Avoid These Phrases At Costs in Your Next Interview


Your mum's advice before your interview may be well-intentioned, but it may also be outdated. (Sorry mums!)

There are certain phrases interviewers look out for in making their decision to hire you. You should avoid some of these phrases to smash the interview. But what are they? Keep reading to find out. 

“My role was just…”

In the name of politeness, you downplay your experience with this pesky little word - “just”. Stop doing that. 

No matter how big or small your previous roles were, no good can come from the word “just”. If you think you didn’t play a major part, (for that’s what “just” implies), the interviewer will think the same.

Instead, own your experience. Maybe you distributed leaflets part-time while studying. Own it. Never, repeat, never, downplay your experience. Banish “just” to the flames.

“I work too hard”

Even if true, your interviewer has heard that phrase a million times before. We get it, you’re trying to answer “what’s your biggest weakness?” tactfully, but it comes across as dishonest.

Instead, find a weakness that is work-related but not tied to your job description. BUT, make sure it’s a weakness you’re trying to improve on.  

Suppose you’re a Marketing Manager and are great at writing content. However, you’re not exactly a greater speaker. That’s your chance to say that you struggle with oral communication, but are taking public speaking courses to combat that. 

“How’s the work culture here?”

It’s important to have a work culture-related question in your interview. The issue is when you ask a vague question like that, be prepared for a vague answer. 

You should have an idea of what “good culture” means to you. Maybe you like autonomy and dislike being micromanaged. Maybe you like work drinks and other social activities. Whatever the case, at least have in mind what specifically you’re looking for - (click here for some ideas).  

Instead, ask a specific work culture-related such as “how does your company encourage a work/life balance?” You’re guaranteed to get a focused answer that factors in your likes and dislikes in terms of work culture. 

“I can start immediately”

This phrase seems harmless, but it conveys that you’re desperate for the job, no matter the circumstances. 

Even if you do need the job to pay upcoming bills, you could end up devaluing yourself. 

Instead, give a realistic notice period that aligns with your current employer and works with your interviewer. If you’re not working at the moment, say you need at least two weeks' notice so you can mentally prepare as well as research the company more deeply. 

“I didn’t get along with my boss”

Speaking badly about a previous employer is a big no-no. When the interviewer is asking why you’re leaving your current role, they’re not looking for personal mishaps you’ve had with your boss. What they’re looking for is essentially an answer to “why us?”

Instead, focus more on what the company’s goals are, and how they align with what you’re looking for. For example, something along the lines of “I believe in the product/service you provide. Despite enjoying what I’ve been doing in my previous role, I’m excited by the opportunity that this new job presents.”

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