March 25th, 2011

kusanagi: sometimes it's true

Things you should never, ever say in an interview: #1

Most of my student interviews yesterday went quite well. One of them, however, was excruciating. I always try to make the students comfortable before I start questioning them on technical aspects of the lab. Here is how the bad interview started.

Me: "So, what did you think of the lab? Did you enjoy it?"
Student: "I hated it."
Me: ...

Now, I appreciate honesty. Some of the students have admitted to being less than thrilled with the repetitive nature of one part of the experiment. However, they are usually quick to point out that they enjoyed another part of it, or that they liked doing the data analysis. It is wise to qualify a negative response with positive aspects when you are speaking to the person who is determining your mark. It is wise when you are speaking to someone who is determining whether or not you will get a job. In fact, it is wise in just about every interview situation I can think of, except perhaps with a mental health professional. How on Earth do you get into university without figuring this out?