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Top 10 Rules of Interviewing

Updated on September 28, 2020
LouCannon profile image

Writer and Photographer - Life is there for experiencing, which I live each and every day to do!

Be free to take the next step in life


Job Seeking 101

So you are going after a new employment position? Lets look at some very simple do and don't and no nonsense pointers for your interview -- before you are pointed to the door after a bad first meeting, without so much as a change at the job!

Over the last couple of decades (please don't age me!) I have been interviewing, hiring and (sadly) firing staff. As an employer; I needed to quit wasting my time and had to really learn to seek out the right candidates right at the interview table.

Firstly: to have a successful employee you must have an outstanding employer. They go hand in hand, which means the employer also knows that they have to start with a staff member who has potential. Often finding that the best matches for me, were to seek out staff who were willing to climb the ladder with my company.

Do you have what it takes to be an asset to a potential employer? The right personality, the experience, drive and skills to back up to why you want to be employed in the industry you are interested in applying for? Yes? Great! No? Willing to upgrade your skills to get to the required level? Fantastic!

A few blunt word about what I was looking for in an employee:

In interviews I would short list individuals who are submissive, yet driven, smart, hardworking and had the potential to be loyal to their potential, future position - a bit of a mixed bucket I know... why? Submissive employees will do the job without challenging authority. Driven employees will take the business to the next level. Smart employees are known to come forward when they need to... and hardworking and loyal? That is a given.

Remember: When you are job hunting; you also have the right to 'interview' your future boss (but please do it tactfully). It has to be the right fit for both parties - a good employer will respect this.

Don't just look for a job, look for a good employer too!

As an future employee on the hunt, you are not just looking for a job, you also need to be looking for the right employer! So, as an employer, just what do I give my employees, other than a pay cheque??? Why everything that I was seeking out in them. As an employer I promise to be submissive: to watch what they are capable of. Driven: so everyone can benefit. Hardworking to get the job done and loyal to the company and the people making it a success! Everything that I ask of my employees I also promise to deliver! Beyond that; I always insured that I was attentive to the interactions of my employees; open to teaching, available for discussions, there to help when they needed a hand and ready and willing to go to bat for them under any circumstances.

In order to succeed I need to know that I have the right people working right along with me. A good interview process gives future employers about the 'whole package' that you are offering as a potential employee... so lets get to the grit of what outstanding employers are seeking in a great employee interview!

Golden Rule #1

#1 -- Be Outstandingly Early

What do we mean by 'be outstandingly early'? Well for starters do not be late. Even by one second! You may as well be singing 'take this job and shove it' as you are walking through the door!

A couple minutes early? That's almost like boarding on being late! -- Now to make an impression the 'Golden Rule for Interviewing #1' implies that you are approximately 5 to 10 minutes early. This will show future employers that you are excited, ready and willing to be there. Plus, it will give you time to swallow down any nerves that may be surfacing and also (very importantly) get a feel for the environment in which you hope to work for.

Tip: Wear a watch! Yes, that thing that you strap to your wrist!! Sure they are outdated -- but they also show dedication to time management... something that EVERY employer on the face of the planet is seeking in an employee!

Golden Rule #2

#2 -- Make your first visual impression count!

So you walked through the door ten minutes early... so what does this look like to the employer? How did you present? This is where the entire visual package really counts!

  • Hair: Ensure that it is neat, tidy and no fuss!
  • Skin: Keep it scrubbed clean people! An unwashed face is a sign of poor hygiene!
  • Cell phone: KEEP IT PUT AWAY and TURNED OFF
  • Clothes: Make sure that the color of attire that you chose is compliment to your skin tone... don't pick a color that will wash you out and makes you appear tired. Try and dress like you already have the job; not like a slob and absolutely not like you are on your way to the prom. I had people show up in holey sweat pants, NOT a good first impression.
  • Do not, under any circumstance, ever, and I mean EVER walk into an interview smelling anything other than clean and fresh! Body odor, a liquor store or overly strong of ANYTHING... No, no and NO
  • Do not chew gum, or be sucking on candies - it is just not professional

Tip: Be sure that you are dressed for the part by strolling by the establishment where you will be interviewing earlier in the week and see what other employees are wearing! It will help you dress for the part!

