Saturday, December 29, 2007

Don't Ever Dis a Former Employer

I just found this article from the Bluffton (Indiana) News-Banner. Gary Books talks about a bad job he had in the past. And yes, it sounds like it was awful, and that he handled it pretty well. Nonetheless, the fact that he is griping about it now (and mentioning that "upper, upper management has hated me"--even if it's tongue-in-cheek) doesn't reflect well on him.

This is a cardinal rule of job interviews: Don't ever speak poorly of a former boss or company. I don't care how crazy the situation was and how innocent you were. It will always come back to bite you. The employer will think that you were a big part of the problem, and that you could do the same thing at the new company.

Sometimes an interviewer will even try to bait you into saying something negative about a previous job by asking you point-blank what was the worst job you ever had. Resist the temptation to share a juicy story about your lecherous, bipolar boss. Soften it by saying something like "Well, all jobs have their positives and negatives. I think the job I enjoyed the least was ______, because it wasn't a good fit with my skills and interests." Just don't say "personality conflict." That's a red flag that will make employers doubt whether the conflict really was the employer's fault--or whether you're just a PITA.

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