109 Things Not to Say at a Job Interview

(Originally appeared in Radar, February 2008)

#1. “Sorry I’m late. I could have sworn you said ‘San Francisco.’”

#2. [Winking] “Golly, I have no idea how that ten dollar bill just appeared on your desk.”

#3. “Can we wrap this up? I’d really hate to hit rush hour.”

#4. “Just out of curiosity, how long do you caché visited websites?”

#5. “Do me a kindness, and scratch beneath my carpal-tunnel splints?”

#6. “My work ethic is so strong, it’s practically Asian.”

#7. “Let’s try that again, and this time shake my hand like you’ve got a pair.”

#8. “Would it possible to be paid in cash? I’m kind of laying low right now.”

#9. “Do I have any questions? Why, yes I do. What in the hell is this Microsoft Word everyone keeps talking about?”

#10. “You got a bottle opener in that big ol’ fancy drawer?”

#11. “My last boss hid spy-cameras in the crapper. Look me in the eye and promise you won’t do that.”

#12. “Ever seen that Sharon Stone scene in Basic Instinct? Allow me to refresh your memory . . .”

#13. “My motto: Work hard, play hard—or as the Nazis might say, Arbeit Macht Frei.”

#14. “Lemme just finish scooping out this pumpkin, and then I’ll get to your questions.”

#15. “Hold on–almost lost it in my diaper. Ha ha! (whispering) Nerves.”

#16. “Does this DYKE tattoo on my forehead conform with your dress code?”

#17. “Think of me as the Hamburger Helper to your skillet of ground workload.”

#18. “I’m just looking to make one last big score before I get out of the game. And I’d love to do that right here at Applebee’s.”

#19. “Funny, everyone who reads my resume always hones right in on the manslaughter part.”

#20. “What has two thumbs and totally loves commodities trading? This guy!”

#21. “Oh, I see. But it’s fine if a black person like you says it.”

#22. “Before we begin, how fucking hot was Dr. McDreamy last night?”

#23. “Sorry, I have to answer this. Could be a job.”

#24. “Is that a picture of your family? Your wife’s uterus must be totally blown out.”

#25.“If you don’t mind me asking, what exactly is it you all do here at NASA?”

#26. “Wouldn’t it be more fun if we conducted this interview on my lap?”

#27. “Help a brother out. I’ve been out of work so long I’ve got blue balls for this gig.”

#28. “Do you have a mint? I’m pretty sure my breath is still stanky from last night’s lovin’.”

#29. “I’m not big on couches. Cool if I cop a squat?”

#30. “You’ve got the body. I’ve got the brains.”

#31. “For my personal reference, is it okay if I only know the guy’s Xbox gamer tag?”

#32. “I bet you’ll be chuffed to know you’d be hiring an extremely skilled knife fighter.”

#33. “I can explain that three-year gap in my employment history with two simple words: H.O.R.D.E. Tour”

#34. “If you Google me, just be forewarned that there’s a sexual predator who happens to share my name and Facebook page.”

#35. “Sure, I value a diverse workplace. Your kind deserves a leg up.”

#36. “I’m just going to apologize in advance for the projectile vomiting. It’s okay–I brought my own sick-bag.”

#37. “What time is it? Four? Shit! Where’s the closest airport?”

#38. “Before we begin, would you mind if I cranked ‘Lose Yourself’?”

#39. “Just out of curiosity, is that sore on my forehead still running?”

#40. “You’re not going to make me take one of those fucking anger management seminars, are you?”

#41. “Mind if I bunk here ‘til I straighten my housing situation out?”

#42. “What part of ‘I’ve never held a job for more than three days’ don’t you understand?”

#43. “Realistically, how much weight can your desk support?”

#44. “As far as long-term goals go, I’d just love to own an electric toothbrush.”

#45. “Can we put this on speakerphone? My lawyer wants to be involved.”

#46. “I think I can best answer that with the following tambourine solo.”

#47. “If I smell like deep-dish pizza, it’s just because I love it so goddamn much.”

#48. “Let’s just cut straight to the chase: who and where is the office slut?”

#49. “I’m assuming you’ll pay me for watching my stories at lunch?”

#50. “My qualifications? Isn’t that one of those prejudicial questions you’re not allowed to ask?”

#51. “You don’t have like three dollars, do you? I’ll hit you back when you hire me.”

#52. “It’s called a waggle dance, and it’s my way of saying, ‘Make me your worker bee!’”

#53. “You should probably keep your distance. I’ve been targeted by the Mossad.”

