9 Words You Should Never Use in an Interview

9 Words You Should Never Use in an Interview

Navigating an interview is already hard enough without stumbling over one of the most classic pitfalls in any interview: saying the wrong thing. It's easier than you think to start building a wall of doubt between you and the interviewer, so we've put together a list of the most common off-limits words to keep you on track for landing that dream job, whatever it may be.

1. Um

I'm putting this one first for two reasons: first, because you already knew it would be listed and there's no point putting it off, and second, because this is probably the one you're most likely to say. Don't.

Give yourself a little time before answering to ensure you avoid any filler words. An interviewer will appreciate someone who puts thought into their answers far more than someone who responds immediately with a sentence half made up of "um"s and "uh"s. (Don’t panic if one or two slip in, but practicing can help you reduce the chances of umming your way through a question.)

2. Kinda

You want to avoid appearing unsure of anything. You don't kind of enjoy marketing or working with lots of people. You enjoy it. You're not kind of okay with working overtime. You won't do it. Interviewers can see right through "safe" answers, so you might as well just say what you mean.

3. Basically

You don't need to undermine your achievements OR insult the person who decides if you get the job by using "basically." Say what you were going to say, but drop what you will now consider to be the B-word.

4. Perfectionist

I get it. Someone told you to list this as your greatest weakness as a way to avoid listing an actual weakness. I know. So does your interviewer. I promise you; they are sick of hearing it.

5. Sure

This comes back to what we were talking about with "kinda." Don't say "sure." Say yes. Interviewers want to know that you're confident in yourself. So show them!

6. Fired

The last impression you want to give someone before you're even hired is that you're someone who gets fired. So, if you have been fired, you may want to phrase it a bit more delicately. Terms like "let go" exist for a reason.

One final thing; if it is necessary for them to know that you were let go, make sure to make the interviewer see how this was a positive thing. Something that makes you more of an asset to their company, or a positive thing you learned from it, rather than someone who will drag them down in the long run.

7. Nervous

Seeming nervous during an interview is already posing a risk. Don't make it worse by actually saying that you're nervous. People in the hiring department aren't looking for some mousy hire-on who will always stay quiet and sit in the back row. Companies want people who will effect change and contribute to a positive and lively work environment. So even if you have to fidget throughout the whole interview, make sure you don't say a single thing about your nervous habits, or what's causing them, to the person who determines your future career.

8. Sorry

Unless you accidentally spill coffee all over some poor woman's blouse during your interview, chances are there is no reason for you to be sorry. Don't say you're sorry if you need time to think. Don't say you're sorry if you can't think of an answer. Just don't. You are confident. You can do nothing wrong. Or at least that's what we want them to think!

9. Actually

Think of the last time someone started a sentence with the word "actually," and you felt like you wanted to know them better afterwards. You can't, can you? Or if you can, they were probably a motivational speaker and somehow managed to make the most degrading word come out in a positive light. Unfortunately for you, you are (as far as I know) not a motivational speaker, so keep your "actually” to yourself. If the interviewer says something that's not entirely true, steer them back to what is right, don't make them feel like they're in the wrong. Wounding a hiring manager's pride is like shooting yourself in the foot, and it “kinda” makes you look like a jerk.

These are only a few examples, but if you steer clear of these words (and their synonyms!) you'll be well on your way to the position (and salary) that you've always dreamed of!

Related: Here's What Questions You Should Never Answer in an Interview



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