The right and wrong focuses in your interviewing experiences

08.15.2013


The right and wrong focuses in your interviewing experiences
The right and wrong focuses in your interviewing experiences.

Interviewing can seem like an inexact science, but concentration on a few vital topics can make all the difference in landing the job. By knowing the correct ways to focus the conversation, while avoiding a few key trip-ups, your efforts to find a job will be more successful than you'll expect.

Keeping track of what your language says about you can be an important insight into appearing professional, according to PR News. Some overused words and terms can be illuminating for hiring managers, but knowing what they are can instead make you appear to be a fantastic potential hire. The most overused term heard in job interviews is simple to avoid - saying "um" between your words can reveal your nervousness or unpreparedness. Instead of hemming and hawing, though, simply pause for a few seconds before you answer any questions, giving yourself enough time to compose thoughts and build a proper answer.

Overly speaking in the first person, emphasizing "I" in conversation, won't look good either - as the old adage says, there's no I in team. Speak from a wider perspective, because while it's impossible not to say your qualifications the whole time, emphasizing your skills in working with others will vastly improve how you appear to a potential boss. At the same time, overly emphasizing being a "people person" is all too common a phrase for many managers. Instead, using anecdotes about teamwork or customer assistance can avoid the cliché while exposing more of your communicative abilities.

Avoid repetition
Other phrases that are heard nonstop in the typical interview include claiming skills at multitasking, creativity, being a team player and being hardworking. In the modern world, technology has made everyone a multitasker - just saying the word isn't enough anymore. Back up the word with examples if you're going to use it. As well, there's no way to prove your creativity just by saying the word - examples of projects or designs you've created will bode much better. Being a team player is the opposite of overusing the first person - it's been heard before and doesn't break you from the mold. Just as with the other overused terms, show it, don't tell it. As for being a hard worker, your former bosses can provide more evidence than you can - spotless references should trump proclamations about yourself.

Of course, there's almost no way to avoid another of the big problems. Like "um," but an even more targeted cliché for interviews, is overuse of the word "like." Most commonly recognized as slang from younger generations, using "like" will make your boss question your maturity in some ways - it's better to pause and regroup instead of overusing the phrase.

Do your research
It's definitely a good idea to have a few questions lined up for the end of the interview, commonly a question-and-answer period between you and your potential employer. However, do some advance research into the company before you walk in the door - there's no quicker way to end an interview poorly than asking a question that's answered on their website or other literature, according to CBS MoneyWatch. Questions about the work environment or future expectations for performance will sound a lot better than a generalized query about company history or other easily-Googlable information.

Other questions that might want to be left alone are those that might reflect poorly upon your work ethic and attitude, such as telecommuting - unless the office is a very long commute and you have few other options. Avoiding discussions of pay or benefits, which are often advertised or will be made known if you make it through interviewing, or changing roles unless you can frame it in the guise of being a fast climber through the company, is also for the best.

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