It’s a fact – people judge us on how we speak. This is even more true in a job interview. You are being judged on three initial areas; how you look on paper, how you look in person, and how you speak. The biggest mistakes people make are letting their nerves get the best of them. They start speaking fast, saying too much, and relying on comfortable slang. Here are 5 tips to help strengthen your speech in a job interview.
1. Drop the Valley Girl
If you come from a younger generation, you are probably a storyteller who uses “like” a lot. Although this sounds normal in everyday conversation, it can make you seem immature in an interview. Instead of saying “I was like, are you serious?” try saying, “I thought to myself, how can this be serious?” Being aware of when you are saying “like” is part of the battle. Once you recognize it, you can start to replace the annoying word with more eloquent speech.
2. Stay Strong
It’s easy to become quiet or sing-songy when you are nervous. Employers want to know that you are confident in yourself and your abilities. Make sure your voice stays strong without being overbearing. It should be consistent throughout the meeting. Avoid raising inflections on the end of every sentence as it makes it sound like you are questioning everything.
3. Speak Correctly
Slang is a normal part of life, but it’s suicide in a job interview. You should never say something like “ain’t.” On the same note, you don’t need to use fancy language and try to be an Oxford college professor. Ensure that your tenses agree, you aren’t using slang, and that inappropriate slang doesn’t creep into your speech.
4. Slow Down
It is very important that you allow the interviewer time to speak his/her thoughts. If you are speaking too fast or chomping at the bit to say your next thought, you may be stepping all over the interviewer. This will frustrate him/her and make him/her see you as rude and inconsiderate. Don’t be afraid of a pause between you and the interviewer – you may be surprised when he/she has something more to say now that you have slowed down. It will feel odd at first, but it will become second nature after practice and awareness.
5. Be Confident
You got this job interview because the company sees potential in you. The last thing you want to do is go in there and use words like “perhaps”, “kind of”, “maybe”, and “I dunno.” You know what you’re talking about, so don’t use weak language. Be confident in your ideas and answers. The company wants someone they can trust that will do the work. If you use weak language it makes it look like you may need too much help.