Don’t Be A Lawsuit Waiting To Happen


Official seal of Provincetown, MassachusettsI would say that 50% of the people I’ve interviewed in my life are a lawsuit waiting to happen.

That’s not a real number but it’s pretty close.

If you walk in the door and give me any indication that you have a chip on your shoulder — or you present a potential liability to my company — your interview is over.

You want ridiculous but 100% real examples?

Yeah, dog. I have them. Here we go.

You badmouth a person, place or thing.

Don’t badmouth a boss, a former coworker, or a breed of dog (pitbulls). Don’t disparage a company (P&G), a city (Provincetown), or a brand of toothpaste (Crest). Don’t tell me how you hate the east coast liberal elites or people who don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom.

Please don’t tell me your former boss is a bitch. (Do I even need to tell you this? Yes I do.)

Work is all about  dealing with stupid people. If you can’t demonstrate discretion in an interview when you’re at your best, I can’t trust you in a work environment when someone else is at his/her worst. You might sue us.

You talk about people who are out to get you.

I feel your pain. I have a whole community of people who hate me but I would never talk about haters in an interview, though. That’s because my head is not up my ass. Unlike you.

If you talk about your former boss or [black people/Latinos/women] who are out to get you, it’s bad. Always bad. Please just shut up.

I’ve learned that if you can’t shut up, you will probably sue us.

You talk openly about your medical or psychological conditions.

It’s cool that you are a recovering alcoholic. Good for you. And I’m sorry to hear that you suffer from both depression and eczema. Tough stuff — but I don’t want to hear about it during an interview. You are under no obligation to disclose your sleep apnea. I don’t want to her it.

HR 101 taught me that when you talk openly about medical issues in an interview, you are looking for a reason to bring those medical conditions up in court. I’m not going to hire you.

Listen, I don’t need to administer a Birkman if you walk into my office and can’t keep the personal things personal. You’re not a good fit for my company and I won’t hire you.

That’s still legal.

Please come to an interview and talk about your knowledge, skills and abilities. That’s it. Everything else just reminds me that my #1 job in HR is to mitigate risk — and you present the biggest liability to my company when you talk about your ongoing problems with carpal tunnel and how much you hate brown people.

Just shut up and keep it professional, okay?

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