It is common knowledge that you make your first impression prior to saying your first word. Regardless, sooner or later, you are going to have to open your mouth.

When you do, it’s imperative to show empathy, speak from the heart, maintain composure and come across as confident, yet not arrogant.

This is all part of speaking the language of persuasive interviewees. Individuals who learn this language are better compensated, given more prestigious titles and are respected more around the office after being hired.

Similar to any other language, the gift of influential speech can be acquired via knowledge, focus, will power and practice.

More specifically, our recruiters want to stress persuasive interviewing involves three facets: learning how to establish rapport with an interviewer; integrating compelling verbiage; and avoiding patterns of speech that weaken perceived competency.

Establishing Rapport

Rapport (n) – a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.

For any interviewee, establishing rapport is crucial. Without rapport, changing minds, cultivating new ideas and stirring action is nearly impossible.

Prior to focusing on their agenda, persuasive interviewees capture the hiring manager’s attention via establishing that they have shared concerns or interests.

One way to establish rapport is to focus in questions and talking points specifically to the interviewer’s point of view.

For instance, when a HR representative vocalizes excitement about their company, it’s advantageous to openly share in that excitement, and to furthermore ask about what is most responsible for it. When you know what drives your interviewer, you can then communicate where such drivers also enthuse you.

Integrating Compelling Verbiage

Persuasive interviewees use descriptive, imaginative language that engages the mind of the hiring manager. However, they keep it simple. They don’t speak in extremely long, convoluted sentences and avoid using cliches.

Additionally, persuasive interviewers utilize action verbs. Direct, active verbs add force, clarity and vigor to speech. So does utilizing an extensive vocabulary.

Keep in mind, using intricate vocabulary does have potential pitfalls. With the wrong crowd fancy terminology may cause you to appear less welcoming and friendly.

In other situations, excessive use of complex verbiage may backfire, as you risk coming across as pretentious or losing the audience’s attention.

Avoiding Patterns of Speech That Lessen Persuasiveness

Know what you’re going to say and practice saying it. Constant hesitations or use of phrases such as “kind of,” “a little bit,” or “sort of” will frequently lead an interviewer to question your competence and confidence.

Qualifiers such as “I think” and “in my opinion” may also lessen credibility and perceived capability.

As in any conversation, there is a place for well-considered pauses to ensure you are giving a thoughtful answer that reflects your history, beliefs, or interests as the situation dictates. But there is a difference between a well-aimed pause, and constant dead air.

When you are talking to anyone, give them your sole and undivided attention. Do not let your attention wander or be diverted. In order to speak the language of the persuasive interview, know what you want out of the conversation and center your mind on that sole purpose.