INTERVIEWS / JUN. 13, 2015
version 4, draft 4

Words to Avoid Using in a Job Interview


During any job interview, first impressions are very important. Interviewers will be looking at how you are dressed, as well as your body language. All these will play a significant role in your chances of getting the job. More importantly, interviewers will be taking a keen interest in what you say and how you say it. This is why you need to choose your words carefully when attending an interview.  

Here are some of the words which could lower your chances of success at an interview:

See also: Top 10 Ways to Lose a Job Before You Even Get to the Interview

1. Try

The word try is vague and could indicate a lack of commitment. For example, saying ‘I try to get along with other people’, ‘I try to exercise every morning’ or ‘I try to read two books every month’ does not mean much. This word is likely to leave an interviewer with questions about your commitment to what you are saying. Instead, you should say ‘I exercise every morning’ or ‘I read two books every month’.  

2. Hate

Hate is a very strong word that many people use in everyday conversations, including interviews. This word is especially used in relation to a current employer or a previous job. For instance, when asked about your former job, you might say ‘I hated working for that company’, ‘I hated working for my boss’ or ‘I hate the way…’ While it is OK to detest how things are done by some people, the word hate should never be used at an interview. It portrays you as a subjective and negative individual.

3. Honestly

When you are giving an honest opinion about something at an interview, it is not necessary to use the word ‘honestly’. When you begin a statement by saying ‘to be honest’ or ‘honestly’, some interviewers might not think much about it. However, others might get the impression that you are trying to hide something. Everything else you say after that will be treated with suspicion. This could end up costing you the job, despite the fact that you might sincerely be honest.

4. Perfectionist

Many people try to impress interviewers by saying that they are perfectionists. This is usually in response to the question ‘What are your weaknesses?’ However, using this word can end up working against you. A perfectionist is someone who is not happy unless everything meets their exceptionally high standards. Since perfection is almost always impossible to attain, the interviewer will assume that you might not find fulfilment in the job. In addition, it would appear that you will have a hard time getting along with colleagues or subordinates who don’t meet your standards.

5. Um

Other variations of this word could be ‘urh’, ‘hmm’ or ‘erm.’ These are filler words which people use when they are trying to think of an appropriate response. However, using such words during an interview can have very detrimental effects. If you always use filler words before responding to questions, it could appear that you are unprepared, slow or simply not conversant with the subject matter. Therefore, if you need time to think, just take a silent pause.

6. I

If you use the word ‘I’ too much during an interview, it might appear that you are a self-centred individual and not a team player. Therefore, find creative ways of making statements without always using I. For example, instead of saying ‘I’m a very creative person’ say ‘Creativity played a major role in my previous job’. You should also find as many opportunities as possible to use the word ‘We’.

See also: How to Always Have the Answer to All Interview Questions

These are just a few of the words you should avoid using at an interview. Can you think of any others? Please share with us in the comments section below.


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