Friday, September 12, 2008

Interview Techniques: The Words Out of Your Mouth Can Lose the Job for You

Yesterday I put a blog post on that began this way after the headline “Using Appropriate Language During a College Application Interview”:

The three words “like” and “you know” (along with the annoying “um” and “well”) used liberally throughout your conversations may not bother your friends. Yet be assured that a person interviewing you will note the immature and/or annoying language. Other words that bother interviewers include dude, hey, stuff, whatever. And, of course, you should use proper English and not street or slang or colloquial English.

In an email exchange with one of the CollegeFinder people this is what I received:

That post also applies well to interviews! You wouldn’t believe how many just out of college students we interview here who use the words or worse!

Okay, now you’ve heard this warning directly from the mouth of an employer (as opposed to my harping on this subject). And if you take these words to heart, you could have a giant advantage over other job candidates.

If you’re not aware of how you speak (whether you continually use the words “like” and “you know” and whether you use slang), record yourself practicing an interview with a friend. Then listen to the recording.

If the above warning applies to you, take two immediate steps to correct these problems. First, try consciously even when speaking to friends to use proper English and NOT to constantly use the words “like” and “you know.”

Second, practice answering interview questions with a friend over and over again until you eliminate the problems. Record each practice interview to check your own progress.

Any questions about what might or might not be appropriate to say? Leave questions in the comments section below.

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