During the job search process, as job seekers, we feel that someone else is always in change. We wait for the resume to be noticed, look forward to receiving that screener call, and we approach others in hopes of getting advice, referrals, and introductions. But when it comes to job interviews, this is arguably one of those moments where you have more power in your hands, and you can finally gain more control of the situation. Yes, you still have to answer questions, persuade you are the best candidate for the job and wait for the hiring manager to make a decision but your self-presentation can make or break the case. There is very little room for luck, and it’s all about preparation. The more thoroughly you prepare, the more confident you become, the better your verbal and nonverbal presentation gets, and the higher the chances are for your win. In my earlier posts, I’ve covered questions you can expect, salary negotiation tips and other aspects of successful interviewing. Today, I’d like to give you five powerful words that can serve as response starters and are must-haves in the interviewee vocabulary.
1. Responsibility - e.g. "It was my responsibility to..."
Managers want to hire employees who take responsibility for getting the job done. They don't want to hire employees who shirk, foist work onto others or, worst of all, delegate tasks upwards.
Stating you took responsibility for achieving a goal, and then explaining specifically how you achieved that goal, shows the hiring manager that you're reliable, hard-working and conscientious.
2. Initiative - e.g. "I took the initiative to..."
Managers want to hire employees who don't wait around to be told what to do. That drives managers crazy. Like everyone else, managers are pressed for time. They may be willing to coach but they certainly don't want to be forced to hand-hold.
Stating you took the initiative to get the job done, and the explaining how you got it done, tells the hiring manager that you're self-motivated, self-confident and ready to get to work.
3. Result - e.g. "As a result of my actions..."
Business is all about results, aka the proverbial bottom line. During the interview, never mention any activity without also describing the positive impact that activity had on the company and team.
Talking about results rather than mere activity shows that you understand the basic rule of business and understand what's really important. Ideally you want the hiring manager to be thinking: "Wow! This candidate will get results!"
4. Measurable - e.g. "The measurable increase in profit was..."
In this case, it's not so much the word itself as the concept behind it. In business communications, concrete facts always outweigh abstract generalities. The more specific you are, the more credible you seem.
5. Example - "Here's an example of how I handled that..."
This is the most powerful interview word of all time because it allows you segue from an abstract discussion into a real world story. It forces you to "show" rather than "tell" what you're really made of.
The word "example" is especially valuable when you're asked the corny standard interview questions:
Interviewer: "What's your greatest strength?"
You: "I'm results-oriented. For example, when my working group was faced with a new deadline, I took the initiative..."