#54. “I don’t like to brag about competitive offers, but let’s just say I’ve had some interest from a company that rhymes with Flurger Cling.”

#55. “When I said a retard could do this job, of course I meant a highly functioning retard.”

#56. “I’d like to put the ‘Christ’ back in ‘AT&T.’”

#57. “I look forward to joining the team, and eventually humiliating you into an early retirement.”

#58. “If the preparation instructions for Lean Cuisine lasagna count as a book, then, yes, I have a favorite book.”

#59. “You’re over there actin’ like the biggest bull in the train yard, and here I’m the one been crowned Hobo King!”

#60. “To be honest, as soon as I earn enough money for my calf implants, I’m gone.”

#61. “Can I keep this pen? How about this lamp? This phone?”

#62 “It’s not that I prefer to work independently; it always just seems to end up that way.”

#63. (Noticing framed diploma) “Hey, that was my safety school!”

#64. (Noticing second diploma) “And hey! That was my safety grad-school!”

#65. “I’ll take off the hat when the Cubbies win the Series, and not a day sooner.”

#66. “I didn’t finish college but, don’t worry–I didn’t start it, either.”

#67. “I think you’ll find I’m a real team player, as long as no one touches my hair.”

#68. “I can type three words a minute. (Deep computer voice) Go. To. Hell.”

#69. “I just need to make enough money to stop hating myself for selling out.”

#70. “It’s not that I’m unwilling to travel, it’s just this whole statute of limitations thing.”

#71. “I guess I should’ve proofread my resume more carefully. I’m actually ‘Sara’ without an ‘h’.”

#72. “What you can’t get from reading my resume is all the stuff I deliberately omitted.”

#73. “Does your health plan cover abortions? If so, can I start today?”

#74. “Does it always smell like onion dip in here?”

#75. “I have excellent problem-solving skills . . . or, as my previous employer liked to call it, ‘an amazing left hook.’”

#76. (pulling out ear bud) “Cool if we start in a sec? I’m listening to ‘Sex Type Thing’ and it’s right where STP goes effin’ nuts.”

#77. “What do you think of my monocle? Choose your words very carefully.”

#78. “As any of my co-workers can tell you, I forward the best Internet links.”

#79. “I’m devoting tonight’s blog entry to the problems with your teeth.”

#80. “Yes, I’m that Scooter Libby.”

#81. “I have interpersonal skills out the poop shoot.”

#82. “Isn’t it festive? It’s a probation-tracking-bracelet.”

#83. “The irony is that people say I look stupid in my Mensa T-shirt.”

#84. “I emerged from my 30-year coma and came straight here.”

#85. “Do you believe in fairies? How about if they’re evil?”

#86. “I’ll work as many hours as it takes to make you notice how many hours I’m working.”

#87. “If I could be any historical figure, I suppose I’d be Skeletor.”

#88. “Instead of all this chit-chat, can’t we just enjoy a comfortable silence?”

#89. “I really look forward to abandoning my dreams at your corporation.”

#90. “Each of my personalities will require its own compensation package.”

#91. “Will the office have room for my steel drums?”

#92. “I’ve yet to encounter an employee dispute that can’t be resolved with a tickle fight.”

#93. “When work flow gets stressful, I’ll just close my eyes, take a deep breath, and totally fucking go off.”

#94. “My ideal supervisor would be a surrogate for the Mommy who never had time for me.”

#95. “How’s it feel to be in the presence of a squash champion?”

#96. “Man, I can almost smell your money from here.”

#97. “I work incredibly well under pressure . . . as long as I don’t cheek my meds.”

#98. “I didn’t go to business school, but I do know every line from The Secret to My Success by heart.”

#99. “Why do you have a typewriter connected to your TV set?”

#100. “Can you believe they’re touring again? Who? WHO?! THE FUCKING EAGLES! WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK??!!!”

#101. “Full disclosure: I have a hamster. Will my workspace be Habitrail-friendly?”

#102. “Where I come from, that kind of question can get you shot.”

#103. “See this? It’s a clitoris stud. Deal with it.”

#104. “Wanna see my hand jive?”

#105. “Do you have a secret prison in the basement like they do at Disney World?”

#106. “I’ll bet that desk of yours could tell some stories . . . stories about ferocious fucking.”

#107. (reaching in pocket) “Slice of bacon?”

#108. “Is it cool if I live-blog this interview?”

#109. “I have one more special skill not listed on my résumé and I can show it to you now, if you’ll just draw the curtains.”

–with Todd Levin, Jason Roeder, and Ted Travelstead