Career Woman

The 12 things you need to say to ace a job interview


Congratulations, you got invited to a job interview! When there’s a job you really want, this is just the news that you want to hear, but also the news that fills you with dread and terror. Aside from a trip to the dentist, a job interview is the kind of scenario that we all love to hate, full of pressure, expectation and the ability to go terribly wrong. At least it doesn’t involve a drill.

There’s nothing we can do to totally eradicate the anxiety around a job interview, but the one surefire way to make it a less stressful experience is to show up prepared. This means learning everything you can find out about the company and the role, and making sure you have lots of good examples from your own career that you can use to demonstrate why they need to hire you.

All of that is hugely important, but the best research in the world won’t help you if you fall apart the moment it comes to open your mouth and start speaking. What you say at every stage of a job interview is a huge part of how you sell yourself to the people you want to give you a job. So part of your preparation needs to include what you can say to impress them, but don’t worry, here’s some suggestions for you:

Before the interview

The interview may not have technically started when you first meet your interviewers, but whether you’re walking with them from the reception to the interview room or have just been introduced to them in the room itself, there’s still an opportunity for you to make a great first impression on them with the right things to say.

“I was so excited when I learned this position was open” – One of the most important things you can get across to the interviewer at any stage of the interview is how much you want the job. Proving your skills and experience is crucial of course, but everyone they have invited should have those too, so your passion for the job and the company can be something that sets you apart.

“I’ve worked in this field for…” – You would expect to get to answer a question about your suitability for the role in the interview itself, but getting in an elevator pitch early on lets you frame your experience the way you want, as well as establishing you as a great candidate before they’ve even started asking anything.

“I really liked how your company… (give example)” – Showcasing both your dedicated research into the company and your passion for the company, this is a surefire way to impress your interviewers.

During the interview

At this stage you’re at the mercy of the interviewers’ questions, but you can still prepare some things to say that you can drop in when you get the chance:

“Here’s how I can help your company…” – A good way to frame an answer to any question about why they should hire you, focusing on what you will do to make their lives easier helps them to visualize the benefits of working with you.

“I have experience with… (element from the job description)” – When you read their job description, keep an eye out for the elements that they’re looking for which you can use to showcase an example from your career. You could do good examples for all of them in case you’re asked, but have one or two real highlights you can introduce yourself.

“So, what you’re saying is…” – It goes without saying that the interviewers will be listening closely to you, but another way to impress is to make sure that you are showing them that you’re listening to more than just their next question. You can use clarifying questions like this to demonstrate that you’re paying attention and understanding.

After the interview

When they have finished asking their questions, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief, but the hard work isn’t over yet. It’s now time for you to ask them your questions and don’t ever make the mistake of thinking these are optional

“What are your thoughts on me as a candidate?” – Why not get straight to the point and ask if you’ve got any chance of getting this job? It shows them that you’re keen and gives you realistic expectations to take away.

“This job sounds perfect for me because…” – Why not use this time for one last quick pitch to sum up all the reasons you think you’d do a great job for them? You can remind them of all your strengths.

“I want this job” – If you want the job, tell them, as there’s nothing more frustrating than being told afterwards that you didn’t get it because you didn’t seem enthusiastic.

“Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me” – Whether you say it before leaving or in a follow-up email, this kind of politeness goes a long way.

“Something I wanted to mention is…” – There’s bound to be regrets coming out an interview, whether it’s a question you didn’t answer well or something you forgot to say. The follow-up email is your chance to put that right.

“Here’s a link to my…” – You can also include a link to a personal portfolio or an example of your work  that you mentioned. It might not turn a bad interview into a good one but it could turn a good one into a successful one.

So, which of these phrases will you be using in your next interview?

About Beverly Clair'

Beverly Clair is a strategist at Neomam Studios

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