Check it, Peons: Your CNN Humiliation Compartmentalized

Monday, March 16, 2009


I have failed many, many interviews in my lifetime. I literally cannot count the interviews I have botched, mostly because I'm not good at math. (See also: the math quiz for Morgan Stanley that I abandoned after the third question.) I suspect that my behavior has been so jaw-droppingly, head-slappingly embarrassing that I have become an anecdote at recruiter seminars.

As such, when I came across this article about interview mistakes, I took note. Perhaps I could learn something.
Upon reading them, I realized I've made every single mistake on the list. As a Peon Confidential community service in this brutal economic climate, I'm sharing those mistakes with you:

1. Not knowing your aim.
The best example of this would be when I interviewed for a position in Feeds at CNN, a position which consisted of pushing play and record in a dark crevice of the newsroom, and I told them I was suited for this because I spoke French.

2. Being too needy.
Once during an interview, there was a tray of cookies and muffins on the conference table for an upcoming meeting that was scheduled to take place later in the day. I kept glancing at this delicious tray of baked goods with such longing that I practically drooled on myself. My distraction was so great that the interviewer finally snapped, "Those are for managers only."

3. Lousy nonverbal communication.
A prime example: The time the interviewer left the room and returned (she was so quiet--must have been wearing those Easy Spirit pumps) to find me picking my nose. She actually asked, "Are you finished?"

4. Compromising your position.
See above.

5. Falling into the answers-only rut.
I had no idea you were supposed to ask questions. I guess this is why interviewers look at me funny when they finally ask if I have any questions, and I reply, "Nope. Wow! You sure have been thorough. Thanks!"

6. Rambling.
Talking about the Clermont Lounge strip club in Atlanta (including Blondie's patented tit punch maneuver) was in hindsight, not such a great idea.

7. Being overly familiar.
The time I told the interviewer that I had horrible breath and needed a mint was perhaps a tad familiar.

8. Making incorrect assumptions.
Thinking the interviewer would offer me a mint. She did not.

9. Getting emotional.
Perhaps during those failed interviews in which I have both rambled
and became overly familiar in a foreign accent put me over the edge into emotional territory. Especially when I was applying to The State Department for a job as a foreign officer.

10. Not asking specific questions.
Now, here's where I differ. I ask specific questions, just not about the job. I'll ask about the charming photo on the interviewer's desk of his family on a Mexican cruise. I'll ask if they enjoyed Mexico. I'll ask what they ate. I'll ask if they tipped the Mariachi band. But I won't ask about company objectives.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if not offering you a mint was your mistake or the interviewers.

A Kaisa Fan said...

I take it the foreign accent was your mom's, right?

vjdutton said...

Of course! I seize any opportunity to talk like my mom. Even if I'm interviewing at the State Dept.

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