Prep for Success: What To Say During Your Job Interview

There are many conflicting reports on what to say and what not say during a job interview. Naturally, there is a lot of pressure to make a good impression, but you may be asking yourself, “What’s better, talking too much, or not talking enough?” and other similar questions. If prepping for a successful job interview, makes you anxious, don’t worry! Here is a list of exactly what you should (and more importantly should not) say during your job interview.

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Gratitude is something that should be politely expressed at the beginning and conclusion of the job interview.

What to Talk About in Your Job Interview:

How thankful you are to be there

The company you are interviewing for has chosen you over a myriad of other applicants. Gratitude should be politely expressed at the beginning and conclusion of the job interview. But don’t lay it on too thick! If you fall over yourself thanking them, you might come off as a bit of a sycophant, and that could reflect poorly on you. Think of it like having a nice dinner with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile. Make sure you acknowledge their efforts but don’t make it awkward.

How you can be an asset to the company

If you land a job interview, chances are that you are excited at the prospect of actually getting the job. However! Your potential employer is interviewing you because they want to see how you could benefit the company. It is easy to fall into the trap of talking about how great the job would be for you when you should be talking about how great you would be for the
job. It is like the old saying goes, “Ask not what the company can do for you, ask what you can do for the company!”

Your achievements

Confidence is a precious commodity, but much like gold, there needs to be a balance. Too much, and you will be written off as an arrogant braggart who is more interested in polishing your own ego than contributing to others. Too little, and your interviewer will wonder why they’re wasting their time with someone who isn’t proud of their achievements.

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Try to be professional in your critique of past colleagues, and say things like “I feel they could have done this better” instead of “They were really bad at this”.

What NOT to Talk About in Your Job Interview:

Negative experiences

News flash: Talking smack about your previous company, boss, or co-workers never reflects well on you. Appearing bitter or petty can be damaging, and might be enough to be rejected outright. Try to be professional in your critique of past colleagues, and say things like “I feel they could have done this better” instead of “They were really bad at this”.

Irrelevant topics

It can be tempting to try to connect with your interviewer on a subject that might not be relevant to the subject at hand. Sports, music, local restaurants, these are all things that might be better to bring up during your first week instead of your first impression. Although, if the interviewer broaches the subject, there is no harm in a little banter. Just be careful you don’t say anything like “Oh man, I hate [boss’ favorite football team]” or “I get drunk at [ a : local bar] every Tuesday!”. There are some things that are better left unsaid.

Controversial topics

Talking religion, politics, gun rights, or any other hot-button issue during your first job interview is dangerous territory. Even the most off-hand comment could leave a bad impression and possibly even lead to disqualification. The truth is that some job interviewers feel passionate about certain things that they may decide that you would not be a good “cultural fit,” regardless of your skills. Whatever you believe, it is best to keep the conversation focused on your professional achievements instead of your personal beliefs.

The most stressful thing about applying for a job is the series of hurdles that comes afterward. The job interview is the most crucial hurdle that requires clearing with both grace and charisma. With these tips, you can walk into any job interview with the confidence to impress everyone in the room, including yourself!

Article contributions By: Jordan Eller

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