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Bad Interview ? – 17 No-No’s

Copyright © Sandra A. Jackson, JobTownResumes.com, 2013. All rights reserved.*


  • 17 Interview No-No’s from Industry Experts.
  • Discussion on Interview Self-Sabotage.
  • You, Me, & Dupree as “Case Study.”
  • An Interview Check-list for you to print out.
  • Email us your funny interview, bad interview stories.

I see you sitting there down in the dumps. So You Had a Bad Interview?!! Whoever of us has not had a bad interview day should step forward and cast the first paperweight. Or something like that. It happens. My advice? No matter how bad you wanted the job, laugh at the circumstances and learn from it. Success is sweet but failure is a darn good teacher.

movie-nightWe’re gonna analyze a case study (er … movie clips). Come right in! Make yourself comfortable. Grab that chair over there.

Let’s roll the YouTube clips!

Every interview is practice for the one that land’s you the job! Let’s have some fun and analyze “You, Me, & Dupree.”

Synopsis: “You, Me, and Dupree” came out in 2006, and starred Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson, and Matt Dillon. In this movie, the best man, Dupree (played by Wilson) has been out of work for quite a while and stays on as a house guest with the newlyweds, Molly and Carl. Dupree clearly has boundary issues. He burns their living room and frequently ends up naked. But even more unforgivable is the fact that he puts a severe strain on the newlyweds relationship.

In this scene, Dupree begins looking for work at the urging of Molly and Carl, and his job interview doesn’t go well when he finds out the company doesn’t close for his favorite holidays.  (Click on the graphic to play the scene.)


Link: The Dupree interview from “You, Me, & Dupree.”

Let’ Analyze: Dupree came to the interview dressed appropriately, but brought a duffel bag with him (not recommended). He spoke with ease and confidence. He brought a résumé. All positives. He was ready for that open-ended stock question managers so frequently begin with, “Tell me about yourself.” It was obvious Dupree had given that issue quite a bit of thought and described himself pretty well. Right out of the gate he sounded like someone who wasn’t even going to pretend to be committed to this job. And then he talked about time off …

Clearly, the conventional analysis of this interview is, “Don’t discuss job benefits and perks in your initial interview at a company.” The conventional wisdom is to wait until you get a job offer or at least until a second interview. It’s also NOT a good idea to emphasize that work is not a priority.

But, let’s dig a little deeper and talk about interview self-sabotage. In Dupree’s case, he didn’t really want this job. He was going through the motions to please his friends. Dupree concluded he wasn’t a fit even before the manager gave up and was happy to walk out. And Dupree’s personal issues … his free spirit, his disorganization, and his search for his passion in life … got in the way of a conventional work world. And, honestly, Dupree was basically OK with that, even if his friends weren’t.

17 Ways You Tank Your Interview: Read these tips on how people sabotage their interviews and how to stop it from 3 mainstream experts.

  1. 10 Subtle Ways to Sabotage Your Interview, Monster.com
  2. 7 Stupid Statements That Can Sabotage Your Interview, PayscaleBad Interview - 17 No-No.s..
  3. How to Stop Self-Sabotage in Interviews, Houston Chronicle

And then there is this self-explanatory list: (1) showing up late, (2) being rude to the receptionist, (3) bad hygiene, (4) completely inappropriate attire, (5) being under the influence, and (6) talking bad about your current or former employer.

Don’t roll your eyes and act like everyone knows that and it never happens. During my 17 years as an IT recruiter, I saw it all, including the inebriated programmer who spit on the rug while weaving down the hall on his way to the interview. It happens.

Sometimes, though, the interview just falls short because of more subtle reasons beyond your control, as evidenced by the August 2013 CareerBuilder Study on “Who Get’s Hired.”

In any case, for those die-hard free spirits who are OK traveling around looking for their passion, the Dupree film has a pretty inspiring ending, but please, (and, yes, you can roll your eyes now and all references to Tony Robbins aside), you know it’s NOT that easy!

(Click on the graphic or the links to roll the YouTube clip.) Bad.Interview.Cupree.talks.at.Career-Day

Link: Dupree gives a talk to Molly’s class on Career Day (above).

Link: Dupree discovers his Tony-Robbins-esque passion (below). Bad.Interview.Dupree.Finds.Passion

So, learn from your interview mistakes, don’t sabotage your own interviews, realize there will sometimes be some things beyond your control, go for jobs where there is a company-culture fit, and, if you are a free-spirit still trying to find your passion, expect a bumpy ride. And last, but definitely, not least, laugh at the circumstances!

There is almost always a funny story in it.

Click on this link to see a very good interview check list from the Daily Muse.  Be prepared. This is a similar check list to the one I gave job applicants when prepping them for their interview with a client company.

Bad-Interview-17 No.No.sTo all my free-spirits out there: Consensus is, “What Color is Your Parachute?” is still the best book on finding your passion.

Kind Regards, Sandy, Your Resume Writer


Click here to call or e-mail me and let’s get started on your resume!

E-mail us your funny interview stories. We’ll choose some to feature anonymously in our blogs. Use the form below. Be sure to include “Funny Interview Story” in the subject line and include a sentence giving us permission to use your story anonymously. There is almost always a lesson to be learned in an interview gone wrong.

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