What To Say at the Beginning of an Interview?

For many people, job interviews can be stressful. You want to land that job, you’ve managed to get through to the interview phase and you sure don’t want to screw it up. While there is more to a job interview than what you say – such as body language, for example – much of the interview process is a verbal exchange. You want to say the right things and not the wrong things.

Let’s take a look at what to say in an interview, especially at the beginning of the interview process, so you give yourself every chance of being successful by getting off on the right foot.

The Greeting

This is where first impressions really come into play. You’ve already made sure you’re dressed for the part and have all the paperwork you might need. Now it’s time to greet the interviewer and speak for the very first time. Often a handshake will be involved as part of the greeting, but what should you say?

Some good examples of the initial greeting and follow up lines would be:

  • “Hi, it’s great to meet you”
  • “Thank you for meeting me today”
  • “Good morning/afternoon. Pleased to meet you”
  • “Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the position”
  • “I’m excited to be considered for the role”
  • “The position you have is a great fit for my experience”

These are just a few general examples of opening lines and follow-up lines when you first meet your interviewer. No matter what you decide to say, be polite, friendly, and professional, and don’t stumble over your words as if you have no idea what to say. Be enthusiastic and sound like you’re excited to be there.

Be Mindful of Your Body Language

You’ve greeted your interviewer confidently. Now it’s time to take a seat and get started. Whatever you do, maintain a good posture. Don’t slouch in the chair or sit with your arms folded in a defensive gesture. Be relaxed, perhaps with your hands in your lap, but sit upright and remain looking confident. Be sure to use hand gestures when asking or answering questions so you don’t appear stiff and unnatural.

Have Some Questions Prepared To Ask

You don’t want to sit through the entire interview simply answering questions fired at you. You also want to ask some questions yourself, as this shows you are genuinely interested in the job and have put some thought into the interview.

What are some questions you should ask? This will depend on the job role, the company, what you’re hoping to achieve, and so on but here are a few quick examples:

  • “What can I expect a typical workday/week to look like?”
  • “Is there scope for career advancement?”
  • “What plans does the company have for the future?”
  • “What are you looking for in an ideal candidate?”
  • “Is there any overtime involved?”
  • “What can I do to impress you within the first few months?”

As an aside to what questions you might like to ask, refrain from talking about wages, salaries, and bonuses unless the interviewer brings it up first. This can always be discussed once an offer of employment has been made.

How To Respond If Asked About Your Weaknesses

Invariably, many interviewers will ask a question or two regarding what you consider your weaknesses to be. This is something many people stumble over or haven’t mentally prepared for prior to the interview.

If you’re asked a question like this and you’re not sure how to respond, take your time. Don’t just blurt out an answer. Take a moment to formulate your best response. It’s best to mention a weakness that’s not directly related to the skills required to do the job. Rather, something more on a personal level such as being impatient or along those lines. Mention that you’re working on the weakness, so you sound as if you’re proactive about self-improvement.

The Wrap

The beginning phase of a job interview is crucial but if you prepare what you’re going to say, you will come across as both professional and confident. It’s also a good idea to come up with a list of questions you want to ask throughout the interview and prepare answers for expected questions.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that grow their businesses. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog, Entrepreneur-Resources.net.

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