We're often asked for advice on how to answer interview questions well.
We tell candidates that the way they answer job interview questions is as important as what they actually say. Many don't realise this until it's pointed out to them.
We've covered answering interview questions a little already but we found a great article on how to speak in job interviews which we wanted to share with you too.
Here it is.
You may look good on paper but do you sound as good as your resume looks? Careless speech habits can keep you from getting that plum job.
By Diane DiResta
Companies seek job candidates who are well-spoken and articulate and agencies won't represent a job candidate if they don't match the client's profile.
According to Lori Zelman, Vice President of Human Resources at Strategic Workforce Solutions in New York City, "The people most highly sought after are the ones who are succinct in the explanation of their work experience."
Here are some of the biggest speech habits that can create a negative impression when you answer job interview questions.
Non-words -- Filler words such as "um", "ah", "you know", "okay", or "like", tell the job interviewer you are not prepared. A better strategy is to pause and breathe. Think before you speak. Everybody utters an occasional "um" but don't start every sentence with a non-word.
Uptalk -- A singsong or rising inflection at the end of every sentence creates a tentative impression. It sounds as if the candidate is asking a question instead of making a statement. To speak with conviction, bring your intonation down at the end of a sentence.
Grammatical Errors -- The interviewer may question your education level when you use incorrect grammar or slang. Expression such as "ain't", "She don't", "He should've went", "Me and my friend", "So I goes to him", are not appropriate for a job interview. Be sure that you speak in complete sentences and that the tenses agree. The job interview is not the venue for regionalisms of extreme informality.
Sloppy Speech -- This is incorrect pronunciation as in the example "aks" for "ask", "ath a lete" for "athlete", "wif" for "with", "dree" for "three". Slurring words together or dropping off the ending of words will impair the clarity of the message. To avoid slurring and to increase understanding, speak more slowly during your job interview. Make a list of commonly mispronounced words and practice saying them into a tape recorder before the interview.
Speed Talking -- Speed talkers are perceived as nervous. While everybody feels a little anxiety during a job interview, you don't want your information to fly by like a speeding bullet. A rapid speaking rate is difficult to follow. To avoid rushing, do some breathing exercises before the interview to slow down your racing heart. Listen to the interview question and count two beats in your head before answering. At the end of your sentence, count two beats again before continuing. Pausing is an effective communication technique. Don't be afraid of silence. The interviewer needs a few seconds to process what you just said.
Weak Speak -- These are wimpy words that modify or water down your conviction. The end result is that it weakens your position. When a conversation is peppered with words like "hopefully", "perhaps", "I feel", "I wish", "I'll try", "if", "kind of", "sort of", the message being conveyed is a lack of confidence. Take a stand by using power words such as "I'm confident that", "My track record shows", "I take the position that", "I recommend", "My goal is..". The language you use gives the interviewer insight into your level of confidence and conviction so bear this in mind as you consider how to answer interview questions.
You don't have to study elocution to learn how to answer interview questions. Simply slow down, take time to pronounce all the syllables, and leave the slang at home.
Diane DiResta, President of DiResta Communications, Inc. is an International speaker, coach, and author of Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch, and Pizzazz.
We hope Diane's advice helps you as you think about how to answer interview questions.