Talk the Talk

Nailing the interview isn’t just about what you say; it’s equally important to say it in the right way. Don’t let communication issues stand in the way of the interviewer seeing your abilities by practicing these favorable speaking habits.

1. Say My Name

Use the interviewer’s name every now and again over the course of the interview. People like hearing their name and it shows that you care enough to remember who they are.

2. Speak no Evil

Vulgar language and swear words are not appropriate in a professional setting. No matter how comfortable the interviewer makes you feel, never say something that would make him or her question your professionalism.

3. Find the Balance

Nervous interviewees tend to speak too quickly and loudly. This may because they think it’s bad to not have an answer right away. In reality, it’s better to pause and think for a second than to ramble on hoping to get your point across.

On the other extreme, shyness or a lack of confidence results in interviewees speaking too slowly, quietly, or mumbled.

In either situation, remember: you are just telling another human being about what you can do. Speak to them like you would to any other adult you respect.

4. Be a Person

Interviewers get bored. I’m sorry to break it too you. Even though you stressed about being on time, saying all the right things, and looking your best, they probably won’t remember 90% of the experience.

You won’t stand out unless you show some personality. It’s okay to talk about life outside the workplace in an interview. Spend 2-3 minutes finding something in which you are both interested.

Bonus points: email the interviewer after the interview to thank them for their time, reconfirm your interest, and mention something about your common interest.


Dear Mrs. Smith,

Thanks again for taking the time to interview me about my qualifications and answer my questions. This position seems like the perfect next step in using and developing my web development skills. Plus, I can tell that Cisco finds innovation to be important, which really excited me.

Have fun visiting Tampa! Don’t forget to go to the Florida Aquarium.

5. Interview the Interviewer

When you ask questions about the position or company (and you WILL prepare questions ahead of time), try framing them in a way that lets the interviewer talk about himself or herself. You’ll get a more behind-the-scenes answer and be seen as more personable. The interviewer uses your questions as a way to gauge your priorities. Your questions also show that you did your research, are knowledgeable enough to ask specific questions, and are sincerely interested in knowing more. Here are a few examples:

What have you liked best about working here? (You’re interested enough to visualize yourself working there)Would you say that you’re goals are focused more on branding, reach, SEO, or something else? (You are knowledgeable about marketing)Do you hang out with your coworkers outside of the office? (You value relationships at work)The company advertises that they value integrity. How have you seen that to be either true or false? (You researched the company to know what they value)

Speaking with respect, interest, and personality shows that you will be a coworker that is dependable, hard-working, and pleasurable to be around. The more the interviewer wants to work with you the more likely you are to receive an offer.