How to Communicate Effectively in a Job Interview

How you speak in an interview greatly impacts how interviewers perceive you. Even the most qualified candidates risk not getting the job if they talk in an unprofessional way.

Whether you are being interviewed by Zoom or in person, here are a few tips that will help you get the job:

Mirror the interviewer’s style

If the interviewer is very businesslike, you should adopt a similar style. This sort of interviewer will not appreciate a causal, comedic style. Conversely, if the interviewer’s style is more relaxed, you should adjust yours’ accordingly while still showing respect.

Don’t ramble

Often when candidates don’t immediately know the answer to a question, they will start to ramble. This will make you appear unfocused and off-subject. If you are uncertain about what is being asked, ask for clarification. Or, if you understand what is being asked but don’t know the answer, pause for a couple of seconds to gather your thoughts before starting your answer.

Avoid buzzwords and jargon

Some candidates use snobbish-sounding language in an attempt to impress the interviewer. Usually, this has the opposite effect, especially if the interviewer is unfamiliar with your words. Your best choice is to use simple, plain language that everyone understands.

Speak with confidence

You want to demonstrate that you can do the job. Avoid words that make you look weak and insecure, like: “maybe,” “perhaps,” “sort of,” and “hopefully.” And watch out for uptalk—the upward inflection at the end of a sentence that sounds like you are asking a question instead of making a definitive statement.

Be aware of your body language

While most communication in an interview will be verbal, a great deal of information is conveyed non-verbally through your body language. To make a strong impression, you should maintain eye contact, smile often, listen attentively, project confidence, and stay focused.  

Avoid the use of slang

Even though you may speak to your friends this way, avoid all use of slang like “you guys,” “dude,” “whatever,” and “my bad.” And never swear, even if the word choice is mild, like “damn” or “crap.”