There are a variety of phrases people frequently use to describe themselves, their work, a situation or their lives. Or to qualify a situation. You may find yourself using them without giving a second thought to how they sound or how they are perceived by the person you are speaking to since they are such an integral part of your vocabulary.
In fact, since we all occasionally use them we’re used to hearing them; they’re simply part of the average conversation. Yet when these same phrases are included in a Resume or online profile – or spoken during an interview – they can suggest you are weak. And bottom line – cause an interviewer to question whether hiring you is best for their company.
1) “I think I’ve said almost everything there is to say about that…’ No interviewer wants to hear that phrase. On the surface it can be considered rude; it’s not a proper response to any question; it could mean you’re hiding information. A response like this could easily get you eliminated from consideration for the job.
2) “I kinda, sorta have thought I might want to do that” is your response when an interviewer mentions projects which may come up in the performance of the job you’re interviewing for. Using these words points to an indecisive person who can’t be depended upon to fulfill the job requirements.
3) “Jack, my assistant, is challenging to manage” is your response to an interviewer’s statement ‘Tell me about managing your department’. This is another response no interviewer wants to hear. It could suggest you are a poor manager; you blame others for your failures or short-comings; you are a poor communicator, for example.
4) “Maybe I’ll take that new skills course you’ve mentioned (upgrade my certification, head back to college”) when the interviewer mentions how it’s important to upgrade a specific skill, for example, to get the job.
If a job requires specific skills, certifications and/or education – and you don’t possess them – first it’s best not to apply for that job and second, using the word ‘maybe’ in your response can quickly turn an interviewer away from you; and get you eliminated. No interviewer, or decision-maker, wants to sales pitch any job candidate into upgrading their skills to fill a job; especially if those skill requirements were clearly stated in the job ad. If you applied, you should already possess them. Plus the word ‘maybe’ suggests you are negotiating with the interviewer; a definite never-do unless you are in a discussion about salary.
5) “Sometimes I feel…..”. Starting any sentence with these words puts you on a slippery downhill slope you may never recover from. While this is a phrase you may start a statement you’re about to share with a family member, best friend or intimate, it is never a phrase to start any statement during an interview. Depending what the entire statement is, you could be sharing very personal information which will not help you get the job. A statement, like this, can easily point out your shortcomings, your inability to take charge or manage. In short, it can point out a variety of vulnerabilities no interviewer wants to hear. Furthermore – to an interviewer – these words strongly suggest you’ll be incapable of performing the job at hand at peak level.
12 Never-Use Words During an Interview:
3) Any version of a curse word
4) ‘I am a perfectionist’
10) Never state you want the job so you can ‘learn’. While every interviewer expects you to learn something new on the job, more importantly they expect you to contribute. To come into an interview well-prepared to do the job at hand.
11) Unfortunately….. – Usually suggests you knew something was about to happen but did nothing about it. Never a word an interviewer wants to hear.
12) ‘I was fired’ – Fired is a word you should avoid using, at all costs, during an interview.
Start now eliminating these words from your vocabulary. Nothing says non-professional like using the words ‘awesome’ or ‘cool’ during an interview, a decision-maker or with the company president or CEO.
Jean L. Serio CEIC, CPC, CDI, CeMA