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10 words you should never use in an interview

You submitted your resume to your dream company three weeks ago and they finally got back to you to schedule an interview! You’re excited because you’ve been given a chance to impress them face-to-face and you want to make sure you get this right.

Besides a resume filled with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, you can botch a job opportunity if you say the wrong thing once you sit down for an interview.

Take note of these no-nos when it comes to landing a job:

“Like” and “Ummm”
Example: “In my old job, I used to, like, um, manage a team of five.”
Avoid fillers at all costs. They make you seem as though you’re not sure what to say next. It reflects unpreparedness, which might leave a lasting impression on your interviewer, but definitely not a good one. Other examples of fillers include ‘y’know’, ‘umm’ and ‘whatnot’. Instead, if you need time to think, just pause, and continue.

Curse words
An example isn’t necessary here – curse words are a huge no-no! To the interviewer, you sound impolite and uncouth, and the last thing you want is to come across as unprofessional to your future employer.

That means: no, full stop. Never answer a question with a ‘no’ and stop there without elaboration. In fact, never reply with a one-word answer. Instead, impress your interviewer by explaining yourself and giving some context to your answer.

Example: “I’m sorry, but I don’t understand the question.”
Nothing wrong with not understanding a question, but don’t apologise for it! This may be a filler word to some but it may reflect a serious lack of confidence if overused. You may use the word in the attempt to show how humble and down-to-earth you are, but apologising every two minutes of your interview makes you look indecisive and passive. The only time sorry is acceptable is if you are running late – and even then you should have called ahead to apologise and warn them, not simply turn up 10 minutes late!

Example: “Leading a team? Oh no, I hate taking on too much responsibility.”
You shouldn’t be too passive, but avoid being aggressive as well. Skip the negative language during your interview and don’t say that you “hate” doing something. Instead, explain your strengths in other areas where you shine, and how that could benefit this employer. Also, it should go without saying, that you should never, ever criticise your current or previous job and employer. Telling an interviewer how much you hate your current boss isn’t exactly going to fill them with glee or give them a sense they can trust you.

Example: “I organised events and coordinated the manpower required, stuff like that”
Too casual. Give them context! Give them specifics. What other ‘stuff’ are you talking about? The interviewer would definitely like you to elaborate on that in detail.

Example: “I am totally dedicated to helping my team reach their goals.”
Well, yeah, who isn’t dedicated? This word has been so sorely overused when interviewees are asked to describe themselves, it’s no longer a differentiating factor. Skip the resume-fluff. Demonstrate your dedication by talking about your achievements instead and explaining why and how you achieved them.

Because it makes you sound like a 15-year-old, apathetic teenager. It also reflects your unprofessionalism because it’s usually used to communicate that you’ve given up, or really just can’t be bothered.

Example: “I need to have a standing desk because I like to stretch my legs at work.”
Talking about your wants and needs isn’t exactly what the interviewer wants to hear in the first instance. They want to know what you can do for them. Instead of telling them what you need to be happy, you should be telling your interviewer how you can contribute and fulfil the company’s needs. The other details of your needs or desires can be discussed later.

Don’t bring up employee-benefits when the interviewer asks what you like about the company. Again, it shows how you’re only in it for the perks and fails to reflect your ability in contributing to the company.

You probably won’t destroy your chances of getting the job if you use one of the above words during the interview, but overusing them might not leave a great impression on your interviewer. Avoid these words and your communication skills may improve by leaps and bounds.

Think you can score that interview? Apply for jobs here!

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