Many at times as a job seeker you always leave an interview feeling great only to hear that the company won’t be moving forward with you, or worse still: you won’t hear anything at all. In situations like those, you might wonder: What did I do wrong?
It just might be the case that the actual words you’re using in your interview are actually your greatest undoing.
Take a look at the following words and phrases which could be spelling doom to your job search process and make sure to eliminate them from your interview vocabulary
1. “I really want this job.”
No employer wants to deal with a desperate soul and when you use such words, you squarely present yourself as one.
When you use the phrase to denote passion and enthusiasm on your part as a candidate, you discredit your chances of getting any positive interview feedback. Instead you should opt for words that make you appear confident and competent — not as a hopeless applicant seeking a means to an end.
Replacing “I really want this job” with “I’m very excited that you requested an interview with me, and I look forward to discussing the details of the position” will work quite positively for you.
2. “Does this position include benefits?”
Knowing when to bring up the money and other benefits conversation during an interview could be the determinant of whether you will secure the job or not.
The mistake interviewees make is asking this question too soon. Never bring it up unless or until the employer has extended an offer.
When brought up too early in the interview conversation, the employer will definitely assume you core interest is the money and not the role.
Avoid the money question in the initial stages and instead seek to find out how you could ultimately help the company reach their business goals.
An awesome alternative would be something like “How do you see this position moving the organization toward the mission we’ve discussed.”
We all have that awkward moment when our minds just go blank. While it’s a common occurrence to humanity, handling it wisely during an interview is critical in winning a job opportunity.
Avoid the usual “Um…” followed by that awkward pause because it makes you sound empty headed rather than thoughtful.
To avoid using the “Um”phrase instead be quick to fill the thoughtful silence using words like “That’s a great question. Let me take a moment to think about it.” This way, you’ll come across as calm and collected rather than nervous.
4. “Like… / I think… / you know…”
Using the above filler words or terms will do much damage to your chances just like someone using “Um”. They present you as someone lacking in both confidence and intelligence.
While some of this phrases just blurt out of our lips, it is then quite important to build a degree of self awareness in as far as your usage of such terms is concerned. This will help you to consciously avoid them.
Practice is key here. Record yourself answering mock interview questions to see how bad your filler words are. Then work to improve upon that.
Also, eradicate passive phrases like ‘I think’ and ‘you know’ with more confident and directive statements which will boost your own confidence and make you sound more impressive to the hiring manager.
5. “As I already said…”
Using this phrase may imply either of the following: The recruiter wasn’t listening thus you had to reiterate or reference a previously stated or used situation, skill or accomplishment or even worse that as a candidate you lack in requisite skills or experience thus you keep reiterating what has already been covered.
Neither of the above is good for your interview success.
An easy way to avoid this is by thinking up some more situations that describe your expertise to draw from in advance.
A good exercise before the interview is to review the job description and write out relevant stories for each one of the responsibilities.
This way, when the employer asks about a similar situation, then you have relevant stories to share.
6. Hard-working, fast-learner, self-motivated, etc.
This are all flashy terms that lack in substance and meaning.
Neither do they describe what makes you a special candidate nor do they show whether you are a good fit for the company.
Instead of using them, practice telling a short and specific story that show how you worked hard, or learned fast.
Personal, relevant anecdotes will set you apart from most candidates, and could be the most memorable part of your interview.
7. “What are my chances of getting hired?”
Everyone wants to know their hire-ability chances after an interview but it is wise to actually not ask the question.
This phrase or question makes a job candidate look worse than being desperate.Instead you may opt to use a positive statement to express your desire to work in that firm.
Use a statement like “The prospect of working here is really exciting, and I think I’d be a great addition to your team.”
8. Fired, hate, terrible, etc.
Words like these are fine if you’re venting outside of the office to a close friend or significant other. But during the interview? Not so much.
Avoid negative language and put-downs, whether referring to yourself, previous jobs, work environments, or the world in general. No one wants to hire a negative person.
Even if you’ve had some genuinely difficult experience in the past, show that you can keep your cool under pressure, and can be a discreet, forgiving and generous team member.
Learn to talk positively about what you are looking for instead of focussing on a negative past which will only hurt your chances.
Hiring managers or recruiters already understand that if you are looking for a new job you must not be happy at your current one — no need to belabor the point.
Focus on why you want to join their team instead.
9. “My manager and I didn’t get along.”
Imagine you are talking to your potential new manager and you are already telling him/her that you and your previous/current manager don’t get along. What would you expect, of course not a pat on your back.
When hiring a new team member, hiring managers want to ensure that the folks they bring on board will gel with them and the team. Do not use terms that portray you as someone who is difficult to work with.
Instead, try saying something like “I’ve spent the past 2 years at Ever Lead Africa and I’ve learned a lot from that experience. But I’m looking for something that has more growth potential, challenging projects and a team that is diverse and forward-thinking.
The key is to focus on the opportunity ahead, not the opportunity behind you. Be grateful and be ready to move on.
10. “I’m a perfectionist.”
If you want to see eyes rolling and almost popping out of the socket of a hiring manager then mention that you are a perfectionist when asked the question, “What is your greatest weakness?”
The weakness question is normally meant to check your level of Self awareness. When you lay claim of being a perfectionist you depict a character who is inauthentic, pompous and one who hasn’t really thought through his/her real weaknesses.
Instead give a real weakness. It could be procrastination, public speaking, data analysis — whatever it is, just make sure it isn’t crucial to the success of you doing your job and always explain how you are working to improve upon it.
11. “Just / actually / I am no expert but…”
Job candidates who have low self esteem have a tendency of using words that undermine their authority or convey insecurity.
Other job candidates often lean on these words in an attempt to sound humble or hedge their opinions, but believe me: words like these aren’t doing you any favors in interviews.
As part of developing your self awareness, you need to get to the root cause of your language patterns, and to work on shifting them if you want long term positive career results.
In the short term, you can work towards this if you practice getting straight to the point: instead of saying ‘Actually, I was wondering if I may ask,’ ask the question without a preamble, and get used to [skipping] ‘just,’ ‘a little,’ and other words that do not move the conversation forward.
12. “I don’t really have any questions about the company.”
The hiring team prepared for you, the big question is, did you prepare for them?
Recruiters aren’t just being polite when they ask if you have any questions for them about the company or position. They seriously want to gauge your interest in and knowledge of the company.
If you prepared well, then you will have smart questions for the interviewer(s) and you can always use the opportunity well by asking this 6 powerful and smart questions to the recruiter or hiring manager
13. “When can I start?”
Instead of presenting you as someone who is interested in the job, the above question will cast an image of one who is arrogant, presumptuous and unprofessional.
Do not ask such a question even if you feel the interview was a walk in the park.
Instead a polite “Thank you very much for your time! I look forward to hearing from you soon.” will do a great job for your job chances.