Interview Language: Be Careful What You Say and How You Say it

interview languageIf you’re not acing your job interviews, the words you use could be part of the problem. Fortunately, your interview language is fairly easy to fix.

Here are eight words to eliminate from the language you use during your job interviews… and why.


Psychology Today calls this word a passive aggressive term that you should not use in any field. It can suggest that you do not plan to give a particular task all of your effort, which won’t impress many interviewers. Using this word can also indicate that you lack passion, since it is noncommittal.


This is another noncommittal word. It doesn’t display any confidence in your ability to make a decision or complete a task. Among the most passive of the words that make up our job interview language, this is one you must avoid.


Even if you are describing a difficult project at your last job, or are somehow putting this word into a positive context, it probably won’t help you win favor with interviewers. That’s because, according to Live Science, studies show that the brain has a negative reaction to words that describe pain. In fact, such terms can bring on memories of painful experiences in others. This is not how you want your interviewer to remember you. So be sure to stay away from “grueling,” “tormenting,” “torture” and similar words that run the risk of triggering bad associations.


Studies show that the brain remembers bad things more clearly than good things. When you bring up words with negative connotations, including “fired” or “terminated,” it could leave a bad impression with interviewers since they will remember the negative things you said more than the positive.


You might assume that being a workaholic is appealing to employers, but Fortune reports that it could indicate that you do not know how to prioritize. If you have to work overtime on a consistent basis just to get the job done, you might not be very effective at work during regular hours. Plus, not all employers want someone chained to the desk; many want you to be well-rounded as a person.


Try to avoid using this word much, if at all. You might want to show that you can work well in a team, but according to The Houston Chronicle, emphasizing this word might give the impression that you cannot work on projects alone. Remember that you are the one in the interview, not your coworkers. So focus on what you in particular can bring to the table.


It can be tempting to use this adjective to describe yourself, especially when you’re interviewing for a company that encourages creativity and outside-the-box thinking. This is just one of many overused buzzwords  employers now detest. Similar words to avoid include “motivated,” “entrepreneurial” and “dynamic.”


This word can indicate that you are not willing to rise to the challenge to get something done. In fact, Grantham University reports that it can make you come off as lazy or unwilling to work to meet a goal. As you’ll find in all job interviews you go to, employers are not interested in hiring job applicants who give up before they even get started on a task.

Steer clear of the above interview language during your job interviews. You will leave a much better impression and increase your chances of getting hired.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Simply Hired.


Simply Hired



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