If you’ve done any research on successful interviewing, by now you probably have a good idea of what not to say in an interview. But, what you should say might not be so obvious. It can be hard to know how to make a persuasive case for an employer to hire you.
It’s also easy to get caught up in practicing interview questions and answers and completely forget to review the basic ideas you should express in order to make a great first impression on your interviewer. Remember that an interview isn’t a test – or at least, it isn’t only a test. It’s also a conversation and a chance to discover whether you’ll be a good fit for the role.
Important Things to Say During a Job Interview
We’ve done the work for you and compiled a list of the most effective expressions to use in an interview. However, you need to use common sense when incorporating these statements in your interview.
Don’t feel like you have to hit every single one: in fact, that might sound a little silly. You don’t want to sound like a robot spouting out pre-planned statements that don’t fit within the context of a broader conversation. Instead, keep these in your back pocket to pull out whenever it makes sense.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t repeat these statements verbatim, or in the order they are listed. Instead, use your own words to demonstrate the core idea and insert each thought tactfully, so the conversation flows naturally.
Key Phrases to Use During a Job Interview
Here are some of the things you should say in an interview and when each statement will be most useful. Familiarize yourself with these talking points and you’ll be able to weave them seamlessly into the conversation.
At the Beginning of the Interview
At the beginning of the interview, your goal is to make a strong first impression on the interviewer. You want to present yourself as polite, professional, and conscientious. While you shouldn’t spend too much time on pleasantries, remember that your interviewer is a human being who will appreciate common courtesy. This will also start your interview off on the right foot!
- Start the interview with a polite greeting: “How are you today?” or “I’m pleased to meet you!”
- Thank the interviewer for meeting with you: “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today.”
- Mention who you know at the company: “I was so excited when _____ told me this position was open!”
- Express your gratitude for being considered: “I really appreciate being considered for this role.”
- Convey that you’ve researched the role and the company: "I’ve done a lot of research already, and I’m excited to learn more about your company from you.”
- Point out that you’re a great fit for the job: “I’ve reviewed the job description, and it aligns well with my experience and qualifications. I’m looking forward to talking more about these with you.”
As the Interview Is Happening
As the interview proceeds, your main concern should be to answer the interviewer’s questions thoughtfully. However, if possible you should also aim to weave in some of the following statements:
- Don’t just say you’re a match for this job: Say why. Review the job posting and match its requirements to your resume ahead of time to determine which qualifications are most valuable. Then, use examples of real-life interactions, success stories, and accomplishments from your past. Be sure to tailor your anecdotes based on the job’s specific requirements and responsibilities: “I’m a match for this job because…”
- Explain how you will add value (and help the company’s bottom line): “In previous roles, here’s what I’ve done… and this is how I will add value to your company.”
- Convey that you’re a team player: “I consider working with others to be one of my strengths.”
- Suggest that you would plan on staying with the company: “This role aligns with my long-term goals, and I’d really like to continue to build my career at this company.”
- Emphasize that you’re eager to learn and develop yourself personally and professionally: “I’m always looking to build my skills, and I’ve recently ____ (taken a course, read a book, studied a subject, etc.) which I think has really sharpened my edge in this field.”
At the End of the Interview
The end of the interview is your chance to ask questions, which is important to do in order to show genuine interest in the company. You should also demonstrate social fluency by closing out the interview gracefully.
- State that you have researched the company and want to know more about _____: “I’ve done a lot of research about this organization, and I really love _____ about you. Can you tell me more about _____?”
- Ask what goals the company is trying to meet this quarter: “Can you tell me more about the goals the company is trying to meet this quarter?”
- Convey that you really want the job—and reiterate why: “I would love to work here because _____.”
- Say that you’re ready for next steps: “The position sounds like a great fit. I’m ready for next steps, so please let me know if you need anything else from me.”
- Thank the interviewer for their time: “Thanks again for taking the time to chat today! Have a great rest of your day.”
After the Interview
Once the interview ends, you should follow up with a thank-you note sent via email or postal mail. This note should:
State that you enjoyed meeting: “I really enjoyed learning more about this role.”
Thank the interviewer for their time: “Thank you so much for taking the time to talk today.”
Convey your enthusiasm for the opportunity: “I’d be thrilled to work with this organization.”
Reiterate that you’re a good fit for the position: “As I mentioned, after learning more about your operations I strongly believe my qualifications make me an excellent fit for this role.”
Keep the lines of communication open: “Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any further questions about my experience, or if you’d like to schedule another time to chat.”
Don’t Just Practice Answers to Common Questions: Focus on the ideas you want to communicate to the hiring manager.
Review Key Statements Show Your Value: But don’t try to include every phrase in your interview, or your responses will sound canned.
Show, Don’t Tell: Weave in anecdotes that express how your skills are valuable to the company.
After the Interview, Say Thank You: Send a prompt and courteous thank-you note expressing your gratitude for the conversation.