What you say in interview matters least in interview outcome

A UK based career company, Working Smart, recently published an interview advisory for candidates and reminded job seekers that:

7-10% is what you say
20-30% is how you say it
60-80% is your image, your body language and the overall impression you create

We share this view too, and we explain further:

7-10% is what you say

  • Most interviewers know that there are almost standardized answers to most interview questions, so they hardly bother much about what you say.
  • Most job seekers would have gone to the internet, gotten standard responses to standard questions, maybe do little tweaks, and rehash the old story: I am a go-getter. I am hardworking and honest. I will never compromise my integrity. My weakness is I don’t have patience with slow co-workers and I am improving on it…blablabla
  • For technical questions – e.g what is your view of Nigerian economy? What do you know about oil and gas industry? What is your view on banking sector reforms? What is the difference between Financial Accounting and Cost Accounting? How do you calculate NPV of a project? etc – they know that any decent job seeker that got to interview stage in the first place would have something  reasonable to say. Okay, what they say will be more reasonable than the other, and the differences in what they say (one says something more brilliant than the other) will make up the 10% or less of the differences in outcome influenced by this factor.

20-30% is how you say it

  • In interviews, you can deliver a bad answer so fancifully, or say a good answer so poorly.
  • It is most times better to deliver a bad answer so fancifully than a good answer so poorly.
  • How you say it also covers your communication skills. If you are horrible in delivery, in communication, it can turn off your interviewer and he will not even be interested in what you are saying, no matter how good they are.
  • Articulation, good presentation skills, good command of language, are all embedded under “how you say it”.

60-80% is your image, your body language and the overall impression you create

  • Now, the biggest factor. Within few minutes, most interviewers make up their mind on your suitability for the job
  • Body language answers questions like: Is this guy confident? Is he greedy? Is he a fast thinker? Can he handle tough situation? Can he think on his feet?
  • It is also very good to dress very good and look handsome or beautiful. Okay, we are not saying those who are naturally ugly or with tribal marks don’t get job. We are only saying dress to look good. You can look good even with the tribal carving. LOL.

All the best.

Engage JARUSHUB for your next interview preparation.


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