1.800.854.0581 --- 1.800.218.1164 --- Utilizing Technology to Drive Business ResultsThe NCS Group

The Golden Rules of Interviewing

There are no hard and fast rules to guarantee that you will always get the job after an interview. However, there are a couple of rules that if broken, will almost always move you to the bottom of the interviewer's list of candidates. As with most rules, use your own common sense and ALWAYS be honest when answering questions.

Rule #1:   Do not say anything negative, about anything. If you can't say something positive, don't say anything at all.

Human nature, whether for the better or worse, is to base much of our feelings or impressions about someone's attitude and personality on very little information. The adage, "you only have one chance to make a first impression", is especially true on a job interview. Whether on a telephone, or in person, the interviewer is making critical judgments about your personality, attitude and qualifications based on a very short conversation.

ANY negative comments or remarks about a previous employer or job can be misinterpreted by an interviewer to mean that you might be difficult to get along with. A bad experience or a pessimistic observation might cause the interviewer to think that you have a bad attitude or are sometimes difficult to get along with. While almost everyone has at one time had a bad or negative experience in an employment situation, a job interview is not the place to "vent" your feelings.

You might finish the interview feeling vindicated, but chances are, you won't be hired for the position.

Rule #2:  Your qualifications will get your foot in the door; your attitude will get you the job.

This rule ties closely to Rule #1, but the importance of a positive attitude cannot be over-stressed in an interviewing situation. Rather than focus on what constitutes a bad attitude, here are some examples that will show you have a positive attitude.

  • A "Can-do" attitude. Rather than half-empty, view the cup as half full.
  • A Mentor. Someone who has a genuine care for the development and well being of their fellow team members.
  • Be excited about the future and your career aspirations. People love to be around happy and motivated co-workers.
  • A team player who voluntarily jumps in when "the cart is in the ditch" to do whatever it takes to get a problem solved.
Not sure if you're coming across as someone who has a positive attitude? Smile when you talk (even on the phone), it really makes a difference!

Rule #3:  Don't bring up compensation until the interviewer does.

Granted, in just about everybody's mind the question, "how much does this job pay?" is of primary importance. You know it, I know it, and the interviewer knows it; but don't ask.

If you are working through NCS, for a contract position, the issue should not be brought up with the interviewer at any time. Hourly rate information for contracting positions should ALWAYS be negotiated with your NCS account executive BEFORE you have an interview.

If you are interviewing for a permanent position through NCS, your salary requirements were presented with your resume to the company. In other words, the interviewer already knows how much money you are looking for, and the manager wouldn't be talking with you if it was out of their budget range.

If you bring up the "compensation" subject, it could (and often does) signal a red-flag to the interviewer that you are making a career move primarily for more money. No matter how poorly you are being paid on your current job, this type of motivation is not what excites a prospective employer. In addition to great skills and a positive attitude, they are also looking for loyalty. Plus, if you are underpaid, it could even signal that for some reason, your current employer thinks your skills aren't "up to par".

If money appears to be your primary motivation for making a job change, the interviewer will probably also be concerned that you will be leaving their firm as soon as a better offer comes around. In short, never bring up salary or compensation in any interview situation until the interviewer brings the subject up first.

Instead of focusing on $$ as a primary motivation for a job change, concentrate on areas such as better opportunities for advancement, more challenging position, or the opportunity of joining a firm with a great industry reputation.