Watch Your Language: “I” Versus “We” in Job Interviews

Bad wordsIn your next job interview: watch your language.

I’m not referring to the swear words your parents scolded you for as a kid (although there’s absolutely NO room for them in job interviews, either).

The language I’m referring to is “I” and “My” statements instead of the word “We.” Many students and friends are coming to me to practice their interview skills. And their use of language when talking about their job responsibilities (no matter how impressive) isn’t working in their favor.

Here’s why…

They refer to their experience and accomplishments as “we” instead of “me”.

In some cases, we do work as a team to complete goals; potential employers are always happy to hear how well you work in a team environment. For the most part, though, employers want to know about you – not everyone else.

When I started to see the “we” pattern emerge I asked if, in fact, they were working in a team setting. Surprisingly, most said no. Many thought that by using the word “we” it made the responsibility seem bigger and more important.

Employers will dig deeper and ask what you accomplished on that project possibly leaving you to dig yourself out of the hole you just made. The truth will come out.

Statements like, “I managed X number of people” or “My sales numbers tripled after implementing X” sound more impressive when done by one person rather than a group. Just make sure to give credit where credit is due, whether it was a group effort or you handled it independently.

In your next job interview, stick to the facts – and concentrate on the “I” accomplishments.

Sell “me”… not “we”.

For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at WetFeet!

 

WetFeet

About the Author: This post was previously published on WetFeet.com and has been reprinted with permission. WetFeet provides career advice through our magazine, insider guide series, and website. Our mission is to equip job seekers with the advice, research, and inspiration to plan and achieve a successful career. Follow WetFeet on Twitter!

 

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