Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Interview

The Interview

Tense At Present

I'll be honest here. I haven't been on an interview in years. But I still do remember some tricks for ensuring a successful interview. For instance, during an interview, I'd often use sex to my advantage. You see, at no point during the interview would I offer to have it in exchange for the job. This technique served me very well. The key is realizing that the percentage of people who don't want to have sex with you is much larger than the percentage of people who do. I was just playing the odds. In gambling, that's called "playing the odds." Hey — what a coincidence!

Another trick I'd recommend is avoiding the present tense. The fellow in the comic above fell right into that trap. Plus, he used the worst adjective he could. Innovative. You never want to tell people you're innovative. I mean, you may have a successful history of innovation — maybe you were innovative three or four times in the past — but that's no guarantee you're going to continue to have innovative ideas. What if the innovative idea you had last week was your last one ever? And your irresponsible usage of the present tense just implied that you have at least one more innovative idea in you. This is going to blow up in your face.

Employer: Jim, we'd like the water cooler to dispense rainbows. Why don't you set that up for us.
Jim: What? How is that even possible?
Employer: (clapping hands together) Chop, chop, MacGyver .

If you just have to talk yourself up in an interview, your best bet is probably to use the past tense, and just say "I was innovative in the past." No promises there. But a smart employer, playing the odds (not in a gambling sense, or the sex-in-exchange-for-job sense, but a "this guy's playing his cards close to his chest" sense, which in gambling is... called... Wow! Coincidence!) might think you've still got at least one more in you. Or he'll think you're a loser with no self-confidence. But you're still better off not using the present tense. I mean, you start telling people that you're smart, or efficient, or innovative and you might as well just give them résumés from the future:

Resume from the Future

See how stupid that... looks...

You know what? This is actually a pretty smart move. What employer would risk not hiring the guy who invents the time machine? He's obviously maybe qualified.

No one take this idea! It's mine!

Comments on this Article

There are currently 34 comments.

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glindon marten

I like to swear a lot in interviews. This one time I showed up to an interview with an open half full can of Budwieser.

The Colonel

*emerges from time machine to steal idea*

Damn it! I'm a few moments too late... see you 20 minutes ago, sucker!

*reenters time machine & disappears*


Glindon - Were you interviewing at Anheuser-Busch?



Itís trueóthe biggest problem about the time machine isnít the Grandfather Paradox, itís who actually gets there first and how to prove it.

(This is the official ruling of the Committee for the Regulation and Advancement of Time Exploration, May 8, 21ó)


I once had an interview at a graphic design company in Palm Springs, CA. I thought I could get along fairly well, having taught myself to use PageMaker, but then I was asked to demonstate cropping an image - the one thing I didn't have (yet) figured out at the time. Pfff...figures.

Natalie Jost

My interview trick is to tell them how much I don't know and can't do, then wow them with my fantabulousness at everything (including making up words).


Jordan - I don't recognize the Committee's authority on this matter. I can remember when I traveled back in time and they didn't even exist.

Jedediah - Bah - no one crops images anymore anyway ;)

Natalie - Oooh! Make up a word with a 4 in it! THAT would be impressive!

Natalie Jost

pfft! that's easy. supert4stic!


I am soooo done with time travel. I can hardly remember WHERE I left my car...

Ruud Welten

Bryan, don't you mean WHEN you left your car?

glindon marten

BSR: "Glindon - Were you interviewing at Anheuser-Busch?"

Actually it was for a school bus driver position. Ahhh, memories.


Hmm.. rainbow-dispensing water coolers, eh?
That's easy as L-S-D maaaaan.


I'm going to invent the time machine, go back in time and make sure you never come up with this idea. So that when I'm back in the right time, this time would've never existed and that time I'll be the winner in this time story! YES!

Now, do I have the job or what?




Ruud, hence the joke. I can't even remember WHERE I left my car, much less WHEN. Ha. Or not ha.

Shall I sing instead?


Natalie - Madam. My hat is off to you.

Glindon - Man, I couldn't think of a worse job than School Bus driver. 30 times the responsibility of normal driving, negative 30 times the safety belts.

Juju - LSD isn't as easy to get a hold of nowadays. Well, since my uncle, Moonflower, passed away, at least.

Opspraak - Uh, oh — looks like you and the Colonel are racing for time supremacy!

Phyllis - I know, pretty heavy, right?

Bryan - Only if it's one of those songs from the future... you know, the one with the space jug.


Maybe you'd like to try for the job advertised in the most recent New Scientist that requires an applicant who:

"... will lead the efforts of exploring, assessing and internalising technologies to leverage innovations."

You would also be required to be able to:

"support enabling technologies that align with innovation strategy"

They don't ask at all about a Time Machine, but I can't see that the invention of such would be a disadvantage. You might have to rename it a Quasi-Theoretical Temporal Displacement Unit, but hey, same thing, right?


I don't know if that's a good fit... there's only a handful of executives out there who really know how to leverage. Harris Stockford does some top-notch leveraging these days for Fisk & Morris.


Bearskinrug - The space jug is a ruddy death trap. If the Great Uvula Mangling of 2614 taught us nothing else, it's that we should stick to instruments that we don't have to sit on. Well... take my word for it.


I once intereviewed someone and during the course of our chat asked if he was interviewing anywhere else. His reponse, " Yeah, but none of the interviews went very well." I asked why, " Because I suck". I almost wanted to hire him for that...almost.


That's a pretty good angle too. Now, would you have hired him if he started crying?


A future based resume you suggest? Now that, is brilliant. If you wanted to get cheeky you ought to go ahead and put the job title of the guy interviewing you down as your next job, starting two days after the interview.

Well written. I will be back. Earlier.



It's hard to gamble with the guy who has "Guy who invents time machine" written on his resume, mainly because how do you know he didn't travel through time to change his present time resume. So it's like maybe he actually already knows about all of those future positions???


Conall - Hehe - yeah - that's a good idea. Everyone appreciates that kind of confidence!

Shane - I believe that's the "Guy Who Interviews For A Job From The Future" paradox...


"A future based resume you suggest? Now that, is brilliant. If you wanted to get cheeky you ought to go ahead and put the job title of the guy interviewing you down as your next job, starting two days after the interview."

but, wait! how does that entice him to hire you? at the same time, he obviously will hire you or else you wouldn't have written it down as your next job. oh, the paradox. my head.

Captain Purple

*a small popping sound, steps from second-hand time machine*

First post!


*slings off back to second-hand time machine, gone after a small popping sound*


Hahaha - THAT was pretty awesome, Captain. :D

Cliener von Cleanskin

Wait a minute... have I posted this one already?

Time machines are so very confusing.

Cliener von Cleanskin

Paraphrasing a job interview I gave:

“So, where do yourself in the next year or two?”

“Well, as soon as I’m hired, I’ll get you suckers fired and run this show on my own.”


Hehe - very clever, Cliener ;)


Do you know that if you do a qualified Google search for "Fisk & Morris" you only get TWO hits. Bearskin Rug at #1 and something boring at #2.


Terry Tolleson

Holy crap at that resume! HAHAHAHA!

Good stuff, BSR!


Bananaglyph - Well... once they move to Deleware and incorporate, I'm sure they'll put up a site or something.

Terry - Well... you should congratulate Kip Peters. He's the real hero.


I had a second time interview for the technical support on 8/5/08 with the same company, and i thought i did it well. Until now, i still haven't got the offer. I don't understand what i did wrong. Please tell me why... Thanks

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