring security clearances; in those days, that was a dicey issue given what had happened my freshman year in college (see the “BillBoushka” blog Nov. 28 2006). But I remember an interview in Moorestown NJ, about 30 miles away from where I was living at the time, at a defense subsidiary where I made some kind of comment showing lack of confidence.

I wound up getting a job at the Naval Command Systems Support Activity in the Washington Navy Yard shortly thereafter anyway.

There is a link on MSN-careerbuilder this morning by Joe Turner, “Seven things to tell an interviewer,” link here.  The most striking if these tips is the last one, to mention “Any seminal events that happened during your career to cause you to change direction and how that worked out for you.” But you have to be very careful that this doesn’t sound negative. There can’t be anything negative, really!

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