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10 things not to say in a job interview

With many job hunters struggling to even get an interview, it would be doubly frustrating to throw the opportunity away by saying something stupid
A job interview
What not to say at interview: speaking badly of a former employer is unprofessional and reflects on your character. Photograph: RubberBall/Alamy
Mark King
With the jobs market more competitive than ever it can be hard work just to get an interview, so once you’re actually in front of potential employers you don’t want to ruin your prospects with an ill-chosen comment.
Sadly, some job hunters still do speak before they think. Corinne Mills, managing director of Personal Career Management, says she can recall many instances of interviewees saying the wrong thing. “I remember when one man was asked why he wanted the job, he replied, ‘Because my mum thought it was a good idea’,” she says.
She adds that some job hunters have also been known to say they’ve applied for a job “because it will pay the rent while I look for a job I really want to do”, and a common response to a question about what candidates like to do in their spare time is “go to the pub”.
Richard Nott, website director at, says candidates should avoid discussing religion and politics. “Employers like people who can talk passionately about their own interests as it helps them to get to know you as a person. But we would always advise against sharing your views on these two topics without knowing if the interviewer shares that point of view.”
We asked Nott, Mills and Nik Pratap of Hays Senior Finance for their list of the top things to avoid saying at a job interview:
1 “Sorry I’m late.” It goes without saying that punctuality is key. Your interviewer doesn’t want you to arrive for work 20 minutes late every morning.
2 “What’s your annual leave and sickness policy?” It doesn’t look good if, before you’ve even been hired, you’re planning your absence from the company.
3 “I’ll just take this call.” Mills says a large number of candidates think it is OK to take telephone calls, texts etc during an interview. It isn’t.
4 When asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” never say, “Doing your job.” As much as this might be a genuine answer, Nott says candidates should “try to build a response around the experience they would like to have gained and the level of responsibility they’d like to have, rather than threatening the interviewer’s job.”
5 “My previous employer sucked.” No matter how mind-numbingly boring those roles might have been, “speaking badly of a previous employer is not only unprofessional, but also reflects on your character,” Pratap says. Your new employer will contact your former employer for references following an interview, so it’s never wise to burn your bridges.
6 “You make widgets? I thought you made cricket bats.” Failing to research your prospective employer fully is a big faux pas. “Saying you’ve looked at their website is only marginally better – employers expect far more research,” Mills explains.
7 “Bloody hell.” Never swear in your interview. It can happen, especially if your interviewer is themselves prolific with the profanities, but don’t let them set the standard of the interview and remain professional at all times.
8 “I was very good at sorting out PEBs by using ARCs.” Don’t fall into the industry jargon of your previous employer or assume the interviewer knows anything about your experience, Pratap advises. Instead, speak clearly about your skills and experience to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.
9 “Do I really have to wear that uniform?” Any criticism of staff uniform will go down like a lead balloon. Do you think your interviewer enjoyed wearing that fluorescent green ensemble when they performed your role?
10 When asked, “What do you expect to enjoy most about this role?” never reply with any of the following: the perks, the pay, lunchtimes, my co-workers or the holidays, Nott says., Thu 10 May 2012 09.50 BST

(Source: Guardian)

10 things about the Higgs - #10

#10 - Finding the new particle would be only the beginning.

Just because something looks like the Higgs particle does not mean it is the Higgs particle. If physicists do discover a new particle, they will need to measure its numerous properties before they can determine whether it is the Higgs boson described by the Standard Model of particle physics. Theory predicts in great detail how a Standard Model Higgs particle would interact with other particles. Only after carefully measuring and testing these interactions — like a biologist examining the genetic makeup of a new plant species — would scientists be certain that they had indeed found the Standard Model Higgs boson. A new particle that did not act as expected would give physicists a whole new set of mysteries to explore.

Originally published at by Kathryn Grim.

Illustrations: Sandbox Studio, Chicago

10 things about the Higgs - #9

#9 - Scientists may have first glimpsed the Higgs boson more than a decade ago.

In 2000, CERN’s flagship accelerator, the Large Electron Positron Collider, was scheduled to close after 11 years of successful operation when something curious happened. The LEP experiments began to find signs of something that looked rather like the Higgs particle with a mass around 115 GeV/c^2, about the mass of an iodine atom. Excited scientists convinced CERN management to keep LEP running for six weeks beyond the original shut-down date to see if the observation would grow more convincing with additional data. During the machine’s stay of execution, even more candidate Higgs events appeared. Physicists requested a second extension to see if their observation might blossom into a discovery, but the machine was dismantled to make way for a higher-energy Higgs hunter, the LHC. The latest LHC results, made public in December 2011, indicate that the Higgs particle, if it exists, must have a mass between 115-130 GeV/c^2. The ATLAS and CMS experiments reported intriguing hints of a Higgs boson with a mass in the region of 124-126 GeV.

Originally published at by Kathryn Grim.

Illustrations: Sandbox Studio, Chicago

10 things about the Higgs - #8

#8 - If the Higgs particle exists, it may have relatives.

Many theorists have tried to explain the known particles and their masses without a Higgs boson, but no one has yet come up with a successful model. In fact, a popular theory known as supersymmetry predicts at least five Higgs particles, and others predict many more. It is up to experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe and at the Tevatron collider in the United States – where experiments have concluded, but data are still being analyzed – to discover whether the Higgs boson exists and, if so, whether it is the particle we expected.

Originally published at by Kathryn Grim.

Illustrations: Sandbox Studio, Chicago

10 things about the Higgs - #7

#7 - Standard particle theory will be incomplete even if the Higgs particle is discovered.

The Higgs boson is the last undiscovered particle predicted by the Standard Model, a beautiful mathematical framework physicists use to describe the smallest bits of matter and how they interact. Experimental results have time and again validated the model’s other predictions. But finding the Higgs boson would not close the book on particle physics. While the Standard Model accounts for fundamental forces such as electromagnetism and the strong nuclear force, it cannot make sense of gravity, which is disproportionately weak compared to the other forces. One possible explanation is that we experience only a fraction of the force of gravity because most of it acts in hidden extra dimensions.

Originally published at by Kathryn Grim.

Illustrations: Sandbox Studio, Chicago

10 things about the Higgs - #6

#6 - The nickname “God particle” originated from a book by Nobel laureate Leon Lederman.

Physicist Leon Lederman unwittingly gave the Higgs boson what may be its most-disliked descriptor with the title of his book, The God Particle. Lederman likes to joke that he actually wanted to call the Higgs boson the “goddamn particle” because it’s so darned difficult to find. The nickname makes for attention-grabbing headlines, but it also makes most particle physicists cringe.

Originally published at by Kathryn Grim.

Illustrations: Sandbox Studio, Chicago

10 things about the Higgs - #5

#5 - The term “boson” comes from the name of Indian physicist and mathematician Satyendra Nath Bose.

Particles come in two varieties: bosons and fermions. The Higgs particle falls into the category of bosons, named for a physicist best known for his collaborations in the 1920s with Albert Einstein. Some of the pair’s work resulted in the invention of Bose-Einstein statistics, a way to describe the behavior of a class of particles that now shares Bose’s name. Two bosons with identical properties can be in the same place at the same time, but two fermions cannot. This is why photons, which are bosons, can travel together in concentrated laser beams. But electrons, which are fermions, must stay away from each other, which explains why electrons must reside in separate orbits in atoms. Bose never received a doctorate, nor was he awarded a Nobel Prize for his work, though the Nobel committee recognized other scientists for research related to the concepts he developed.

Originally published at by Kathryn Grim.

Illustrations: Sandbox Studio, Chicago

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