Speak No Evil

Having recruited for over 20 years now as part of my HR role I’ve talked with thousands of job candidates. And I often consult with friends, colleagues and students as well.

I’ve been around.

Apparently though some people have missed this important memo so I’ll repost it here:

Don’t talk negatively about a former employer! Speak-no-Evil-by-Marina-Taskovic

Some people think being open and keeping it real is where its at. Others think that anything said to HR Is confidential.  And I suppose some don’t think at all.

So let me explain why this tip is important for your personal career health.

First, I’m looking for the best fit for my employer. That covers a lot of ground but one thing it includes for sure is a positive impact on others.  As a candidate you can’t display this quality by bad-mouthing your last boss or company.

I cannot in good faith recommend anyone who comes through the interview process with a negative attitude. I want to respect the talent of the people we already have!

Next, I want to find reasonable and flexible people to join my company.  Things like sales, budgets, headcount, priorities and projects can and do change.  The world is a dynamic place. As I like to say we need people who can not only pick things up quickly but put them down quickly too.

If you’re still harping on your last company, or the one before that, you don’t look very reasonable.

But there’s another reason I don’t want to hear negativity about someone else: I want to talk about us.

Have you ever been on a date with someone who talked non-stop about their ex? Did you want to see them again?

I didn’t think so.

When I’m interviewing you I’m selfish.

I want to talk about my opportunity, my needs, my culture. And I want you to talk about how you fit them.  What you bring to the party.  How you see yourself contributing. To us.

Maybe one of your positions wasn’t the best. That’s part of life. Learn from.it.

Take your experience – good and bad – and let’s talk about the future, and what we can do. Together.

The adage holds true – don’t run from something, run to it.

Photo Courtesy of and Copyright to Marina Taskovic


2 thoughts on “Speak No Evil

  1. Chris,

    This is something that gets under my skin like nothing else. I hate hearing about how their last boss was an idiot, their company was horribly run, blah blah blah. All of that may be true. But when a candidate comes in to an interview spewing that kind of negativity, it makes me think that THEY were actually the problem at their last job. Instant loss of credibility.

    Great article. 🙂

    • Thanks man. I just don’t understand how you look good when all you share is bad news!

      Appreciate the feedback Keith!

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