When you go for an interview, it is normal to feel nervous. Applying for the job so far was easy. You had time to write and recheck your CV and cover letter from the comfort of your home. Now you’re about to sit in front of one or more interviewers, and you can’t take back anything you say. The pressure is real, but don’t despair because help is at hand. Read on to find out what to say in an interview and succeed in getting the job. Here are nine pieces of advice direct from hiring experts.

Focus on your potential

Recruiting experts understand it is impossible to meet a perfect candidate. The recruiters fall short of that hallmark themselves. Therefore, it is important you emphasize on your strengths when you are answering questions at an interview. Fernandez-Araoz has stressed the relevance of always keeping to your strengths. Interviewers are only interested in how your skills can benefit their organizations.

Speak the company’s language

What to say in an interview to convince the recruiter you are a potential team member can be daunting. To convince your interviewer you are ready to take up duties of the position you are applying for, research the organization’s website or literature to familiarize yourself with the words and values it holds dear. Hitting on the main words such as team, leadership, sustainable growth, bias for action and others, stand you out from other candidates vying for the same position. Olivia Ford of Adeptio, explains keying in words like this into your interview answers, covertly indicates to the recruiter you are suitable for the job.

what to say in an interview

Ask relevant questions

Nana Kwabena Yeboah a Senior Professional in Human Resource (SPHR) from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI), USA, explains in his book, What Employers Want in Graduates, the need to ask interviewers the right questions, especially about the organization. Inquiries such as ‘Are there any organizational issues I should be aware of?’ and more of an interpersonal question as ‘What have you enjoyed most about working here?’ allow the interviewer to identify a particular kind of zest from you for the job.

Maintain flexibility

You are likely to encounter an extra number of requirements in your job search endeavors. There may be additional interviews scheduled later in the day, start date or job duties. It is of greatest relevance to maintain flexibility in these situations. The truth is, recruiters find a problematic candidate unsuitable for any position. The job is most likely to take place in a fluctuating work environment. Answers such as ‘sounds good to me’, or ‘that wouldn’t be a problem’ are great pointers to sway interviewers into liking you. Note, though, that your welfare and salary negotiations should not be part of your flexible agreements- that doesn’t mean you are to request an overly high salary.

Compliment difficult questions

It is typical during an interview to be handed difficult questions to answer, which keeps your mind going in every direction. An appropriate statement to begin any answer while thinking about what to say would be a compliment. Niharika of ‘Let’s Talk’ highlighted the best compliment to say is ‘that’s a good question’. In her presentation, she clarifies that these statements and a subsequent pause, give you a good amount of time to think about an appropriate answer. Interviewers hardly punish candidates for conversational pauses. It is the ‘I don’t know’ response that leaves a bad taste in their mouths. So save yourself that answer by complimenting and pausing to think.

Substantiate your claims

what to say in an interview

Similar to focusing on your potential, providing reasonable evidence or explanations to your claims goes a long way into landing that job. For instance, clearly stating whether you were fired or quit your last job indicates trustworthiness for interviewers. Information as that may easily be verified, and you wouldn’t want a Pinocchio moment. Refocus the conversation on the future or better, highlight the positive experiences gained from the past job. Interviewers are trained to detect false flags in a candidate’s presentation so ensure you have planned what to say in an interview with sufficient evidence. What you say only needs to be backed with credible evidence or explanation.

Non-verbal communication

Though interviews are usually carried out with words, some experts would advise what you say in an interview is equally as important as what you do. Research has indicated people form first impressions by 55% body language. Nicole Williams, author of Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success, reiterates the importance of maintaining good non-verbal communication when in an interview. Showing confidence even when you are not sure about your abilities to get the job done, can land you the job. Most interviewers employ strategies to test a candidate’s readiness for the job. You may be surprised to know that these strategies apply non-verbal indicators too.

Plan a strategy

John Lees, author of The Interview Expert: How to Get the Job You Want, teaches candidates to set up an effective strategy for dealing with the interview. He highlights strategies to include: identifying what message you want to convey to the interviewer and applying the SWOT system in answering questions. SWOT is an abbreviation for Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats. This strategy guides what to say in an interview especially when presented with situational questions.

Keep It short and simple

Interviewers have little time to be wound over issues so it is important to take note of what to say in an interview from the get-go. They prefer candidates who go directly to answering their questions. The acronym KISS for (Keep it Short and Simple) is encouraged by Yeboah to remind candidates to stay on track when answering questions.

Succeeding at interviews can be an acquired skill. You might need to go to a few to become confident in them. You will soon know what to say in an interview. Keep reminding yourself to smile and to sound motivated as you give your answers. Focus on the interviewer and don’t let background noises distract you. At certain times, the words might not be there, but it is your expression that will help portray the words you say. Therefore, never forget that when words fail you whenever thinking about what to say in an interview, you will never go wrong with your expression.

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