I thought it might be good to have a thread on the theme of "what not to do in your interviews," where we could share our "here's how I committed a life-altering fuck-up in a job interview" stories.
Here's one of mine: I was once asked a question about what challenges I have faced in my teaching and how I have met those challenges. The answer I was going for had to do with how some of my students are, sadly, not prepared for college-level work, and I have had to develop strategies for getting these people up to speed in a way that will also be valuable to those students who are better prepared. But the answer I gave implied that the main challenge I face is that my students are total dumbasses who suck, and I have dealt with this challenge by treating them as condescendingly as possible. (This is somewhat of an exaggeration. But not that much.) As I was answering this question, I was aware that I was in the process of blowing the interview. I literally had the thought, "because of this answer I am now giving--because of the sentence I am now uttering--I will not get this job." But it was too late; I was already giving the answer. To give a better answer, it seemed to me, I would have had to stop in the middle of what I was saying--in the middle of the then-current sentence--and start over. I considered doing it, but didn't think I could pull it off.
How to avoid this kind of stuff? I don't know, exactly. One thing is to try to anticipate what questions you'll get, and prepare answers to them in advance, and try to get ones that don't make you seem like a racist asshole. Our annual "interview Rehash" has been very helpful to me over the years in this regard. But, for me, anyway, there is no substitute for experience. My interviewing has gotten progressively better over time, as I've gotten more interviews under my belt.
Does anybody have any fuckup stories they wouldn't mind sharing? Does anybody know a better way to get good?