How Job Interviewers Could Interpret Your Words

Understanding how interviewers interpret your words can help you get the job — or not. During an interview, always let your words project a positive image. For example, you may think you're telling the interviewer about how unappreciated you were at your last job (after all, you are a star employee!), but what the interviewer could be hearing is whining, complaining, or an inability to work with other people.

While the following tips may seem obvious, interviewers say that job seekers keep making the same blunders.

  • Relevant experience: When asked whether you've had directly related experience, say "yes" if you have and cite achievements proving it. If not, don't just say "no." Instead, make the comment that rarely are two jobs identical in every way, and that you are very interested in the job. Give examples of how you handled common problems — such as cost cutting, disgruntled customers, jerk coworkers — that reveal your thinking processes, skills, and competencies.

  • Team relationships: When discussing projects on which you worked, the interviewer may be listening to see whether you go beyond taking fair credit for your accomplishments — are you a credit hog? How often do you use the credit-grabbing pronoun "I" compared to the team-playing pronoun "we?" Credit hogs may be unable to perform as team members.

  • Departure reasons: Griping in detail about why you want to leave your present job reveals your values, raising suspicions that a new position would merely replay your frustrations. Will you ever be satisfied or are you a malcontent?

Record your answers to potential job interview questions. The next day, put yourself on the other side of the desk: Listen for what interviewers may be hearing. Do you sound like a winner?

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