re: Don’t say negative things in an interview VIEW POST


I wish I would get on board with your message (and I would have in the past), but there are so many things that are red flags for me.

Lemme try to sum up my feeling about this.

If I have to be this careful during an interview, then I simply don't belong here.
If I have to suppress laughter, refrain from sharing opinions, not letting my guard down, I know it'll be a terrible working environment for me.

Who I am during an interview, is mostly what people will get on a daily basis.

I'll laugh out loud when someone shares something mildly embarrassing about their experience because I can relate a lot when it comes to embarrassing myself. I'll curse when talking about how bullshitty my whole formal education was. I'll be outspoken about how little I care about big VC numbers and the startup lingo. I'll share stories about getting burnt out and harassed.

It closes me some doors, that's true. But it also opens up a lot of really cool opportunities. Places where I don't have to wear a thick social mask, to hide who I am.

It also helps me to recruit the companies I'll work with as much as they're recruiting me.

I used to do exactly like you. It only gave me a sense of hollowness, of stretching myself too much between me-IRL and me-at-work. Calculating my every move was just not how I wanted to live.

Let me also say that I agree with you on being someone nice during interviews (and in life in general), so I completely agree with you on not being a douche or making snide remarks... But it's more about a line I take in life than only during interviews.


This 100%. Be yourself or you will regret it. The purpose of an interview (especially a first one) should be to find out if you're a match. That goes both ways.
That said, of course your interview shouldn't be an hour long rant about something.


An issue is that you aren't interviewing only for your team, you're interviewing to be part of a company as whole. If I'm hiring you, I want to know that you can interact with everybody in the company.

But here's a real problem in your position. Your answer is articulate and reasoned. You had the option of going on a tirade, yet chose to be neutral and collected. My guess is that you behave similarly in an interview. That is, my advice is probably not useful to you.

Many candidates have a problem keeping their cool, or are not that articulate. They need a reminder to stay in control. If one's social skills are not top notch, then it's worth erring on the side of caution.


Mm, yeah, you've summed up my views pretty well.

I try not to be overtly negative in interviews, but there are some things that I'm better off owning, such as the fact that I absolutely hate Javascript. That's not a passing opinion either; not only have I used it, but I was also among the experts on StackOverflow in the closely-related ActionScript 3.0 when that language was popular.

If that means I don't get the job, that's probably for the best, because I would resent every moment I had to work in that language. A good developer should know his or her own mind.

With that said, I am very careful about what things I'm negative about. My personal opinion (at this time) is that PHP looks a bit cluttered as a language, but I'm not going to say that in an interview because I don't know PHP. It may well be that I'll find I like it (hey, I like C, so it's possible!)...or maybe I won't, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I can learn just about anything, and I'd rather send that message.

That said, yeah, I agree one definitely shouldn't make snide and sarcastic remarks in general, especially in interviews, and should still keep the negativity carefully in check. But, "I yam who I yam." If I sell them a falsely saccharine version of me, everyone loses. Yes, I'm a developer, a communicator, and a fast learner...but I'm also (respectfully) passionate. If the workplace can't handle that part of my personality, I'd rather know that now.

P.S. From the other side of the table, if an interviewee owns that they hate C++, I'd be glad to learn of it then, instead of weeks or months into their job with us. Can we show them things to help them love it? Are they better suited for the Python code base instead? Is this job just not to be a good fit? Better to find out now!


What if you happen to be stuck in a room with somebody that knows language design extremely well? What if that's because you've proved your worth so far, and were advanced to a valuable employee at a place you want to work.

What if their only question is, "Why do you hate JavaScript?"

Do you think you can answer sufficiently to convince a language designer that your position is reasonable?

Perhaps you can, but this is the point about not likely being an expert. Many people express opinions on things which are based in nonsense. By opening yourself up to questioning you risk making a bad impression -- the chance to make a good impression is somewhat thin.

Well, like I said, I wouldn't state it unless I have reasonable confidence I can make a clear, objective case for my opinion. I agree discernment is needed, but I wouldn't want to disingenuously pretend I liked Javascript when I would rather mow the lawn than work in it.

No, an I'm not recommending people lie, or hide their opinions. I hope it did not come across that way. The intent is to stay positive, and steer towards better topics. Even negative opinions can be expressed, but they shouldn't be framed aggressively.

As with Remi, I'm sure you manage well in an interview. Unfortunately, many people I've intereviewed do not. They make silly, easy to avoid mistakes. This experience is where my advice is coming from.

they shouldn't be framed aggressively

True that.

My point of view is exactly what it is, something I say from where I stand in terms of social skills, years of being on both sides of the interview process. And it should not be seen as a panacea for everyone.

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