Interviewer: “Please tell me more about your experience with (skills ABC) while you were working at (employer XYZ).

Job Candidate: “I um, did this one project, uh, one time, it was like, a program that, like, made it easy to put numbers stuff where it belonged.”

This is not what anyone would consider as a good way to speak in any situation, let alone an interview for a position in the professional world, yet it happens all too often.  Speaking clearly no matter your skill level is absolutely paramount to making a highly positive first impression on your potential employers.

If you tend to include “uh”, “um”, or “like” when speaking in front of other people, it’s time to polish up a bit and work on removing these fillers and pause words from your dictation.  Speech disfluency can be common from time to time, but that fact doesn’t make it good practice.  Often, the use and especially the over-use of these words can come across as bumbling, lazy, or having incomplete or incoherent thoughts and knowledge on the subject.

Taking your time and being able to think through your responses to communicate your knowledge and understanding of the questions being asked goes a very long way and shows the potential employer that you are well spoken under pressure.  A few good ways to avoid falling into this habit are to practice discussing potential interview questions with a friend or family member, spend some time thinking about and reviewing your background ahead of time, and when in the moment, remember to periodically take a breath and let your mind slow down a bit since it is very easy to get ahead of yourself when you’re nervous or excited.

Making a great first impression can be a challenge, but clear and concise communication will always help show the interviewer more confidence and give you a leg up over the, um, others, who like, do a good job at stuff.