Advertising
Advertising

15 Words You Should Never Use In A Job Interview.

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.

Advertising

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.”

Advertising

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.”

Advertising

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

Advertising

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

More by this author

become freelance writer 13 Best (and Worst) Things About Becoming A Freelance Writer. human resources recruitment careers 12 Human Resources Blogs You Need to Start Following personal branding jobseekers Personal Branding 101: Essential Guide For Job Seekers. building a business 31 Things You Can Do To Build A $1 Million Dollar Business In 3 Years. why being an entrepreneur rocks 10 Unexpected Reasons Why Being An Entrepreneur Rocks

Trending in Work

1 7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success 2 The Savvy Employees Guide to Asking for a Raise 3 How to Master the Art of Stress Free Work 4 23 Things to Keep in Mind When Preparing for an Interview 5 20 Critical Skills to Add to Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

Advertising

  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

Advertising

  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

Advertising

What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

Advertising

Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

More Tips on Advancing Your Career

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next