When you attend a job interview, creating the right impression is your ultimate aim. Presenting a personal brand that hollers:
"Yes, it's me, the one you've been waiting for; the perfect fit for this job. You can cancel the all other interviews, I'm here!"
If you fail at this all-important first hurdle, the holy grail of "A Great First Impression", then you can say goodbye to your chances of job success!
Using positive language is one of the best ways to get across your enthusiasm, ambition and willingness to do your best.
You'll be asked the typical questions:
- Tell me about yourself
- Give me an example of a time when...
- What was the hardest decision you've ever had to make and how did you arrive at your final decision?
- What are your strengths and areas of development?
The one I want to write about today is:
"Tell me about your previous/current job."
When it comes to talking about your current or previous jobs, one of the biggest challenges in an interview is to explain a horrible experience. And even more challenging, how to make it sound positive!
I mean, let's face it, we've all had them, haven't we?
The soul destroying, heart breaking, what-am-I-doing-here type jobs where you felt like you were climbing Mount Everest every day.
Yet, when that job has been part of your formative years (career-wise), you have no choice but to talk about it with gusto -- your tasks, responsibilities, relationships with peers and management.
But how do you do it? You're a good person with integrity and honesty coming out of your enthusiastic ears! Do you have to lie? Of course not!
The trick is to focus on the positive, what you've learned and how it's going to benefit you in the role for which you're applying now.
Let's take an example.
Here is what an interviewer doesn't want to hear:
"I left my last job because it was terrible. The company was completely disorganized and I had to work a lot! I really didn't like working there."
Now, let's take the same experience and say it in a way that's music to any interviewer's ears:
"We experienced many challenges in my last company. We were growing our business and while this was very positive and exciting for us, it also meant we worked long hours to maintain the quality of our work. I really feel that this experience made me stronger and taught me a lot about how to manage my time and prioritize in order to get my work done."
When describing yourself, your experiences, your previous jobs, think of all the positive adjectives you can use:
Adaptable, amicable, communicative, creative, decisive, courageous, conscientious, determined, enthusiastic, energetic, easygoing, diplomatic, dynamic, friendly, generous, hard-working, helpful, honest, innovative, intelligent, kind, intellectual, independent, optimistic, patient, persistent, passionate, practical, proactive, resourceful, sincere, sociable, willing.
These aren't necessarily the kind of words that would make their way into your everyday vocabulary but if you're preparing for a job interview, it's definitely to your advantage to know and use them.
A great trick to help you get used to these words is to print out the ones that are most relevant and useful to you and put them in places where you'll constantly see them.
Having them visible on the bathroom mirror, fridge door, bedside locker and other frequently used (and seen) places, gives a twofold advantage. Not only are you consistently reminding yourself of these positive words, you're also thinking about who you are and what you have done in your job that merits the use of these lovely words.
Regularly seeing how to describe yourself and your job in this positive aura of linguistic light will actually change the way you look at your job and you'll start to believe that it was indeed a positive learning experience.
And the best part about this? There's not a lie to be heard and you can take comfort in the fact that your honesty and integrity remain intact!
Not convinced? Let's have a look at these words in action in a job interview answer:
"When we were experiencing challenges with the pace and volume of orders coming in, we became quite resourceful in the way we handled the bigger orders. We asked the logistics department for extra staff and in return we promised to train them on how to process orders when things were calmer. This innovative approach allowed us to build a positive and sincere relationship with them. They understood how passionate and determined we were to get the orders out to our customers on time.
They saw the training as a way to develop their office skills and progress their career. We made sure the training was practical so they could apply what they learned quickly. As a company, this allowed us to be more creative when we had large numbers of orders. The workforce was more adaptable so they were able to work in both the order-processing and logistics departments."
This is all great vocabulary that you can use, not only for job interviews, but also for any situation where you are looking to express the positives. By planning ahead, you can control the impression you make to your interviewer (and hopefully future employer)!
One of the reasons I set up Welcome BE was because I interviewed so many talented people who didn't get the job because they couldn't verbalize their previous experience in a positive way.
This is especially challenging for non-native speakers of English.
I know that by coaching people on the use of some simple techniques and vocabulary, together with an improved mindset, they can express themselves more enthusiastically and positively, leading to the dream job they deserve. On my Facebook page, I regularly post positive words and inspirational quotes to remind people that using positive language changes people's perspective for the better and ensures that you create the right impression; not only for job interviewers, but also for everyone you meet!
Language is everything. Use it wisely!!