Grammar isn’t just about putting commas in the right place and being able to distinguish between adjectives and adverbs. We often think of grammar in terms of written language, but there are ways to demonstrate that you have good grammar by the way you speak as well.
If you’re looking to ace your next job interview and land a great new position, you might want to brush up on your spoken grammar skills before heading into the interview room.
Here are five tips to improve grammar skills for a job interview so you can get the job you want.
1. Choose Your Words Carefully
You can make your point and keep your message straight and direct with good vocabulary, but that doesn’t mean you need to use obscure SAT words in every reply you give. Having a wide vocabulary is important, but using big words won’t always impress your interviewer or help you get the job.
If you know the industry in depth, it is okay to use a bit of industry speak, but don’t overdo it. If you don’t know the industry that well, avoid using industry jargon, as there’s a chance you might use it wrong.
Whatever words you do choose, make sure you pronounce them correctly. For example, it’s converse, not conversate. It’s supposedly, not supposably. Check out this list of commonly mispronounced words to make sure you’re saying them right.
2. Avoid Meaningless Words and Phrases
There’s more to demonstrating excellent communication skills than having a robust vocabulary and always knowing which word to choose to get your point across. It’s also about knowing which words NOT to use.
In a job interview, avoid using meaningless phrases, such as “at the end of the day” and “basically.” These don’t convey much meaning, and they’re far too overused in everyday language as it is.
Avoid using filler words such as “um” and “uh” as well. These words indicate that you’re having trouble remembering or having difficulty communicating what it is you actually want to say.
3. Don’t Refer to Yourself in the Third Person
Do not refer to yourself in the third person. When answering questions, always refer to yourself in the first person.
The whole point of a job interview is to give the interviewer a sense of who you are and convince them that you’re the perfect fit for the position. That means you’ll need to craft your answers in a professional yet personal way. You’ll achieve the opposite effect if you refer to yourself in the third person.
For example, if your name is John, don’t answer questions with “John believes” or “John’s experience has been.” Instead, stick with the traditional first person usage of “I believe” or “My experience has been.”
Speaking in the third person also affects how the listener may perceive you. Many people regard third-person speaking as self-aggrandizing behavior, and if you want to land the job, you don’t want the interviewer to think you have an inflated ego.
4. Listen and Learn
You can improve your written grammar skills by reading more, and you can improve your oral grammar skills by listening more when other people speak.
While the interviewer is speaking, listen to every word. This will help you formulate better answers to their questions and give personal responses as opposed to canned, standard replies.
Listen to the interviewer’s tone and delivery as well. If the interview becomes more casual and conversational, that’s a great indication that they like you and want to learn more about you.
Picking up on this clue can help you to interject more information about yourself to give them an even better sense of who you are and what you’re capable of.
5. Speak With Confidence
It’s normal to feel a bit nervous or anxious during a job interview, but it’s crucial that you speak with confidence during and after an interview.
You can display this confidence with your choice of words, how you phrase sentences, and simple body language gestures such as sitting up straight and making eye contact.
Communicating with confidence is also important when asking the interviewer questions and discussing specific details of the job, such as salary expectations and employment contracts.
Check out this article on contract review for physicians so that if your interviewer says you’ll need to sign a contract, you can have one or two follow-up questions already prepared.
Demonstrating good grammar and strong communication skills in a job interview lets the interviewer know that you’ll be able to communicate well with clients, vendors, and other colleagues if they offer you the job. Brush up on your grammar skills now and you’ll be better prepared to ace that interview, no matter what job you’re going for.
Khalil ur Rehman is a proud born and raised in Abbottabad. Khalil has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including Yahoo News and The Verge. As a journalist for Universel Blog, Khalil covers climate and science news.
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