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Read Between the Lines

July 22, 1999
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A lot of prospective employees know how to talk their way through an interview. But do HR managers know how to read between the lines?

Why did you leave your last job?
What they tell you: I felt my talents and abilities were underutilized.
What they really mean: It sucked.

What are your weaknesses?
What they tell you: I’m a workaholic. I just don’t know when to put down my work.
What they really mean: I can’t concentrate for more than five minutes, hate all forms of authority and tend to fall asleep at my desk.

What does the word "success" mean to you?
What they tell you: Success would be knowing I’m making a difference, working with a team of people to make a more profitable enterprise.
What they really mean: It means I don’t have to drag my sorry ass out of bed to kiss yours.

Do you ever get angry with your co-workers?
What they tell you: Nothing angers me more than to see a co-worker not pulling his weight, goofing off or stealing. Yes, sometimes I do get angry with co-workers.
What they really mean: I don’t get angry, I get even.

SOURCE: Disgruntled: The Darker Side of the World of Work by Daniel S. Levine (Boulevard Books, 1998).

Workforce, February 1999, Vol. 78, No. 2, p. 25.

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