Guest Author - Dianne Walker
Often job seekers are so worried about their responses to questions, they forget (or ignore) the basic rules of communication. You may have the perfect response to the question, but if the answer is garbled or inundated with slang, you may lose the interview edge. Many companies place communication skills high on the list of attributes they are looking for in applicants. Here are some things to watch out for when communicating during the interview.
Consider how many times do you use “um,” “ah,” or “so”. Believe it or not, those small sounds/words are very distracting when you are talking. If you say them too many times, the listener will lose track of the conversation.
“You know what I’m sayin’?” Actually, no. They have no idea what you’re saying. Even if they do, this phrase is so annoying; they often forget what you’re talking about and focus, instead, on the fact that you end every few sentences with this annoying phrase. Many people use it subconsciously. If you are not sure, ask a friend to listen to you give a short elevator speech to count how many times you ask, “you know what I’m sayin’.” If you are actually checking for understanding, try using an entirely different phrase such as “does this make sense?” Even then you don’t want to ask too many times.
Keep nervous laughter to a minimum. This one is definitely easier said, than done. Many people have a tendency to burst into nervous laughter when they are in uncomfortable situations. If the topic is serious, interviewers have no way of knowing whether you are laughing at something funny or engaging in nervous laughter. Ill-placed or inappropriate giggling may make the interviewer uncomfortable enough to start questioning whether or not you are the best fit for the position.
Public speaking not your strong point? Look for an organization such as Toastmasters. For a nominal fee, you learn how to speak in public. If you think that speech-making and interviewing have nothing in common, think again. The same communication principles apply when you are on an interview.
A majority of jobs in the market place rank communication, high in desired skills both written and orally. Interview responses, peppered with too many distracting words and phrases can make a definite negative impact during the interview.