Golden Rule #3

#3 -- Grab their attention with your first interaction

This is easy to say and easy to accomplish! -- If at all possible accomplish all of the below with-in the thirty seconds!

  1. Clearly, formally introduce yourself
  2. Make eye contact -- but do not stare your interviewers down
  3. Verbalize that that you are glad to be there -- for the opportunity
  4. Offer a hand shake

Tip: Find out the names of the people you will be interviewing with and memorize them!

Golden Rule #4

#4 -- Entering into the interview

So you have walked through the door, made your first visual and verbal impressions and now you are going into the hot seat -- so to say. Just remember, if they weren't interested in you, you would have never gotten your big toe through the door! So keep that thought in the back of your mind if nerves are proving to be an issue for you....

That and following a few simple do's and don'ts:

  • Do not sit down before your future employer(s) do
  • Do not go overboard with 'thanks' -- you do not want to appear to be begging for the position
  • Bringing a day planner in with you, quietly set to the side will show a little extra professionalism -- plus, if they want to schedule you in again you can jot it straight into your external brain (yes I am talking about your day planner!)

Golden Rule #5

#5 -- During your interview NEVER

  • Interrupt when your interviews are speaking
  • Slouch
  • Let your eyes wonder around the room
  • Turn the conversation off topic

Let them know you are driven and ready to work


Golden Rule #6

#6 -- During your interview ALWAYS:

  • Answer all questions -- but don't fake it! It is more than ok to be honest about not knowing the answer to a question -- as long as you are willing to find it out
  • Be attentive to your speaker
  • Ask questions

At the end of interviewing I always ask 'Do you have any questions for me?' - if they say no, the odds that they will get the job are close to none. I want a person who is striving to know more.

Golden Rule #7

#7 -- Conversation and questions

Do not allow your self to stray off topic, or be a know it all...

Employers want employees that have great potential, someone that they can train with minimal effort, for the position that they have already carved out. They do not want someone waltzing in acting like they know everything! You don't, unless you have already been employed for that boss, for that exact position in the past.

TIP: Try and keep conversation to a respectful and polite minimum -- most employers do not want a chatter box clogging up the airwaves! We don't need your life story and what your shoe size is.

Golden Rule #8

#8 -- Do you have any questions??

This is often a question that most interviewers will ask potential employees. My suggestion? Have a question or two to ask ready to ask! Asking questions will let the employer know that your are interested in what is going on -- and it will keep the conversation going.

Good examples of questions to ask are:

  • "I am seeking a position where I can utilize my skills as well as acquire additional knowledge -- would there be opportunities to learn new skills with this position?" (Shows the interviewer that you are in it for the long run!)
  • "When I commit to an employer I fully stand behind the goal of the company, how would you describe the company's goal?"

Golden Rule #9

#9 -- Make your exit as impressive as your entry!

When the interview has concluded try and incorporate some of these exiting touches into your farewell:

  • Shake the hands of those who have interviewed you
  • If your interviewer(s) are walking you out -- open the door for them and let them go through the door first
  • Let them know that you hope to hear from them
  • Let them know that you are pleased for the opportunity to interview for the position
  • Thank them for their time (never, ever forget this one)

Take each moment, each opportunity and go with it!


Golden Rule #10

#10 -- Formalize your thank you note

Quite often employers will know right after they have concluded their interviews who they are planning to hire. More often than not they have to stretch the interviews out over the course of a couple days to a couple of weeks; so if you send a "thank you for taking the time to interview me" note ASAP (even the same day) -- quoting a couple of interesting facts that you learned about the company priority, later that day or early the next day. Yes, you will pay mailing fees that can be painful... but I am sure not getting the job would hurt even more!

Looking forward...

Do you think that using any of the above tips will help seal the deal for a new employment position?

See results

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2014 Lou Cannon


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