Do interviews and text speak go together? In my opinion, no.
Why? Because text speak is informal, and in interviews you need to use formal language.
Rules for text speak in English
First of all, what is text speak?
Do you know what "text speak" is? Or should I say, "do u no wt txtspk is?"
Text speak, also known as text language, SMS language, chat speak, and txttalk, is the abbreviations and slang commonly used with cell phone text messaging but also with other digital communications.
Why would I use a digital language with an interviewer?
Okay, imagine that you're about to have an interview in America or another English-speaking country. You have the name and email address of your interviewer. You want to talk to them on email or social media or SMS before the interview to get to know them.
I said before that I don't think it's a good idea to talk to your interviewer before the interview, except to make arrangements if necessary.
But sometimes (often) people don't do what I think they should do. So, if you are going to talk to your interviewer before the interview, make sure you greet them correctly and talk to them using these rules.
What is wrong with text speak?
Different situations require different styles of communication. Text speak is appropriate for informal communication - when talking to your friends, for example.
Txtspeak, I mean text speak, is not appropriate for formal communication, which is what you should use in professional situations.
Why? It sounds unprofessional and impolite. It will make you look young, uneducated, and lazy.
Sometimes your interviewer may not have a problem with text speak, but you don't know ahead of time.
Don't take a chance. Don't use it.
How to avoid text speak
Use your vowels
Text speak often involves removing vowels:
c u ltr
Put your vowels back in.
Use proper spelling and punctuation
Don't use abbreviations.
This is not how you spell "How are you?"
Other examples I see, and one that I use (but only with friends!)
OMG (my personal fave)
Textspeak is okay if you are talking to your friends, but not when you are talking to an admissions official or a potential employer or anyone who will be part of your academic or professional life.
Use proper capitalization
These words need to be in capital letters:
- the first word of every sentence
- proper nouns
I often see messages where none of the letters are capped, not even the first one in the sentence. That looks very strange and is incorrect.
Don't use more than one exclamation point
Too many exclamation marks show you’re young and inexperienced. People won't respect you.
Stickers are part of text speak. And you should not use them. I repeat, do not use stickers.
I know that they are very popular now and there is nothing wrong with them. But keep in mind that if you are trying to get into a school or get a job you need to create a professional image. Stickers are not professional. They will make you seem childish.
No. Cute, but no.
And no no no no. A blue thumb? Why is the thumb blue? I get at least 10 of these per day.
People sometimes use stickers and images to thank me for adding them as a friend. This is okay. However, see the next point.
Americans and stickers
Most American adults don't use stickers (at least professionally). When someone uses stickers in their correspondence with me I know immediately that they are not American. If you are trying to make a good impression on an American interviewer, definitely avoid using stickers in your correspondence.
Emoticons are pictures made out of facial expressions. They are usually made out of punctuation. Like this: :) happy face or :( sad face. Many phones/computers will turn these into actual pictures.
They are not professional. Do not use them with your interviewer.
Being patient is polite. What do I mean by patient?
This is not being patient.
If you don't get a response to your message, wait. Stop. Wait some more. Do not send another message.
I'm busy. We're all busy. If I'm your future interviewer, I am busy and I am trying to do my job as fast as I can. I will return your message when I can.
American professional culture
I know that it can be hard to understand American culture if you aren't American. If you look on the internet, it seems like Americans probably love stickers and emoticons and are impatient and casual. This is all true, but when we're trying to impress people professionally we become more formal and use a formal communication style.
When in doubt, be formal, because formal = professional.
Impress your interviewer
If you are going to talk to your interviewer online before your interview, follow these rules. Remember, any time you're talking to your interviewer is part of the interview, so you want to speak professionally.
Interview Genie is an interview prep company. I specialize in coaching non-native English speakers for admissions interviews or job interviews.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for to schedule a call with me.