Words to avoid in your job interview

what not to say at your job interview

It’s normal to struggle to talk about your skills in an interview situation, it can feel a bit unnatural. As a result, you can fall into the trap of using words that downplay your abilities. Some words are cliché and overused. It’s worth taking the time to think of words to avoid in an interview situation to set yourself apart from the rest.

Words that downplay your abilities

In an interview situation you want to be putting your best self forward and you want to sell yourself, but you are also trying to be modest, and you don’t want to come across arrogant. As a result, a lot of people fall into the trap of using vocabulary that downplay abilities and accomplishments. These words suggest you are not comfortable with your achievements:

  • Just & Only – It’s important to be honest but saying something like: ‘I just have basic skills’ or ‘I only helped in the project’ sounds like you are really not confident in what you were doing and actually highlights what you might be lacking.
  • We – Practice saying ‘I’ instead. Your interviewer wants to know the impact you personally made and what your contribution was to a successful outcome.

Overused words to avoid

Some words have been so overused that your interviewer just won’t take you seriously, especially when you are being asked about your weaknesses. Examples are:

  • Perfectionist – this is no longer seen as ‘a positive weakness’. It’s probably the answer that most people are giving and actually suggests that you may spend an unnecessary amount time on certain tasks and that you may not be very efficient. If being a perfectionist actually is an issue for you though phrase it in a different way with how you are looking to improve, for example: ‘I set high standards for myself but am learning to recognise when a task has been completed well enough and when to move on to make more efficient use of my time’.
  • Workaholic – these days people want to see that you have a healthy work-life balance, and the term ‘workaholic’ is no longer favourable. Try describing yourself using the word ‘hardworking’ or say that you are focused on getting outcomes and that you are happy to put in the extra time to achieve these results.

Words you should use

Points that start with: ‘I identified’, ‘I developed’, ‘I implemented’, are strong action statements that come across confident and positive. Try using the STAR method: Situation, Task, Actions, Result. Consider the task you set out to achieve, the actions you took, describe your actions and share your results. Give your interviewer evidence to show you will be able to successfully manage your new role. Remember to back up your words with specific examples.

With preparation, practice and thought regarding the vocabulary and phrases you will be using in your next job interview, you will be sure to be putting yourself forward in the best light.

Any more questions

If you have any more questions about your career path, give the team at Cavanagh Recruitment a call. Contact Us.

Cavanagh & Associates Ltd

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