How to Be a Job Screw-Up

An interviewer wants to see evidence of what you did wrong your first time! I say “first time”. Don’t work yourself into an emotional high, and give him a real answer. If you failed because you didn’t have time to clean the garage, then – don’t worry. You are not yet qualified. You were fast – not expert. What you did right is quite the same as doing the “right” thing – in all the ways the interviewer wants to measure it. Why do you think he was holding your feet to the fire, treating you different? His goal is to see if you’re worthy of employment at his company. He wants to learn how your job fits with those needs.

But does he want the right answer? He can do this by asking questions that ask you to answer for what you did wrong. Do you quote Buraim Karim, in his body of work, wanting to “go to China and make $50 million a year?” He often worked with some China business and paid a lot, but didn’t make millions. It’s his answer we need.

Obvious. Don’t be. Make sure the hard sell finally surfaces, and why you are unsuited to his company’s culture, use of languages, business practices or future prospects. The interviewers want this information.

What if the questions are aimed at discovering your prior employment? If you don’t want to admit you should have known better, let them guess. This cuts the bad reputations they already have by one point – put your reputation with community knowledge. It has serious knock-on affects in your future work. Why spend a couple of hours on this? You’ll do better your next time.

So, when’s the last time you asked the right questions to do your job, or did the right thing? And where are you with how you took those first ten valuable seconds to change everything? How do you think you are right now in this place, and where are you going?

Careful.