Goldilocks Method of Interviewing

Written by on June 23, 2014 in Blog, Careers, Interviews with 0 Comments

Be Perfect On Your Next Interview—Use The Goldilocks Method

I realize this sounds ridiculous, but when you give it thought, a large part of the interview process is about avoiding mistakes.

  • Yes, you have to show them you have the experience to do the job.
  • Yes, you have to be able to answer their questions about your background.
  • And yes, you need to have references that will support your candidacy, not like some of the ones we talked about here.

At the same time, you have to avoid mistakes or doing things that make you look like an ass. The way to do that is to use the…

Goldilocks Method of Interviewing

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Goldilocks. She’s the one who ate the bears’ porridge. But what does that story have to do with interviewing?

Goldilocks quest was simple—find a bowl of porridge whose temperature was just right.
Interviewers want everything to be just right, which means you have to be on your best behavior all day. And you have to pay attention to what is too much or too little. Let’s look at a few scenarios.

watch to demonstrate how to be on time for interviewTiming

Punctuality is one of the big sticking points for many companies. Forget that they have an entire day planned around your interview. Forget that they have other appointments that will be affected if you are late. Companies like to see that you can be counted on to be there on time.


  • You don’t want to arrive too early—and you certainly don’t want to be late.

Responding to Questions

Don’t talk too much.
This saying should be don’t ramble. ““Don’t talk too much”” is a subjective statement. Think of Goldilocks again. The porridge was either too hot, too cold, or just right. Talking in an interview is similar. You don’t want to talk too much or too little. You want your answers to be just right.

  • Don’t talk too much, or go off on tangents—but provide enough information to satisfy their questions.

Body Language

You need to look the interviewer in the eye.
Another unfortunate truth. You definitely should be conscious of this and make sure you establish eye contact. Don’t stare them down as if you’re trying to hypnotize them, but do make eye contact, especially when you’re responding to a serious question and when they are speaking. You don’t want them to get the impression that you’re not interested in what they’re saying. For other forms of body language…

  • Don’t be too animated—and don’t be rigid.

The Dreaded Handshake

Believe it or not, some people still judge a person based on primitive customs. So when it comes to the handshake, pay close attention.

  • Don’t crush the interviewer’s hand—and don’t be a dead fish.

In this day and age, you wouldn’t think a handshake would mean much—but it does. Back in the old days, when the Visigoths and Romans fought wars, it was imperative to have a crushing grip meant to instill fear and respect into the enemy. Unfortunately, some candidates still think we’re back in those days.

I know a lady in HR—let’s call her Rose. She has said that many times, male candidates damn near crush her bones when they shake her hand, and it’s usually the bigger men who squeeze the hardest, as if they have something to prove.

Trust me, gentlemen, you don’t need to show how strong you are. A respectable, firm handshake is all you need. The perfect handshake is one that is not too rough and not too wimpy. I like to call it the Goldilocks handshake: it’s just right, and it fits perfectly with the Goldilocks method of interviewing.

I know you’re laughing now, especially you guys. But trust me, on the day of your interview, when you walk up to shake hands with someone and think…Goldilocks…you won’t mess up. You might laugh, but you won’t shake anyone’s hand too hard or too wimpy. You’ll do it just right.

Bottom Line

If you made it through the day without making mistakes, the decision on which candidate receives the job offer will come down to who has the best, or most appropriate, experience. No matter which way it goes, you can feel good knowing you did all you could by using the Goldilocks method.

There is another way to categorize this method. I call it the No Mistakes way.

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Jim (Giacomo) Giammatteo is a headhunter who writes resumes and cover letters. He is also the author of No Mistakes Resumes, and No Mistakes Interviews. He also writes gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family.

He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends.”

photo credit: violscraper via photopin cc

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About the Author

About the Author: When I’m not headhunting, or writing, I help my wife take care of our animal sanctuary. At last count we had 45 animals—11 dogs, 1 horse, 6 cats, and 26 pigs. Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar named Dennis who takes walks with me every day and happens to also be my best buddy. For information on my mystery/suspense books, go to .

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