Do you know the impact key words and powerful phrases can have during a job interview? You may think think the interviewer is judging you as a whole, taking into account everything from background, experience and professional demeanor to personality and favorite hobbies.
The truth is, most interviewers judge you based on what you say and how you behave (body language) before they evaluate the details of your resume.
Ninety percent of hiring decisions are made on an emotional, gut level. (Click here to tweet this statistic.) Candidates are hired based on the right turn of phrase, strong handshake or eye contact — and the rest is emotional justification. Psychologists call this “motivated reasoning.” Most business decisions are made in this way, with little logic.
The two questions you need to ask
While most job seekers focus on coming across as competent in the interviewing process, the successful ones focus on being likable and memorable. The use of key words and phrases play an important role in this.
For example, try to end your first interview by asking the interviewer two questions:
- “How do I stack up with the other candidates you have interviewed?”
- “What do I need to do to get the job?”
These questions can make an enormous difference between getting a second interview (or hired) or waiting by the phone for weeks. Not long ago, one of my hiring clients interviewed seven candidates for a mid-level purchasing managerial position.
The candidate we referred for the position, Mary, used these questions to close her initial interview. The interviewer took notice and told us Mary was the only one who asked how she compared to the others. When he kicked her resume up to the next group of interviewers, he told them, “I interviewed several candidates initially and she was the only one who asked for the job. I really like her.”
Mary spent a mere two and a half hours interviewing with this company — one hour at the initial interview and an hour and a half with the next group. She became the “best” candidate because of the powerful phrases she used in the interviewing process.
In fact, the vice president of procurement told her that while she wasn’t the most qualified applicant, she had come across much better than the others during the interviews. Mary was hired and she’s convinced that these two simple questions helped her nail the interviews and land the job.
Foot in the door, not in the mouth
Most job seekers are surprised to learn that during an average hiring cycle, you need to spend four hours in face-to-face interviews. The interviewers listen intently to what you have to say, so you don’t have a lot of wriggle room for making mistakes, flubbing or forgetting. Most mistakes candidates make center around saying the wrong thing or saying something that is interpreted the wrong way.
To overcome missteps during an interview you have to be prepared — and to be prepared you must practice, practice, practice. Even if you’re good at talking about yourself and fast on your feet, interviews have their own particular language. Learn it backward and forward – or you risk saying the wrong thing.
Here are some strong words you can use to describe yourself: passionate, practical, quick study and good communicator.
Keep in mind that throughout the job-hunting process you must be courageous in your quest for a job, putting yourself out there despite knowing you’ll be greeted with rejection.
Analyze interviews that don’t bear fruit, learn from them and move onto the next. Maybe you ended on a weak note, saying something like “Well, where do we go from here?” Or “I might be interested.”
Instead, asking the interviewer how you stack up to the competition, and what you can do to get the job, indicates courage. You’re telling them, “I’m a serious candidate. Hire me.”
Tony Beshara is the owner and president of Babich & Associates, established in 1952 and is the oldest placement and recruitment service in Texas. He has been a professional recruiter since 1973 and has personally found more than 8500 individuals jobs. www.thejobsearchsolution.com