Use These Business Terms at your Next Job Interview

Five practical tips for conducting a job interview

As we approach the new year, American society is becoming more and more competitive. With the economy struggling and budgeting becoming more crucial than ever, jobs, especially in the business department, only seek to hire those most competent in their field. One way that people judge how knowledgeable their employer is in business is their use of business jargon. Therefore, the next time you are at a job interview, here are some business terms to use that will leave a strong impression on the company:

“Open the Kimono”: Even the biggest businesses sometimes wish to keep their work secret. Therefore, you would not want to “Open the Kimono” of a company; that is, you would not want to reveal the secrets or inner workings of a company. Some projects can lead to business failure and even bankruptcy if proven unsuccessful. Thus, it is best that the business not reveal information about the project so they do not lose customers and employees. So, if the employer asks about confidentiality at the job interview, tell them that you will not “open the kimono” and they will be impressed.

“Out of Pocket”: No, we do not mean “pay out of pocket”. In the business world, saying you will be “out of pocket” means you will not be available to work certain days. For example, you may be “out of pocket” during July when you go on vacation or you may be “out of pocket” on Tuesday because you have an appointment to attend. According to literary theorist Merrill Perlmann, the term seems to date back to the 1900s when purchasing goods began to spring up and people were “out of pocket” or out of money; in other words, just like how money was unavailable, employees, too, can be unavailable. Thus, if the employer asks “What days will you be available?”, tell them “I will be out of pocket on…” (Just make sure to provide a legitimate reason!)

“Gain Traction”: It is every business’s dream to “gain traction” in the real world. In other words, every business wishes to increase in popularity, so as to increase their revenue. For example, the Zoom company, while founded in 2011, did not gain traction until 2020 when schools locked down and Zoom was used for online classes. Due to Zoom gaining traction, the revenue increased from $60 million to over $350 million, according to the “Statista” website. If you have an idea of how the business can “gain traction”, express your thoughts to the employer. They will be impressed not only at your idea but at your terminology.

“Drill Down”: The phrase “Drill Down” is the business version of saying “let’s unpack this” or “let’s investigate this”. When there is a problem in a business such as low ratings or low sales of a specific product, it is important to “drill down” into this issue to decipher a solution. In bigger corporations such as Walmart or Target, usually only a certain number of employees are ordered to drill down into a certain issue. Before the job interview, it may be best to conduct research on the deficiencies of a business so that you can tell the employer what needs to be “drilled down”.

“Giving 110%”: In such a highly reputable business, it is important for all employees to put 100% effort into all of their tasks to keep that reputation. However, what if the employees put 110% effort into their tasks? That would mean they are going above and beyond in keeping the company’s good name. Therefore, saying you will “give 110%” means you will exceed expectations for the company. Ways to give 110% include fixing problems on your own, and formulating new sales pitches. Again, saying you will “Give 110%” at a job interview will leave a strong impression as you even went above and beyond studying this jargon!

“Idea Shower”: Also known as a “thought shower”, an “idea shower” is simply another term for brainstorming. Idea showers are often conducted at business meetings in order to gain profit. Every idea is then considered together and the final pitch is expected to improve the overall health of a business. Idea showers are usually conducted about specific aspects of a business such as sales or customer service. The best idea showers are those most unique and creative that distinguishes the company from other businesses. While it may not be best to divulge these ideas at the job interview, knowledge of the term “Idea shower” will definitely benefit in the interview and in the long run.

“Moving The Goalposts”: “Moving the goalposts” can be quite a risky move in business. When an employee moves the goalposts, they attempt to change an expectation, parameter, or outcome of a project. This, in turn, can lead to “project creep” where new ideas begin to form, which can deviate from the project’s original purpose. For example, if the initial task is to come up with a catchy slogan, someone may “move the goalposts” by saying, “Maybe we should change the jingle rather than the slogan”. Now, stronger emphasis is placed on the jingle, thus shifting focus away from the slogan. “Moving the goalposts” may have positive or negative effects on a business based on how successful the goal is. However, knowledge of this term will certainly make you stand out from other candidates in the world of business.

In such a competitive country, job interviews are quite daunting. However, having a vivid vocabulary such as this will give you an advantage against other people. Even if you already work for a business, we hope this jargon will prove beneficial in your future business endeavors. Good luck, everybody!

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