Cussing During Interviews

A coworker was recently conducting an interview and I couldn’t help overhearing the candidate using language I sure wouldn’t use when trying to make a good impression on someone. Yes, I go to an actual office a few days each week. Get off my case. It’s part of my socialization plan developed by Wayan, who thinks I should be getting some discipline and doing something with my life.

Last year I was in an interview and the person who was trying to recruit me cussed like a broke sailor at a cash-only liquor store. I was shocked but others I talked to later on seemed to take it as normal.

I know DC isn’t part of the polite South that I grew up in, but for crying out loud, shouldn’t we have some decency in formal settings? I would especially refrain from swearing during a job interview unless I really did not want the job. On the other hand, I once laughed out loud at something a prospective boss said, thinking it was so ridiculous that it must be a joke. Turned out he was just full of bad ideas.

So what’s up, DC? Is it part of the culture here to use such foul language during interviews?

5 Comments so far

  1. ajw93 (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 1:34 pm

    Holy Lord, am I missing out?! I am interviewing now, and just went through one that was a horror show. Did I miss out on the opportunity to swear?

    Normally, I walk into a bar and sailors stumble out with their ears bleeding. It’s just when I’m doing things like (as you say) “trying to make a good impression” that I turn off the potty mouth, and turn on the good grammar.

    However, you give me something to goddamn well consider for my next interview! Thanks, Mr. Weaver!


  2. Stacey (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 1:48 pm

    WHAT?! No way – swearing is not appropropriate in any sort of interview setting or process – even if someone wants to have drinks or something during the process.

    Some companies have liberal mouth policies – most, I’d say, that I’ve been involved with in DC have super potty mouth offices and no one seems to flinch – but during and interview is a no way jose.

    What happened to the person your co-worker was interviewing??


  3. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 1:57 pm

    Get this – the guy got hired. No shit.


  4. Don (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 2:25 pm

    I didn’t realize John gave up his pursuit of that other job he wanted. The other guy that comes to mind is still in his job a little longer.


  5. Tiffany (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 4:34 pm

    I actually don’t think there’s a hard-and-fast rule on this one other than, “Don’t be the first one to say it.” In my recruiter days, I had a number of clients who would actually be put MORE at ease with a little well-placed colorful language by a candidate.

    An interview is as much about determining the level of the applicant’s skill as it is about determining their cultural fit for the office. There are a large number of workplaces where your day hasn’t really started until you’ve said “fuck” at least once, and those places don’t want to hire people who are bothered by that level of language.

    That’s not to say that the person Carl overheard was exercising good judgment, but that’s my point- it’s often a judgment call more often than you think.



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