We’ve posted before about things you should never do in an interview. This time around, we’re looking at things you shouldn’t say. These 10 words can hurt your chances of getting hired – if not kill them completely.
This expression is tempting for those who really, really want to sound positive and enthusiastic, but it can come off as insincere, if not completely over the top. If you want to react positively, be specific as to why an interviewer’s comment resonates with you. Genuine appreciation trumps breathless excitement most of the time.
This word muddies the waters. For instance, saying something like “I was basically a team lead” doesn’t give the interviewer any real information. Either you were a team lead, or you weren’t.
“Dedicated” is an overused word whether it appears in a cover letter, a resume, or an interview. It isn’t the differentiator you think it is, either, as it’s assumed you’ll be dedicated to your job. Look for a related phrase later.
Saying you were fired in an interview is a huge red flag to potential employers. Regardless of the circumstances under which you became a former employee of your last job, don’t use the term “fired.” It’s enough to say you were “let go” or that you simply “left” a company. And if possible, follow up with a positive result of your departure, like it allowed you to pursue a role for which you are more suited.
Whether you use this word to indicate your contempt for a food you don’t like or a former employee you couldn’t stand, it can alarm an interviewer. It suggests that, at best, you wear your feelings on your sleeve. At worst, it may leave your interviewer wondering if you’re prone to angry outbursts.
Like “basically,” “kinda” is a wishy-washy word. It also makes you sound like a teenager.
As is the case with “dedicated,” describing yourself as “motivated” won’t set you apart from other candidates. You’re expected to be motivated as a paid employee.
Talking about “stuff” is imprecise and too informal for a job interview. Find another word, and try to make it specific.
Many of us are guilty of thinking “sure” is a positive synonym for “yes,” but the truth is that it’s closer to “ok” or “I guess.” Stick to “yes” – it’ll make you sound more confident.
The shortest word on this list is also the toughest to get rid of. “Um” is what’s known as a “filler word,” and while it serves a purpose in casual conversation, it can be distracting in during an interview – particularly if it’s used a lot. Even worse, it can signal uncertainty. The best way to reduce your “um” usage is to ask your friends and family to call you out if you use “um” more than once in a few minutes. It’ll be annoying, but it can help you drop a bad verbal habit.
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