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How to Suck at a Job Interview

Updated on December 15, 2021
Carolyn M Fields profile image

Carolyn Fields is a lifelong learner, musician, author, world traveler, truth enthusiast, and all-around bon vivant.


Common Sense is Apparently Not That Common

Before your first (or fifth, or tenth, etc.) job interview, common sense dictates that you prepare yourself. You will need to update your résumé and bring at least one copy, preferably more. You should learn a little something about the company, figure out where to go and when, and arrive on time. And you should try to look presentable.

These are basics that everybody should know. Or at least I thought everybody knew them. Recently, I have been shocked to learn how many people don’t seem to know even these “basic” rules for having a successful job interview. In an attempt to be helpful, I’m going to review those rules. Only to make this article less dull and boring, I am going to use reverse psychology. I am going to explain in detail just exactly how to “suck” at a job interview.

Use of Time

To really suck at an interview, be sure to arrive late. Not just five minutes. Be sure you’re there at least 15 minutes beyond the appointed time. Then appear frazzled, and out of breath. Like you ran the last block. Don’t offer an apology, either. Everybody knows how unpredictable traffic can be. It’s not your fault.

Better yet, show up on the wrong day, or at the totally wrong hour. This is certain to make an impression. Don’t leave it there. Assuming you are admitted into the interviewer’s office at all, be certain to ask “how long is this going to take” after only about five minutes. Also, look nervously at your watch, and fidget. It gets them every time.

Your Appearance

Good hygiene is over-rated. To really suck at an interview, don’t bother with a shower, and make sure your hair is either greasy, or at least uncombed. Your fingernails need to be dirty, as well as your shoes. And for heaven’s sake, don’t wash your face!

They say that “clothes make the wo/man,” so be sure to dress appropriately. To suck, you’ll need torn jeans, or cut-off shorts, paired with a T-shirt or tank top. Shoes are so restrictive, so you should wear your sandals. Then kick them off about half-way though the interview with a little sigh of relief. After all, your interviewer doesn’t want you to be uncomfortable.

Remember to wear lots and lots of jewelry, to the point that it jingles when you enter the room. And pour on that aftershave or cologne. Wearing sunglasses during the interview is also a nice touch.

Mannerisms and Body Language

The best way to suck at an interview is to totally ignore your body language. Don’t ever look your interviewer in the eyes, and make sure your handshake is either limp or overly firm. Then fidget and squirm in your chair. Or don’t even sit down. Just pace around the room.

If you do decide to sit down, lean back in your chair, and yawn frequently. This will drive home to your interviewer just how important you think you are. Couple this with either a belch or flatulence (the louder, the better). Finally, laugh wildly or giggle at inappropriate times.


Answering Questions

Sucking at an interview means that you must never give direct answers to those annoying interview questions. Be sure to give long-winded, rambling answers that are unrelated to the topic, or answer the questions that you think should be asked. Or simply say “I don’t know” and leave it there. You don’t want to appear to be a “know-it-all” do you?

Either mumble, talk very, very fast or very, very loud. Throw in some “colorful” words here and there, so they know your are streetwise. Lastly, ask to have the same question repeated, at least three times. It shows that you are precise.

If they ask you questions about anything that your wrote on your résumé, but sure to act confused and puzzled by this. You can’t truly suck at an interview without being unfamiliar with what you put on your résumé.

Ending the Interview

Whatever you do, don’t send a thank you note to your interviewer. They should be thanking you, right? If you do follow-up, it should only be to ask when you are supposed to start work. If you don’t hear back in two weeks, it means that you were overqualified. At least, that’s what you should tell anybody who asks.

Seriously, Folks

Just in case you missed it, all of the above comments are pretty much the exact opposite of what you should do in an interview. So that nobody will complain, where is my “real” list of tips:

  • Be on time. Fifteen minutes early is ideal.
  • Dress as though you want the job, or as though you already have it.
  • Enunciate your words clearly and confidently (speak up, but don’t shout).
  • Watch your word choice.
  • Remember the fine line between wit and sarcasm.
  • Know what is on your résumé before you walk in the door.
  • Avoid wearing too much jewelry, make-up, and perfume/cologne.
  • Display a positive, upbeat, eager, and self-confident attitude.
  • Follow-up with a thank you note, or at least a thank you email.

Best of luck!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Carolyn Fields


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