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Useful phrases for a job interview

Few prospects get butterflies fluttering in your stomach like a job interview. Scary though it seems to sit down and discuss yourself with a hiring manager, it’s something 99 percent of people have gone through. But don’t worry! With a bit of practice (and a few no-fail phrases up your sleeve), you’ll stroll into your job interview looking as cool as an ice cream on a summer’s day.

To help you prepare we’ve put together some handy phrases covering what you’ll typically discuss at a job interview: your personality, strengths, experience and why you want the job, of course.

Describing your personality

As they sit down with candidates, the interviewer (your potential boss) is looking to find out if the interviewee (you) will or won’t fit in well with their existing team. So now’s the time to show them who you are and why you’re a great person to work with. Here are some adjectives to use:

  • Easy-going: a relaxed person who is easy to get along with
  • Hard-working: someone who works well and isn’t lazy
  • Committed: a person who is loyal to a project or person
  • Trustworthy: someone who you can rely on
  • Honest: someone who tells the truth
  • Focused: someone who is not easily distracted
  • Methodical: a person who pays attention to details and works in a logical way
  • Proactive: someone who takes steps to complete tasks without supervision

You can say: I’m (easy-going), or I’m a/an easy-going person/employee/worker.

If you’d like to add punch, use an intensifier like very, extremely, really. (“I’m very trustworthy,” “I’m an extremely focused employee.”)

Describing your strengths

Your interviewer will also want to know what you’re good at. Why? Because the job you’re applying for requires certain skills – so now’s the time to explain what you can do well!

Some positive traits and skills managers look for include:

  • Organization
  • The ability to multitask
  • Perform to a deadline
  • Solve problems
  • Communicate well
  • Work in an international environment and with people from all over the world
  • Speak foreign languages
  • Enthusiasm

You can use phrases like: I’m good at/I’m skilled at multitasking/working under pressure/working to a deadline, or My strength is/are my ability to problem solve/be enthusiastic/speak fluent English etc.

Describing your experience

If you’ve had a job before you have valuable experience to bring to this new position. Depending on the sort of job you’re applying for, your education might also be important to highlight. Here are some phrases to use:

  • I have five years’ experience as a waitress/in retail/as a teacher
  • I worked in retail for seven years and was promoted to manager in my second year
  • I studied at the University of Queensland
  • I worked for Anderson and Assoc. as a lawyer

Be prepared to run through and explain the main points in your CV. Use the opportunity to elaborate on what’s on your CV and give more details.

Describing your goals for the future and why you want this job

Here’s your moment to tell the interviewer why you want the advertised position. Maybe you want to gain experience in your field, learn a particular skill, believe you are a great fit for the company or particularly respect them in their industry. These phrases can help:

  • I’m looking to further my skills as a barista/in hospitality, as a childcare worker/in early childhood education
  • I’m want to further my career in physiotherapy/as a physiotherapist, in administration/as an administrator, in retail/as a branch manager
  • I believe your company is an important player in its industry
  • I feel my skills set is a perfect fit for your team and I can contribute by…

It’s very important to emphasize the last point – your interviewer will want to be convinced that you really want the role. Don’t overdo it, of course, but do make sure you make this point clear.

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