By Peg Johnston • September 09, 2007•Other Career Issues
There are plenty of things that you should talk about on a job interview: your qualifications, your experience, your good grades if you have them, law review, etc.
How about the things you shouldn't talk about? There are a lot of things that will highlight your inexperience or put up a wall between you and the interviewer. The bad news: you might not even be aware of them. Without encouraging that you try to hide who you really are or try to be somebody that you aren't, here is a start to a list of things you should leave out of your interview conversations in order to avoid leaving a bad impression or alienating your interviewer...
- The current value of the state lottery.
- A sport or specific team unless you follow them regularly and can have more than a one sentence conversation about them.
- Your boyfriend/girlfriend, no matter how cool he/she is or how 'serious' the relationship is. Your boyfriend is an especially bad answer to a question asking you to name the most fascinating person you know.
- Your pet, unless it has some amazing characteristic that sets YOU apart from the rest of the field. Same thing goes for your roommate(s).
- Religion, politics, sex, war, and other items on the list of things that you might argue about with your family once everyone has had too much to drink on Thanksgiving.
- Your weight or your age.
- Britney Spears, Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan (unless the 2nd year associate that is interviewing you, and has no real say in whether you are hired or not, brings the topic up first.)
- High school -- not a peep, even if you were the valedictorian or captain of the state championship water polo team.
- Reality TV shows in the genre of Big Brother, The Biggest Loser, or My Super Sweet Sixteen.
- Myspace, Facebook, and other sites that older people have no idea about or that younger people could be drawn to to find a side of you that you don't want found.
- Your drinking game championship ring or other undergrad party antics.
I think you get the picture. However, some of these things were things that I would have talked about in my younger years and some of these things are topics that I know were discussed by others in their interviews. Of course, this is just my opinion (and an attempt at a little humor) but I offer it in an effort to assist those who have never interviewed for a professional job and those that don't realize that these topics are ill-suited for a professional context.