Hypothetical interview situation

As the title states, this is hypothetical. I have not done this, nor has anyone of my acquaintance, as far as I know. It’s an academic exercise, a gigantic “What if…?”

Now that that’s out of the way.

You are driving to a job interview. You start to cough from a dry throat or some other non-sickness reason, so you chew a piece of gum to silence the cough and soothe the irritant. You arrive for the interview and are ushered to the office. You meet the interviewer, begin the process, and suddenly realize you’re still chewing the gum.

What do you do? Apologize? Explain? Offer the interviewer some gum? Fake a cough into a tissue and dispose of the gum? Run from the room in tears? If you were interviewing someone who came in chewing gum, how would you react?

I know some people consider chewing gum to be a crime against civilization. Others think it’s tacky. Still others probably don’t give it a second thought.

As for my answer, I’m thinking I’d either do a stealth disposal in a tissue or scrap of paper, or, if I knew it had been noticed, I’d apologize and immediately discard it in a tissue.

I’ve never had to interview anyone, but unless they were being loud and disgusting as they chewed or if it interfered with their speaking, I don’t think I’d care.

To answer the hypo: apologize and put the gum in a tissue or something and throw it away.

Although for me personally, I almost never chew gum anyway and the idea of chewing gum for a dry throat is really odd for me. Wouldn’t drinking some water be better?

Anyway, part of my day job is hiring our crop of interns. If a candidate walked in chewing a piece of gum, that would be a negative but not a dealbreaker. If they realized and apologized as they got rid of it, no harm no foul. Although in my experience the kind of person that doesn’t pay attention to small things, like gum chewing or dressing nicely or combing their hair, usually has a bunch of other negatives that make those things irrelevant.

I’ve had this happen- don’t think it was a job interview exactly, but some similar formal situation that came on suddenly. I just tucked the gum between my cheek and gum and refrained from chewing for the necessary time period.

I’ve often found that gum seems to soothe the irritant better than a drink or a lozenge. In fact, what triggered the question was a coughing fit that just hit - the beverage next to me didn’t help, but the piece of Trident did the trick. I try to keep gum in my purse or in the car for just such an event. It’s not always convenient to pull over for a drink, plus with gum, I don’t need to seek out a rest stop later, and that’s often a plus!

I’d just swallow it.

I would just swallow it.

But then it’d be sitting, undigested, in your gut for SEVEN YEARS!!! :eek:

Sorry, I have no self-control.

So this is really another “spit or swallow” question, then. Sneaky!

For various reasons, I don’t chew gum. If I were the interviewer it would only bother me if the gum chewing were noisy or interfered with the candidate’s enunciation. I would rather the gum be kept in their mouth than spit out, though.

Doctor Jackson, I am aghast - AGHAST I SAY - that you would make such an accusation about my perfectly innocent hypothetical thread! You should know by the statement under my user name that I’m nice, dammit!


Last summer, I was in Iceland with my mother - it was a stop on a cruise - and we went to one of the geothermal areas to smell the sulfur and watch the bubbling mud and rising steam. It was much more interesting than it sounds. My daughter teaches 7th grade science and I made a few videos that she could use when they did their geology unit. When I reviewed them later, I was surprised how noisy the popping bubbles were… until I realized that it was me chewing my gum rather vigorously. I’m not usually that clueless.

So the noise was your gum, and the smell was the geothermal. I usually just blame the dog myself.


If I were conducting an interview with someone who was politely chewing gum, I doubt I would even notice. Now, if they were smacking away, that’d be something else.

If I were in that situation, I’d swallow it or tuck it into my gums, or I might forget I was even chewing it.

I chew gum on my way to the interview and almost all the way up to the door – and then swallow it. If I were an interviewer, the candidate chewing during the interview, however quietly, would be a dealbreaker.

Guess I left myself open for that… :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, I can see that. Let me qualify my prior response to say that the folks I currently hire are non-client contact data analysts who generally work from home. As long as I don’t hear smacking when they are on a conference call, I really don’t care if they chew gum or not.

I do a lot of interviewing and trust me, whether or not the applicant is chewing gum is the least of my worries. I’m coping with face-piercings, visible neck tattoos, purple mohawks and Hooters tee-shirts on a daily basis. (In the way of an exposition, I interview people to assign them to field crews who have to live together in tight quarters for an indefinite length of time. I’m trying to assess who goes best with whom.)

If I were hiring for an executive suite position, gum would probably be a deal killer if it was being visibly and audibly chewed. That would probably also apply to any position above the salaried-non-exempt class.

That being said, I have sometimes snuck in a piece of gum before an interview, largely because I get dry mouth when I’m nervous. I would tuck the gum nugget up between my cheek and jaw, though, during the interview itself. I would never dream of chewing gum in an interview.

I’d blow a bubble in the interviewers face. That takes guts and guts are what you need around here.