I Listen to the Things You Say

By on November 5, 2012

As a recruiter for Hyatt’s College Programs, I interview a fair amount of students each year for both internships and management trainee roles. When you have only a short amount of time to determine if a candidate is right for a role with your organization, you listen intently to every word that is said.

There are interviews that make this recruiter’s heart leap with the excitement of finding a strong candidate, and interviews that make me cringe with each answer. Often it comes down to the choice of words a candidate uses during an interview.


For example, when I ask you to tell me about your internship or your most recent employment experience, you respond and say that you “had to deal with customers” or you “dealt with reconciling financial accounts”.

How can you tell me that you’re a people person and love interacting with the public, but then tell me that all summer you had to “deal” with customers? I see a contradiction here and although it may not have been your intention, the phrase conveys that your experience was negative and one that you tolerated more than enjoyed.


Although I’m impressed when you tell me you founded a student organization and now are the president of “Future Executives and Leaders”, I’m puzzled when you tell me you’re the “president of FEL”. The hospitality industry is full of acronyms, but I’ve learned that college campuses have us beat!

You tell me you are the “President of GHI” or “volunteer regularly with MNO”, and I can probably speak for my recruiter peers when I tell you that it is likely we have no idea what those acronyms mean. Assume your recruiter is unfamiliar with the organization and use its proper name.  Your usage of acronyms during an interview may be selling yourself short.

“I see myself…”

Recruiters are avid users of open ended questions. We want the details and pose questions that encourage elaboration. What’s key is that while elaborating, you support your interests and express your passion. For example, if at the beginning of the interview you say you “see yourself staying close to your hometown”, but later in the interview say you’re “open to relocation”, it’s likely that the recruiter will have a hard time believing you because there is now a conflict with an earlier statement. My best advice is to be honest and offer the truth, not the responses you feel your recruiter will want to hear.

Much like a person considering the purchase of a home, walking through the rooms imagining themselves living in this new space, during an interview I’m imaging you working within our organization. The stories you tell, examples you share, the words you use, all help me draw a mental picture.  Choosing your words carefully will ensure that picture is one of success.

About Ronisha

One of Hyatt's Regional Talent Acquisition Managers, Ronisha recruits for Hyatt's College Programs and supports our full-service locations within the East Coast and Midwestern regions of the United States. A lover of all things "social", you can follow her on Twitter at @ronishagoodwin