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Don't Bomb the Interview: Job Tips for Terrorists

June 10, 2013

If you find yourself changing careers, out on the streets looking for a new job, you probably will learn what other job seekers have discovered: it is a cruel and ugly world out there.

And, it is especially difficult if you have not looked for a job in several years. That is particularly true for the 166 terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Make that the 166 individuals detained as terrorists.

Many of those detainees went on a hunger strike a few months ago to protest their living conditions and the fact that some of them have been in Gitmo for about a dozen years, still awaiting formal charges.

A hunger strike, however, may not be a totally bad thing for someone looking for gainful employment in a new career. Come on, be honest. How many of you have had to buy some new clothes because the old ones are just a tad small around the waist? Yeah, I thought so.

Gitmo authorities frown on crash diets, though. Vomiting and loss of consciousness can pretty much put a damper on any activities planned for the group.

But that is not to say Uncle Sam is uncaring when it comes to the welfare and future of his special guests. In fact, the folks who run Gitmo are just as eager to see each and every one of the 166 detainees succeed while on the island and in their life after, which is not to be confused with their afterlife.

Joint Task Force Guantanamo provides a variety of social, intellectual, and instructional activities . These include contests like soccer and board games; intellectual stimulation opportunities like books, electronic games, and satellite television; and courses in interpersonal communication, resume writing, and job interviewing.

That last group sounds like a pretty good deal for anyone putting a toe into the job waters. And from the looks of the photos on the JTF-GTMO Web page, there is plenty of water for everyone.

Having recently been on the streets looking for work, I can tell you that the idea of free courses covering interpersonal communication, resume writing, and job interviewing is a pretty good deal. And, the 166 detainees did not even have to go on a hunger strike to get them. The American taxpayers cover the cost. An even better deal.

Based on my job-hunting experience, I have a few suggestions to offer any of the 166 detainees thinking about a career outside of global jihad, which is not to say they were ever terrorists.

Updating that resume has to be the top priority. No matter if you answer a newspaper ad or apply online, you will always have to supply a current resume or curriculum vitae. You may want to bullet your career goals right at the top. And by bullet, I do not mean anything measured in calibers.

"To get ahead in the organization," is a good one.

"To behead someone in the organization," is not so good.

Dressing appropriately for the interview should go without saying, but even new college graduates sometimes show up for interviews dressed like they are getting ready to hook up with a stranger at a bar. That first impression may be the difference between landing the job or landing back on the island.

A nice suit with a vest is good. A nice suit with a suicide bomb vest, not so good.

Interview questions will be tricky, especially for someone re-entering the job market. Do not answer quickly; think about how you want to phrase your response. Keep in mind that most job interviews have the same questions, so coming up with a good, stock answer will really help.

How would you answer a question that asked for your beginning and ending levels of pay at your last job? Only you would know the answers, but you should refrain from saying that you consider being serviced by 40 virgins to be your ultimate reward, even if it is.

If asked about the most important lesson you learned from your last job, say that you learned to give everyone a second chance. They will then ask about your greatest mistake. Do not say that you used the wrong timing device on your improvised exploding device.

And the two things you will always be asked to supply are your biggest accomplishments and failures.

Increasing recruitment into the cause is always a safe answer.

Getting caught and sent to Gitmo for trying to kill American infidels is not.

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Copyright ©2013 John David Powell

John David Powell writes his Lone Star Award-winning columns from Shadey Hill Ranch in Texas. His email address is johndavidpowell@yahoo.com.