A Jagaimo.com Project tech.job.search guide



New Etiquette

Know Your Stuff
What to Expect

The Right Attitude

Jason Truesdell

Sometimes someone comes in and aces all of the technical questions, but makes a fatal mistake when answering problem-solving questions or being asked about their previous jobs.

They sound uninterested. Or worse--unmotivated.

Here's a quick list of deadly utterances that have sunk candidates in my interviews:

  • "It would be time consuming, but..." (bad)
  • "It would be a lot of work, but..." (very bad)
  • "Well, I guess you could do that..." (only OK if you propose a better solution to the problem).

Body language and manner of speech speak volumes about a person. Being a little nervous is OK if you have a positive attitude, so don't worry too much. Just don't sound desperate.

But sounding bored, sounding like you don't care whether you get the job or not, or sighing at the wrong moment will cost you.

Being confident is great, but be careful not so put on an air of superiority. Arrogance is not typically considered a virtue.

One candidate I spoke to had an impressive resume but sounded like he was under the influence of marijuana when he came in. He answered technical questions slowly, answered our questions about his programming projects ambiguously, and still managed to project an inscrutable arrogance. Needless to say, we didn't hire him.

Attitude isn't really something you can practice, but a genuine interest in the work you're interviewing for will go a long way. Paying attention when the interviewer is talking and being enthusiastic about understanding a problem when you're being asked a logic or problem-solving question will also help.

Attitude is one of the least measurable characteristics of a job candidate, but it plays a huge role when a manager needs to make a decision about an offer. When one of your other skills is lacking, we talk about attitude. If your attitude is poor, goodbye.



Last modification to this page: 2000.12.18

Send Feedback

© 1999-2001 Jason Truesdell.
All Rights Reserved.

Best experienced with
Microsoft Internet Explorer
Click Here to start.