It’s true that many employers are seeking charismatic employees rather than stuffy, conservative attorneys. Sometimes, well-placed strong language can be used effectively. But an interview is no place for foul language. I’m shocked that I need to write this blog post, but I just learned from a client that a candidate (who probably would have received a job offer) tanked his interview because he dropped a few F-bombs in the interview. Unbelievable. He didn’t even wait to get his foot in the door before he put it in his mouth.
Everyone in the room knew what happened: he got too comfortable with the interviewers and treated them like they were his friends. Bad move. The partners in the room weren’t offended by the language, but they knew that some of their clients wouldn’t appreciate the cursing. If this candidate was swearing inside of ten minutes in the interview, what’s to say that he won’t do that with clients? Instead of getting an offer, this candidate is still looking for a job.
A quick search of the internet shows a UK study that found that swearing in an interview is the number one faux pas for interviewers. Surprisingly the number two faux pas was answering a cell phone during an interview (yes, I said ANSWERING – a cell phone simply ringing was lower on the list).