In our recent article Strategy Hacks to Ace Your Next Job Interview we covered two pro-tips on how to answer the popular job question ‘what’s your greatest weakness?’
Here in Part II let’s continue with another strategy hack involving communication style.
Why is it so important to speak like yourself during an interview? Why use natural, down-to-earth language when telling about your strengths, weaknesses and performance track record?
Let’s dive right in.
Throughout the job interview, when talking about your examples of past job performance, speak not only what’s true and feels true to you, but speak using a true-to-yourself language style. Talk the way you naturally talk in good, mixed company.
There is wiggle room for your answers
Nobody can prepare you 100% for an interview, because you cannot know exactly what will happen and what questions could be asked.
Don’t let that bother you.
The interviewers have wiggle room in terms of the content they cover during the session. They will adjust their questions depending on your answers, depending on the other candidates before you, or based on the vibe they’re receiving from you.
Your job during the interview is to provide juicy answers filled with details, facts, stories and before-and-after examples about your past contributions to daily work activities, special assignments, team success, project success and contributing to company milestones.
Go for it: normal language and natural wording
Let’s take our language down a notch.
When formulating your answers there’s never a need or expectation to sound too corporate, super brainy or “all-business”. That’s not how you speak or think, and neither do the individuals on the interview panel.
When it comes time to reveal a story or explanation, don’t resort to using elevated language. Don’t hide behind fast talk peppered with fancy jargon or buzzwords.
Do not confuse good, clear communication with academic-sounding words.
When you make something that’s simple and straightforward sound overly- important and fancied-up, it sounds false and reveals a lack of confidence.
It’s more courageous and wiser to sound normal and down-to-earth.
Relaxed tone, surrounded by friendly people
So what tone should you use?
Phrase your sentences the way you would when explaining something in front of the class in high school or university. Your peers and teacher are listening – they respect you for getting up and speaking. They want to hear what you have to say.
Or talk about yourself as if mingling with interesting wedding guests at your cousin’s wedding reception, minus the cocktails.
Yes, strive to use intelligent, accurate vocabulary, but stay true to a level of speech you feel comfortable with and can sustain.
Use words that you’ve used before: you are not memorizing a film script here, but writing your own lines to tell about your activities, create excitement and remain open, curious and friendly with no reason to feel afraid or pressured.
Because the whole idea is to feel more comfortable about the job interview situation, and not become more anxious and stressed about sounding overly smart.
No agenda on what to say and how to say it
If the job match does not work out, it wasn’t because you didn’t sound elevated enough, or buzzwordy enough during the interview.
There is zero expectation from interviewers that you should communicate in “corporate-speak”, even if you wish to work at a corporation.
You don’t need a fancy explanation and military-style action plan for your interview preparation.
Interviewers don’t aim to pressure you: they want to give you lots of space to shape your answer, they want to see the real you, to see if you fit into the team. They want to assess your likeability and your approachability level.
Steal this dating communication technique
To make an analogy with romantic relationships: You need to be yourself right from the get-go. A polished, rehearsed version vs. letting it flow in a natural sense, with an authentic look and feel.
People feel most comfortable with others who are down-to-earth, approachable and relaxed, rather than when they face a cool, fully-controlled cucumber.
It’s reassuring to hear an admission that the situation is intriguing and different and their heart is pounding with excitement. This exudes confidence and a pleasant sense of being with a fellow honest human.
When you wear a mask and then pull it off later, the other person thinks ‘you changed’. Maybe you didn’t change so much as you were being fake from the start.
A company does not want this either. This is why there’s a probationary period to test the waters for both you and the company.
Confidence doesn't wear a mask
When you have true confidence, when you love being you, when you understand your craft and can speak about your experience in a genuine way, you don’t need a mask.
At the interview stage, the company wants to see whether you’re self-aware and whether you can learn from your mistakes and weaknesses. And they want to see you provide examples of how you’ve learned. This represents personal and professional growth.
Companies love employees who demonstrate professional growth because it shows you’re capable of making good judgments, you don’t need handholding, you are proactive.
You are more likely to look out for the needs of the company, its customers, products and services because you don’t need to spend each day struggling with your coping mechanisms, having mini-meltdowns or barely functioning.
Decision-makers don’t want to quickly regret bringing you onboard in the first place.
Successful, smart job candidates understand how companies need to decide; they appreciate the huge risks and expenses involved in hiring a new employee. We cover more of this in the companion volume “Blow Your Job Market Mindset”.
Successful candidates apply intelligent strategies during the job application process and attempt to pre-empt bad matches before even applying in the first place.
Swipe left. Don’t swipe right when it feels wrong.
This blog article is from the latest CareerLove book release: How to Turn Your Weakness Into Strength: A Step-By-Step Interview Strategy.
For over 15 years CareerLove International Coaching has helped professionals around the world realize their career dreams. Now, what about you? If you enjoyed this article and want to empower your job search, head over to CareerLove’s collection of DIY tools.
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