Interviews are a fact of life in the hiring process, and job seekers need to continue using best practices for interpersonal communication to succeed during interviews. Unfortunately for millennials, this could be tough to do.
American citizens between the ages of 18-29 receive and send roughly 88 text messages per day. The average American also spends approximately 162 minutes buried in their phone each day. The question is, what does this mean for their interpersonal communication skills? Are they slowly dying? Will decaying interpersonal skills lead to failure at interviews?
Are you a millennial (or anyone else, really), with poor communication habits? Then you need to be mindful of these four tips when trying to land a job:
1. Use ‘I’ Statements
Keep “I” statements far away from your resume and cover letters. Why? HR professionals and hiring managers look for candidates who can better their company. Your need to show employers that your skills will benefit them. Display your potential benefits to the company with a confident voice within cover letters and resumes.
Save the “I” statements for the interview — that’s your time to shine. When the interviewer asks questions about projects that qualify you for the position, use “I” statements to exhibit your leadership in these assignments.
Some candidates steer away from this approach because they don’t want to seem boastful to the employer. While “I” statements may make you seem like a braggart in a resume or cover letter, they’re incredibly beneficial to you during the interview. “I” statements — also referred to as power statements — show the employer where your personal strengths lie and how they can benefit the company. Examples of appropriate “I” statements to use during an interview include:
- “I built a process around new client interactions that increased conversions by 23 percent.”
- “I changed the way we held internal meetings, reducing each one by 15 minutes.”
- “I created a tracking spreadsheet that showed inefficiencies in our system and reduced our errors by 5 percent.”
By providing examples of work you have successfully completed and how it transformed the team, department, or company, you give the employer a better understanding of whether or not your skill set can be useful to them. But beware letting your “I” statements take over the conversation: ensure you ask about the company and its plans, goals, and processes as well.
2. Use Action Words
Use words like “changed,” “created,” “developed,” and “organized” to show the employer that you can effect change and take charge at work. This is a more effective way of demonstrating your professional abilities than simply telling the interviewer which abilities you have.
Chances are, the employer is looking to fill a specific skill set. Broad and accurate action words display flexibility and high productivity rates. Power words you may want to think about using in your interview may include:
3. Use Quantifiers
Be specific about your past accomplishments. Talk about impactful projects you worked on, big-name organizations you’ve worked with, and any other impressive accomplishments worth mentioning. Doing so will give the hiring manager a clear vision of how you work, the conditions in which you are used to working, and where you set the bar for work projects.
Being vague might seem like a good idea. You may think it makes you seem flexible. However, specificity shows you have done your research on the company and your functional fit. Whenever possible, include a probable number in your answer. Use figures like money saved, turnover decreased, customers served, and/or time saved to quantify the ways in which you can benefit your potential employer.
4. Practice Non-Verbal Communication
If you walk away from an interview knowing more about the knicknacks on the desk than what actually happened in the interview, you weren’t paying attention to the conversation. The interview starts before you sit down with the hiring manager. Upon entrance, be sure to greet other employees in the office with a friendly grin and nod to establish a positive attitude before even meeting the interviewer.
Eye contact is another form of non-verbal communication that exhibits confidence during one-on-one meetings. Maintaining a safe, respectful distance is also important when meeting with an interviewer for the first time. Pauwels Consulting suggests staying no more than three meters from the interviewer. This says you’re neither trying to establish dominance nor get too comfortable too quickly with the potential employer.