This is especially important when you get to the final interview stage. Once the employer gets down to their short list of potential candidates, everyone they’re considering is qualified to handle the job. Who is the best fit for the team? Who seems more prepared for the role than the others? Who can we see being most successful?
In other words, it’s the intangibles that will separate you from the competition. Consider all of these factors as you get yourself prepared:
Minimize the use of personal pronouns. We know, this job interview is all about you, the candidate, but that doesn’t mean every response has to begin with “MY experience has shown…” or “I’M the right person for the job because…”. Instead, find ways to demonstrate that you understand exactly what issues need to be addressed, or what it takes to be successful in the role. Try talking in more general terms about all the qualities that an ideal candidate will bring to the table, or how success can be measured. Then at that point you can move on to “…and that’s why I’m perfectly suited for this role, because I bring all those qualities and more, including…”.
Be informal. Because job candidates want to be perceived as PROFESSIONAL, they typically play it safe with their delivery rather than risk sounding UN-professional. Unfortunately, when you go into an interview trying hard to be formal and controlled, the result is almost always a dry, boring delivery style. This is especially true if your usual style is more casual and relaxed. To sound more genuine, pretend that the interviewer is someone you know well, and speak with them just like you would with a good friend or close family member.
Use contractions to sound conversational. Because this is a “formal” interview, people too often use formal language, almost as if they’re reading an article instead of having a conversation. To help keep it sounding real, don’t forget to use contractions. In place of saying “What I would do when confronted with that situation is…”, try “Here’s how I’d handle that situation.”
Use confident language. Avoid qualifiers that can betray your confidence. Keep away from phrases such as “I think,” “I would,” “I feel” or “this might.” When appropriate, replace them with stronger phrases such as “I’m confident that,” “this will” and “I know.” This takes practice since it tends to feel as if you’re being cocky and over-confident. Like we do with clients, find someone who will repeat your qualifiers back when they hear them—“You think??” “It might??”
All of these skills take practice, so work on them during conversations at work and at home. By exercising your “confidence muscles” as part of a daily workout, they’ll help you perform at your best when under pressure.
Now get to work!