5 phrases to listen for in the interview

phrases to listen for in an interview

When you walk into an interview, you want to know one thing: is this the best person for the job? Luckily, there are a few phrases to listen for that will help you determine this.

Of course, there are many interview questions that can help you identify your next superstar employee, from behavioural questions that reveal their work ethic to outside-the-box ones that show creative thinking.

But sometimes, the best way to size up a candidate is to stop asking questions and just listen. Ideally, the best person for the job, regardless of what it is, will demonstrate that he or she knows what’s happening in the industry; has researched the company and role; and possesses the skills and qualifications to do the job and help the company grow.

To see if a candidate has this criteria, here are five phrases to listen for in the interview:

  1. “I’m excited about this role because…”

There’s a reason why hiring managers consistently rank enthusiasm as one of the most important assets a candidate can bring to an interview. Enthusiasm translates to engagement, and engaged employees are productive and loyal. Enthusiastic employees also tend to fit naturally into existing company culture, work great with teams, and boost the morale of those around them. An additional insight that can come from this phrase is whether or not the candidate has a firm grasp on what the job entails. If, for example, they’re excited about the role because they get to work closely with a team – when, in fact, they’re going to be working independently – it opens up a bigger conversation.

  1. “I really enjoy [insert product or service offered by the company].”

It goes without saying that any candidate should have done their homework about the company they’re interviewing for. The top-tier candidate, however, will go a step further. When a candidate is able to offer positive feedback on specific products or services your company provides, it shows a deep familiarity (and again, enthusiasm) for your brand, and, in turn, a commitment to your company’s core beliefs.

  1. “What I can contribute to your organization is…”

A candidate needs to go beyond saying how many years of experience they have, and what specific skills they can bring; they need to link their assets to your company. If they have SEO skills, they should be able to explain, in detail, how they can grow your traffic. If they have project management experience, they should be able to go through how they can increase efficiency and productivity with their would-be team. In general, look for specifics in a candidate – the more details they can provide about their own experience, and how it relates to your company, the better. Vague correlations or statements might indicate they’re misrepresenting themselves – or worse, lying about their skills.

  1. “If I were in this role, one of the things I would keep my eye on is [insert industry trend].”

Whether the job is in finance, fashion, or fishing, it’s imperative that the candidate know what is going on in the industry. What technological disruptions or challenges are presenting themselves and how are they being handled? A candidate that is fluent in industry trends will bring a passion to the position – and potentially play a major role in future-proofing your company.

  1. “I’m currently working to learn more about…”

A good candidate knows what their weaknesses are. After all, no one is going to possess every skill in the world. Unless they’re grossly over-qualified, there’s likely going to be nice-to-have skills or qualifications that they currently lack. However, if a candidate volunteers their weaknesses, and shows how they’re in the process of filling that gap (or gaps) with a class, self-directed learning, or other avenue, it shows self-awareness, initiative, and a commitment to the role. It can also indicate that the candidate will continue to learn and develop under your employ, which will ensure they stay engaged and productive (and loyal), long-term.

See also:
4 ways to weed out low performers in the interview
The 10 most revealing interview questions


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