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The Importance of Language at Interview

Written by Emma Burbidge Posted in Interviews, Careers

The Importance of Language at Interview

You may not think it, but language is very important in interview. From the language you use in the interview, to the image you project through your body language, here we will explore why language is important for interview and give you advice on using it effectively.

Things not to Say in a Job Interview

How much does this job pay? You don’t want to give the interviewer the impression that you are only interested in the salary. This is something you can ask or negotiate at a second interview if there is one, or when the offer of a job has been made.

My previous boss/ my teacher was incompetent/ a jerk/ an idiot. Interviewers hearing this may assume you are difficult to manage or may go bad-mouthing them in the future.

When asked ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ respond: ‘I’ll have your job’. While confidence is a good thing, cockiness will not endear you to employers.

I hate my job/ school. Instead, talk about how the new role presents better opportunities.

I don’t have any weaknesses. Everyone has a weakness, the key with this question is to say how you have overcome this weakness or use an example that is not important for the role you are applying for.

Why is your profit less than XYZ? Avoid asking accusatory questions. However, do ask plenty of questions about the company you are applying for as this can show you are interested.

How much holiday would I get? You don’t want to give your interviewer the impression that you don’t have a strong work ethic.

You’ll regret it if you don’t hire me, I’m the most qualified. How can you possibly know this? Overconfidence is also such a turn-off for employers

I don’t have any questions for you. You want the employer to know that you are inquisitive and interested in their company, and will ask questions when you need to in a work situation. Therefore, have at least one question prepared which you can ask the interviewer about the company or role you are applying for.

Body Language

Using good body language in an interview is very important as non-verbal communication accounts for over 90% of the message you are sending to the interviewer.

  1. Sit properly. Body Language experts recommend sitting upright in a relaxed fashion and leaning slightly forward about 10 to 15 degrees towards the interviewer. Sitting in this fashion lets the interviewer know that you are interested and involved in the conversation taking place
  2. Hands. These should be placed on your lap or table if there is one, clasped loosely in a relaxed way
  3. Avoid crossing your arms. This is an interview no-no as it is very defensive and sends the message that you may not agree or understand what the interviewer is saying
  4. Place both feet on the floor. This pose is the most professional, while jiggling or moving the legs creates an irritating distraction and indicates nervousness
  5. Maintain direct eye contact. Keeping direct eye contact with the interviewer shows that you are listening and interested in what they have to say. Looking around can suggest dishonesty, while looking down gives the impression of low self-esteem
  6. Relax your mouth. Moving your lips unnecessarily can suggest disapproval with what is being said
  7. Position your head. Keeping your head straight will help you look self-assured and authoritative, helping the interviewer to take you seriously. Nodding your head also helps to let the interviewer know that you are listening to what they are saying.

Following this advice will go a long way into securing your future success.

About the Author

Emma Burbidge

Emma Burbidge

Emma Burbidge is the marketing assistant at TCHC. She helps to manage the website and promote the Youth Contract. She enjoys writing for the blog and sharing advice and tips with young people on a range of topics, from finding a job to battling with depression.

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