Unless you’ve been living on someone’s couch—or maybe because you have been—you’ve heard of Cards Against Humanity, the fill-in-the-blank game with a dark twist.

Think Apples to Apples for people with a crude, rude, socially unacceptable sense of humor.

While it’s anything but HR-friendly, Cards Against Humanity can teach you how to move through your next job hunt like a champion. The “party game for horrible people” has some legit job hunt wisdom to offer its raving fans.


1. You’ve Got to Read Minds

Cards Against Humanity is all about getting your friends to choose the cards you play as the best of the bunch. To win the game, it is essential that you understand the sense of humor of the group you’re playing with.

You have to climb inside their heads.

Job interviews are no different from a hand of Cards Against Humanity. Well, that’s not entirely true—I’d caution against bringing up Hot Pockets®, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or the Care Bear Stare during your next interview—but the goal of finding common ground and showing that you “get it” remains the same.

Do your research: Learn about your interviewer and the goals of his team. Then, you’ll be able to anticipate your interviewer’s perspective and the intent behind his questions. Reading his mind is the key to presenting yourself as a true cultural fit and rocking an interview.


2. Playing it Safe Is Stupid

Predictable answers are boring! Straightforward logic rarely wins a hand of Cards Against Humanity. For example, if you completed the phrase “____: kid tested, mother approved” with the card “Kix Cereal,” you would lose the hand. Why? Because, you didn’t challenge a norm. Instead, you played it safe.

“Spectacular abs: kid tested, mother approved.” Now, there’s a mash-up. It’s unexpected, and it paints a picture you cannot forget.

The lesson here? Calculated risks get you remembered.

Let’s take it back to the interview: Polished originality will set you apart from other candidates. Dare to answer questions with creative insight. Be clever (just not too bizarre). You want your authentic character to appeal to your interviewer in a memorable, yet non-crazy kind of way.


3. Forget About “Sure Things”

Dang! You were confident that “Ryan Gosling riding in on a white horse” would win the hand, but then someone played “Morgan Freeman’s voice,” and it was all over.

Your card was pretty good, but not the best.

Sure things don’t exist in Cards Against Humanity, and similarly, a job opportunity is never “in the bag.” It doesn’t matter how smooth the hiring process seemed to be. Sometimes, another candidate is just a better fit. It’s as simple as that.

Never stop interviewing or applying for other jobs after completing a great interview. Keep that momentum going, because you might need it! Your search should only end when you officially accept a job offer.


4. Get Over It

Dealing with a dud card is no fun. They never win. Take the card “Übermensch” for example—next to no one understands this card, but people cut their losses and play it anyway so that they can add new, potentially better cards to their hand.

Ever have a “meh” interview?

Cut your losses and get over it! Continue navigating the waters until the right fit comes along, and don’t let rejection get you down. So, maybe you didn’t land that dream gig. So what? Stay open-minded and always make room for the next step. Your career will thank you.


5. Seriously, Move On

Cards Against Humanity is always fun. Regardless of whether your cards are picked (or the consequences the game might have on your immortal soul), you get to laugh at and applaud the snark of others.

You win, even when you lose.

Here’s a shocker: The same is true of any job hunt. Hiring managers make tough calls—it’s just like choosing between equally hilarious cards. So how do you win, even when you are not the one selected for a role? Send thank-you notes and celebrate the accomplishments of your competitors with grace, should you be acquainted with them. In both cases, you never know when you might see these people again.

They’re in your network.

And again, unless you’re a total couch-crasher, you know that networking is a must in today’s job market. Think of every interview as a networking opportunity, because that’s what they are, like it or not. Moreover, continue to get yourself out there in unexpected ways—maybe even expand your circle by attending a Cards Against Humanity Meetup.

Because who wouldn’t love a “horrible person” as her next boss?


Photo courtesy of Zlatko Unger.