What not to do in a job interview

There are few things we fear more than the job interview. This week, I found myself unexpectedly on the other side of the fence as an interviewer. Here are some of my observations.

You're hired!

Kelly ‘Trump’ Eng  – You’re hired

Interview attire

Candidate no. 1 – It would help to brush the white dog fur off your black jacket. Just an idea.

The Handshake

Shake hands like you mean it. For about 3-5 seconds maximum. But not too hard, and try to smile. Don’t give me a limp-arse handshake that feels like you’ve inserted a salmon fillet into my hand. And don’t extend an index finger for tickling – it’s weird.


Q: “What is your greatest weakness?”

When discussing a weakness it’s best to stick with “I know it’s a cliché, but I work too hard” or “Due to my perfectionist nature, I’ve had to work more on delegating”.

Do not say: “I actually get really upset when people yell at me, or are mean to me, and I break down and cry a lot.”

Ho hum.

Q: What would you say if I asked you to stay back on a Friday night to complete a project?”

The correct answer is: “I’m always keen to see projects through to completion, so I would have no problems in staying back. I understand this is necessary from time to time.”

The less correct answer is: “What would you like me to say?”

Keep interior decor recommendations to a minimum

“Open plan offices, how does anyone get any privacy?”

Candidate number 2 – It’s not a good idea to complain about the open plan office environment before you’ve got the job. We have mobile phones now so that we can move to a discreet location to make pap smear appointments.

Hello? I'd like to make an appointment for a full brazillian.

Hello? I’d like to make an appointment for a full brazillian…next Tuesday would be perfect!


Try not complain (repeatedly) about the salary. Using words such as ‘bewildering’ and ‘I need to eat’ doesn’t make the interviewer want to punch the air and phone HR straight away to make an offer.

The CV

Things I don’t need to know include ‘likes antique furniture restoration’ and  ‘Can send a fax.’ Well done you! But it’s not 1984  and we have a thing called email.

Dennis Wongbert

Dennis Wongbert has heard that it’s good to go to a job interview with a full bag. He now attends all interviews with an inflatable palm tree popping out of his briefcase. FYI he is looking for work in the PR sector. Please contact denniswongbert@gmail.com if you hear of anything.

Handy in an interview

Handy in an interview


2 thoughts on “What not to do in a job interview

  1. Loved this post! I too hate the wet fish handshake, but, do have some empathy with “What would you like me to say” answer – it shows such eager willingness to please! Give her (him not) the job -:) xx

    reply – it shows such willingness to please!


  2. I have a bone crushing hand shake which I’m sure would be a deal breaker for me if I was back on the other side of the fence as interviewee!!! Unfortunately I don’t think they are getting the green light. Eep 🙂


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