How the language you use can affect job interviews

08 JAN, 2016 Careers James Burt

Language you use can affect job interview

A job interview is always stressful. You have to make sure you dress appropriately, arrive early, and bring along your educational and work credentials to present yourself as the best candidate. But what is often neglected by interviewees is the language that they use during the interview.

What you say can often have a bigger impact on a job interview than anything you wear or bring with you - and the language you use can be the thing that gets you the job you want.


Always parse your speech

Speaking well is always an ongoing process of improvement. If you want to get those great positions, you have to be ready to improve your speaking skills.

Professional editors call restructuring written language to make it more defined “parsing”, so it’s good for you to learn how to parse your own speech. It can be slow, but you can always practice to make your speaking better, or take English conversation classes.

Avoid repeating yourself, using a harsh or bombastic speaking tone, and continually using the same words, such as “and” or “like”. Also, always listen to the whole question before you answer, and make sure your reply is short and articulate.


Speak positively and professionally

Arrogant or negative language has no place in job interviews. Remember that you’re there to showcase yourself in the most positive, professional light possible.

Interviewers want to know what your skills are, but also what you’ve learned from your academic and professional experiences. They also want to see that you’re open minded enough to undertake a multitude of tasks and work with a variety of different people, often in some pressure-fueled situations.

Your interviewer doesn’t need to know what you strongly dislike about your current position, so omit those things and focus on what is good for you as a professional. Speaking about the skills you achieved at your present job and what you want to learn about at the job you are applying for leaves a good impression.


Talk about the company

It’s imperative that you know something about the company you’re interviewing for. With so much information available online or in various publications, there’s no excuse to go into an interview without knowing something about the company’s products, operations, and services.

Again, interviewers will be left with a good impression, because it will show that you have come to the interview prepared, knowing about the company and why you’re interested in working for it.

It’s okay to be nervous in an interview, but it helps if you practice speaking about the company in private or rehearse your speaking skills in advance. This way, you can address any prospective questions that your interviewer might have.


Using ‘better’ language

It’s easy to pick out what words and phrases you should never use or to enforce speaking positively. But another good habit for interviewees is learning how to rephrase your words to convey more honest, articulate answers.

Sales professionals often look for this language to make their product more appealing. For example, rather than saying, “I’m no good at using Microsoft Excel!”, reword it into a more appealing phrase such as: “I’m improving my Microsoft Excel skills.”

On the other hand, rather than saying “I never make errors in my work,” it’s better to say “I’m confident that my strengths are in my day-to-day duties.” This sort of wording retains a professional appearance on your part and shows your interviewer that you have the confidence to undertake new professional challenges. 

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