November 7, 2008, Newsletter Issue #7: Interview Blunder: Complaining

Tip of the Week

When you were a freelance copy editor, your boss repeatedly called you at home to ask you questions late at night. Should you comment on or complain about things like this if asked in an interview? The answer is simple--no. Stick to the positive, otherwise the person that it may reflect badly on is you.

While it can be tempting to tell people about the crazy co-worker you had, or the demanding, irrational boss that walked around barefoot in his office, the truth is, in an interview situation people will not see this in a good light. Even minor negativity can make you look like an ungrateful gossip. After all, people haven't met the people you are talking about, so the person who comes across poorly is you.

A great strategy to combat this is to re-frame negative things in a different light. For example, rather than just talking about your crazy co-worker's behavior, emphasize your ability to get along with all types of people. Instead of revealing all the flaws that your demanding boss had, talk about how you are able to meet and exceed expectations. This way, you can refrain from looking ungrateful or petty, and make yourself look good as well.

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