Interview Tips

Using Positive Language For a Job Interview

When going in for a job interview, you need to focus on making the right impression. How you present yourself should let the world know, “Here I am, the perfect candidate for this job…no need to meet with anyone else, your ideal fit has arrived!”

If you can’t achieve this very important first task at a job interview, you can basically wave goodbye to your chances of actually securing the position.

Proactive and upbeat language is a great way to convey a positive attitude to your potential employer.

At any typical interview, you will likely be asked the following:

  • Talk a bit about yourself
  • Do you have examples of when…
  • What difficult work decisions have you had to make, and how did you make them?
  • What strengths and weaknesses do you have?

One question you are sure to be asked is: “Can you talk about your last job?”

Speaking about your current or previous jobs can be a large challenge in an interview. It’s a job you left or are leaving for some reason, but you have to put a positive spin on it.

We’ve all had jobs that we didn’t like, that we daydreamed about quitting. Still, that position was likely key to your resume, and you need to be able to talk about it pleasantly, explaining your role, tasks, and relationships with colleagues and your boss.

But how do you go about that? You probably consider yourself a trustworthy and honest person. Does this mean you have to lie to the interviewer? The answer: absolutely not.

The key here is to hone in on the positive things, like what you gained from that past job and how those lessons make you an ideal option for this current position.

Here’s just one example.

An interviewer never wants to hear this: 

“My last job was terrible and that’s why I quit. The business was mismanaged and I had too much work to do. I really hated it.”

Let’s look at how that same experience could be re-told so that an interviewer responds well:

“At my last company, we were a growing business, which meant it was all hands on deck. I wore many hats and really learned how to roll up my sleeves, pitch in and prioritize. I think these are skills that would serve me well here.”

And don’t forget, when describing yourself and your past employment, think of all sorts of positive adjectives you can use:

Flexible, friendly, good communicator, artistic, decisive, brave, polite, focused, positive, energetic, laid back, wise, engaging, charming, generous, good worker, assisting, truthful, creative, smart, compassionate, analytical, independent, upbeat, patient, steadfast, interested, pragmatic, proactive, capable, earnest, sociable, able.

While you might not talk about yourself using these words in your everyday life, having these descriptors in your arsenal can pay dividends when it comes to prepping for a job interview.

If you need help feeling comfortable with this language, print out a list of words you want to use and display them around your home where you’ll come across them often.

Having these key phrases surround you in places like your kitchen and living room can help the language seep into your mind. You may then find yourself able to easily work them into conversation without having to stress yourself out about it too much.

Seeing new ways to describe yourself and your past job might even change your thinking and help you to remember the experience in a more positive way.

The best part is you won’t have to lie when asked about your past job experience, helping you to keep your integrity and honesty in place.

If you’re not convinced, consider how these words will sound when worked into your job interview responses:

“When we had trouble keeping up with the demand of our orders, we stayed positive in our mindset to meet the challenge. We were resourceful and innovative, using creative ways to forge new paths for delivery. And our teamwork paid off. The friendly and compassionate nature we put forward helped the process move smoothly.”

These word cues can work for you even in non-office settings, but really help you put your best foot forward in a job interview. By using positive language, even about a lackluster experience, you show the interviewer that you are professional with good communication skills. 

Experts see time and time again that potential employees have trouble verbalizing their past work experiences. This can also be a challenge if you are not a native English speaker. By coaching yourself to use engaging, pragmatic language, you are setting yourself up to be able to converse in a pleasant and open way. This makes a great first impression, and will set you apart from other candidates that might be interviewing for the job.

Your words matter, so make sure to choose them carefully.