Your job interview vocabulary may matter much more than you expect. I’ve seen first-hand how powerfully the words you use in a job interview affect the impression you convey to the interviewer. significantly more than I believed. Recently I was privileged to participate in a series of mock interviews. The impact of vocabulary was especially noticeable in their responses to behavioral questions. One interviewee omitted entirely any reference to the specifics of the detailed job description that she was provided.
I was astonished, given that several similar positions were listed prominently on her resume. During subsequent interviews, I observed specific vocabulary more closely. Applicants responding to behavioral questions using the same vocabulary as those included in the job description clearly gained credibility by doing so. Very simply, you just believed as you listened to their words that they were already in the position. The incremental impact was especially strong for interviewees who had previously worked in a different field, but made the effort to prepare. On reflection, it became clear to me that effective interview strategies pay close attention to the vocabulary of the job description. It sounds very simple, but I think it is commonly overlooked.
For a follow-up discussion to the mock interviews, I prepared the word cloud on the right from a generic job description for an HR Assistant. Certain words are used much more frequently in the text and they are represented with a larger font than words used less often. For the purpose of preparing for the behavioral questions and for describing career accomplishments, pay particular attention to the words that seem to be unique to this field and the particular duties of the position. Vocabulary terms such as HRIS, compliance, benefit, database, development, schedule and goals aren’t the most common words, but they definitely indicate that you know what the position entails.
Try it for yourself! Simply create two word clouds, one from your cover letter and resume and another from the job description provided for a position that you are seeking. It’s easy to use the Wordle site to create a word cloud from any text. Wordle.net is one of several sites that generates “word clouds” from your text, which “give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently”.
Visit Wordle.net. Then simply copy the text from both documents together and paste that into the space indicated and the Wordle.net site will create a word cloud. The visual contrast between the word cloud created from the job posting and the one that reflects the frequency of word use in your application can be quite stunning. Even if you have already identified key words from the job description, you gain additional insights from this simple exercise. Use the same information to prepare more effectively for the behavioral questions that are very predictable in the interview.
Even job descriptions for similar positions can appear quite differently in graphic form. If you are one of those who dismisses the need to tailor a resume for different employers posting similar job descriptions, a visual comparison will clarify whether differences in emphasis are significant. It just might give you a fresh perspective on the response HR could experience and the need for altered interview strategies. when they consider your application and your responses in an interview to behavioral questions alongside those of other applicants.A different job description for the same position might suggest different interview strategies.
If it helps, let me know!