Shawnette Somner
Shawnette Somner

In these very difficult financial times when so many people are out of work, it is imperative that all those applying for a job take with them some essential tools.

I decided to make this personal and discuss the things I wouldn’t like to see or experience if i was the interviewer. Maybe your list of non-nos might match mine. 

I call it the ‘NIL’ — the Not Interested List. If I were the interviewer I would not be interested in having a conversation with someone who cannot communicate clearly and effectively or uses slang. 

I’m not interested in having to view your body parts at the interview or at the job. One’s cleavage, for instance, is private business. The cleavage adorned with tattoos doesn’t make the sight any more pleasant. Neither does tight clothing which would clearly explode from your body if you sneezed.


I’m not interested in hearing a stream of your personal problems. It sends up red flags that you may be a ticking time-bomb in the work place — although I’m likely to provide you with resources where you can get help. On the job, your co-workers shouldn’t be privy to your issues, either.  

For goodness sake, please comb your hair, wash your face, and brush your teeth. This may sound elementary but interviewers I know have wondered why the person sitting in front of them didn’t take the time to do so. Interviewing or showing up to work looking frazzled and unkempt is an automatic turn off. The same could be said about that folded resume you pull from your purse or back pocket.  

A positive attitude is key. I’ve been around long enough to know that a negative attitude can spread through a work environment like a tsunami. In an interview, telling your potential boss what you will and will not do is highly likely to have your name placed in the bin after your departure.  

Behaving in any manner described above is likely to yield only one result: NIL. Notwithstanding that some people do apply for jobs with all the right qualities and get turned down for questionable reasons, one of the classics being, “You’re over-qualified.”  What exactly does that mean?  Stay tuned next week to read about what the potential employer really means by the words he’s really not saying. In the meantime, polish up and put your best foot forward for the best outcome. n

Shawnette Somner is an educator and a mother.  Email: