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15 Words You Should Never Use In A Job Interview.

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15 Words You Should Never Use In A Job Interview.

Receiving an invitation for a job interview can be an exciting time – especially after you’ve been job-searching for a while.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to kill off all your chances of getting a job by saying just a few wrong words during your job interview.

To make sure your job interview leads to the next round or a job offer, here’s a list of words which you should aim to avoid.

Um..

The biggest problem with this word is that you’re probably unaware of how much you use it.

If you listened to a recording of yourself, you’d probably be surprised (and probably horrified) at the amount of “umming” you do.

Unfortunately, this makes you look less polished during a job interview.

One of the best ways to remove this filler from your vocabulary is to let your friends and family know that you want their help and they can profit from it. Tell them that you’ll pay a dollar to every person who catches you using it.

Kinda.

Not only does this word make you sound like a teenager, it also introduces vagueness into your answers.

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To make sure you come across confident and mature, replace “kinda” with clear “yes” or “no”. Follow your answer with a clear reason why you’ve taken that position.

Hate.

Nobody likes a hater. When a hiring manager or recruiter hears you say that word, they hear “high risk candidate”.

Avoid aiming this word at anyone or anything during your job interview. This includes “pet hates”, as well as feelings towards companies, ex-colleagues and – especially – bosses you’ve had.

Any Curse Word

Even if you think the company culture might find such words acceptable, don’t risk it at the interview stage.

You’re risking coming across as unprofessional and crass. ‘Nuff said.

Perfectionist

This is the most popular among overused, meaningless cliches.

There was a time when “I’m a perfectionist” was a clever way to get out of a question about your weaknesses. These days, any interviewer worth their salt will see through this ploy and cringe on the inside at your answer (and maybe on the outside, as well).

Basically

It’s tempting to use this word as a prelude to your achievements. For example, “Basically, I was responsible for flying the capsule to the Moon and back.”

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Unfortunately, doing this also diminishes you. So, unless you’re Buzz Aldrin, skip it and launch straight into your answer.

I

In today’s culture-centric employment world, you’re only as good as your ability to work as part of a team.

While competitiveness is a great trait to demonstrate, overusing sentences like “I was the top salesperson in my company” can give off the impression that you’ll take it too far, pushing your colleagues down and aside in order to get to the top.

By all means, brandish your achievements, but let your interviewer know what that meant for the team and/or the company. For example, “I was the top salesperson in my last role during 2013, which meant I was able to exceed my targets by $1.2 million during that year.”

Sure

It’s tempting to use this word to communicate “it’s almost a yes.”

However, doing this also chips away at your ability to appear confident. Just as with “Kinda” above, it’s best to remove any ambiguity about where you stand.

Use a firm “yes” or “no” instead, expanding on your position if necessary by providing reasons and examples.

Amazing

This is a word which is often used as a filler to convey positivity. The hiring manager might say, for example, “We just spent $20 million on a brand new office fit-out.”

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Instead of blurting out “Amazing!” to validate that choice, take a moment to think about the reasons behind such a move and provide analysis which the interviewer would find relevant. For example: “That must have done wonders for employee satisfaction.”

Whatever

“Whatever” is usually used to communicate that you’ve given up. It shows that you lost power and withdrew from the issue, instead of achieving an outcome which you found satisfactory.

It also makes you sound immature and dismissive – using it will communicate to the interviewer that you’re trouble.

Stuff

Not only is this word overly casual in tone, it introduces ambiguity into your answers.

It can be tempting end your answer with it when you’re struggling to add detail – for example, “You now – stuff like that.” Doing sufficient research and practicing your answers will reduce that desire. Your interviewer doesn’t, in fact, know – they want to hear it from you in detail.

Dedicated

In today’s job market, everyone is dedicated. It’s no longer a differentiating feature.

It’s also a hollow, overused cliche which shows that you probably copied your answers from the Internet, rather than preparing sufficiently for the interview by thinking about the role and your career.

Demonstrate to your interviewer that you’re dedicated by talking about your achievements

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Motivated

This also includes synonymous buzz-words like “self-starter” and “enthusiastic.”

You might think that you’re telling your interviewer that you don’t need a babysitter, but all they’re thinking at that moment is “Thanks for the obvious. You’re wasting my time.” You might as well tell them that you have a pulse.

Learn

Don’t ever tell your interviewer that you’re applying for a job to “learn.”

It’s true that you’re expected to learn, but the primary motivation for applying should be your your ability to contribute something to the company that no-one else can.

Fired

You want to avoid this word at all costs. It can contextualize you in the interviewer’s mind as a troublemaker, and once that context is set, everything positive about you will be diminished and everything negative will be amplified.

Having been fired doesn’t automatically put you into the “no” pile. However, not being able to talk about it diplomatically will.

If you were fired due to under-performance, use the words “let go” instead. Explain how you used the experience to become a better employee. “I’m glad it happened because I needed to become a better marketer. In my next role I created a direct response campaign which exceeded the targets by 20%.”

Featured photo credit: Alejandro Escamilla via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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