Today's job market is as competitive as ever. You need to be able to effectively communicate your skill set so that you will give yourself the best competitive advantage to secure employment. During the interview process, you want to highlight as many of your strengths as possible.
An easy way to do this is by slipping a few simple phrases into your next job interview. Here are seven things you should say in an interview. (For related reading, check out Taking The Lead In the Interview Dance.)
In Pictures: 7 Interview Don'ts
1. I am very familiar with what your company does.
Letting a prospective employer know that you are familiar with what a company does shows that you have a legitimate interest in the business and are not just wasting their time. Do your homework before arriving for an interview. Check out the company website for information about products and services. Search for the latest transactions and pertinent business news. (Want to get a job on Wall Street? Check out Top Things to Know for an Investment Banking Interview.)
Be sure to let the interviewer know that you are familiar with the newest company acquisition or the latest product that was just developed. Explain how your skills and experience are a perfect fit for the employer.
2. I am flexible.
Work environments are always changing. Prospective employers are looking for candidates that are open to change and can adapt at a moment's notice. In today's fast-paced business world, employees must have the ability to multi-task.
Stating that you are adaptable lets an employer know that you are willing to do whatever is necessary to get the job done. This may mean working additional hours or taking on additional job duties in a crunch. Show your potential employer that you are equipped to deal with any crisis situation that may arise. (It is possible to work too hard. See Top 10 Ways to Avoid Burnout in Corporate Finance for more.)
3. I am energetic and have a positive attitude.
Employers are looking for candidates with optimism and a "can-do" attitude. Attitudes are contagious and have a direct affect on company morale. Let the optimist in you shine during the interview process.
Be sure to always speak positively about past employers. Negative comments and sarcastic statements about past employers and co-workers will make you look petty. If you bad-mouth your past company, employers are liable to believe that you will do the same thing to them.
4. I have a great deal of experience.
This is your chance to shine. Highlight any previous job duties that relate directly to your new job. If it is a management position, state every time that you were responsible for the supervision, training and development of other employees. Discuss your motivational techniques and specific examples of how you increased productivity. Feel free to list any training classes or seminars that you have attended.
5. I am a team player.
Do you remember when you were young and your teacher wanted to know if you could work well with others? Well the job market is no different! Companies are looking for employees that are cooperative and get along well with other employees. Mentioning that you are a team player lets your prospective employer know that you can flourish in group situations.
Employers are looking for workers that can be productive with limited supervision and have the ability to work well with others. (Learn more about keeping peace in the office. Check out Dealing With 10 Coworker Personality Conflicts.)
6. I am seeking to become an expert in my field.
Employers love applicants that are increasing their knowledge base to make themselves the best employees possible. Stating that you are aiming to become an expert causes employers to view you as an asset and not a liability. You are a resource that other employees can learn from.
This is also a subtle way of illustrating that you have an attitude of excellence. You are aiming to be the best at what you do! This will let employers know that you are not just a fly-by-night employee, but in it for the long run.
7. I am highly motivated.
A motivated employee is a productive employee. Talk about how your high level of motivation has led you to accomplish many things. If you are a meticulous worker, discuss your organizational skills and attention to detail. Companies are always looking for dependable employees that they can count upon.
The Bottom Line
Remember that a job interview is an opportunity to sell yourself to a prospective employer. Be sure to slip in the right phrases to give you the best chance possible of securing that cushy corner office on the ninth floor.