March 23, 2014

Don't lie down on the job during interview

As recent college graduates or downsized office workers can attest, jobs are still hard to come by and the competition for them can be fierce.

Networking and writing a killer resume can get you in the door, but on the other side awaits the barbaric ritual of the job interview, where the tiniest misstep can make the difference between a lucrative career and life in a cardboard box.

No, we don’t know anyone who is hiring — except for the employers wisely taking advantage of the classified ads in the back of this newspaper — but we can offer some help to those who have already earned an interview.

You’d be surprised at how many people make basic and obvious mistakes in the process. Avoid their pratfalls, and you can be the one taking home the paycheck.

This is what you absolutely, positively, should not do:

Do not wear your lucky Phish concert T-shirt to an interview. Your professional appearance is the first thing an employer notices. Do not wear pants down to your knees, no matter how clean your underwear. Do not dress like your favorite Star Wars character, unless it’s Lando Calrissian, whose style never goes out of fashion.

Do not answer your cellphone. Do not text during the interview. Do not take just one more turn on “Words With Friends.” Do not ask the interviewer if he wants to take a selfie with you.

Do not smell like liquor. If you need a little shot to give you courage, take your vodka with an IV drip, directly into the bloodstream. Also, do not smell like marijuana or cat feces or Jaromir Jagr’s locker.

Do not show your bigotry. Or if you are not a bigot, do not pretend to be one because you think your future employer might be a redneck. Do not start any sentence with “You know what I hate about the Jews” or “I don’t normally complain about the gay folk, but ...” Do not ask if the interviewer would like to hear your Rebel yell, and do not offer that “my favorite president is the often-overlooked Jefferson Davis.”

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