Finding a job these days is more challenging than ever. To gain a competitive edge, you need to arm yourself with inside information about what interviewers want to hear and a clear understanding of how to deliver powerful phrases that will help you land the job.
Most hiring decisions are made at the gut-level, often within the first few minutes of an interview. McGill University study in 1965 found that most interviewers make up their minds to hire someone in the first four minutes of the interview (and recent studies bear no different results). Saying the right words in the right way can turn an interview in your favor.
Key phrases have the power to help you:
- Make a great impression at the crucial opening and close
- Score high on the likability factor
- Add impact to follow-up communications
- Trigger “yes” in the minds of employers
- Negotiate a strong job offer
Letting a prospective employer know that you are familiar with what they do demonstrates real interest in the business. But make sure that you are well versed in the subject: read the company website, understand their offering and know the competition. Also, you should Google the company for recent news to discuss.
Simply say, “After researching your company, I know that I am an excellent candidate for your job because…” and then list some of the reason why through your research you feel like you would be a good fit for the company.
Practice saying, "I've been successful in every phase of my career, and here is where I can demonstrate it... (give one or two examples of past job-related successes)." This is your chance to showcase skills and achievements. Discuss supervisory roles, training or product development that you oversaw, as well as areas where you excel. Talk about challenges you have overcome, problems you have solved, and lessons you have learned that will carry forward.
Say to your prospective employer, “I am a team player.” Companies want individuals who go above and beyond, are prompt, competent and get along well with various personality types. But don’t just say you are a team player – be prepared to give examples of when you were proactive, productive with little supervision and achieved a difficult goal in a group setting.
Applicants who are always looking for opportunities to learn and grow their knowledge base are catnip for employers. Let them know that you have lofty goals so that they will see you as not just an employee, but also a valuable asset. Keep in mind the phrase, “I want to become an expert in this industry."
Tell your employer, “I am highly motivated.” Discuss how your high level of motivation has helped you overcome challenges to accomplish many things, in work and life. A motivated employee is someone that employers can depend upon.
Don’t say anything like, "I'm not sure of... why I took that job/ why I left that job/what I want to do with my life, etc." Rather than being vague or negative about your previous employment, emphasize why the new position attracted your attention, and mention your current or prior job in terms of what skills you have developed that make you right for the position.
Don’t say anything derogatory like, “My previous boss was… a schmuck/moron/incompetent, etc." Prospective employers don’t want to hear you bad-mouth your current or previous employer – it will make them defensive. They will also assume that you don’t get along with people, have a negative outlook and will be difficult to work with.
Never say anything like, "Before we begin our interview, let me ask… how much this job pays/ what are the hours/ vacation time/ benefits, etc." Don't be the first to bring up salary. Mentioning pay, hours or perks sends the message that that you are focused more on the money, and what is in it for you, rather than on what you can bring to the company for everyone’s mutual benefit.
Don’t mention, “I got fired from my last job.” Even if that was the case, those words are loaded against you, no matter what the explanation. You don’t want the interviewer to start focusing on your potential bad qualities and wondering what the other side of the story was. Instead, if you have to say anything, say you did well at the old job but that, ultimately, it wasn’t a good fit.
At the end of the interview, don’t say, “I don’t have any questions.” Not having questions indicates to the interviewer that you are not prepared, engaged or interested in the company or what they do. Instead, ask something like, “What are the traits that your most successful employees have?”
As in most aspects of life, first impressions are important. What you say can and will impact whether or not you land a job. Candidates are hired because of a few little things they do or say, and the rest is justification for or against you.
Most business decisions are made subliminally, with more emotion than logic. While most job candidates think they have to appear “competent” in the interviewing process, the successful ones focus on being liked and remembered, using powerful words and phrases to accomplish this.
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